Rocher de Monges
Theoule-sur-Mer is one of those places that you instantaneously fall in love with. In fact, once you arrive there you will never want to leave. From the sandy beaches and the charming, marina with its tasty restaurants, to the beautiful hues of the Esterel hills, everything about this seaside town is a feast for the eyes and the pallet. Théoule is a very popular location for second homes for both locals and international travellers and it’s not hard to see why.
This time I’m taking you on a medium level walk, suitable for all the family including the dog, that will give you breath-taking views of the coast and the hills. This area is blessed to have the magical trio of the deep blue sea, emerald green vegetation and the ochre-coloured earth which create the most magical colour schemes whichever direction you look in.
We start our walk in the car park of the marina where you walk North past the Magellan restaurant (a good place for lunch) until you come to (on your left) an underground passage (just past the public toilets – always useful) where the way markers (yellow rectangles) begin. Go through the tunnel and carry on up the road past the parking spaces until you reach (on your left) the start of the ‘Piste des Mineurs’ where the trail begins. Follow signs to the Col de Trayas, up through the woods and along a balcony pathway where you will have the most amazing views of the coast. When you reach the ‘collet des Monges’, carry on up to the final plateau where you can rock climb the last few metres to get the final panoramic view from the top. Note that this final ascent is at your own risk as the recent yellow cross (X) way markers clearly indicate that this is not to be undertaken. You don’t need to do the rock climb to enjoy the view. We didn’t do it as it had rained heavily the day before and the rocks were very slippery and best avoided if you have young children. You return to Théoule by bearing right on the pathway at the collet des Monges and following the signs back to the marina.
There are several restaurants in the town of Théoule and we had no trouble finding one for a late lunch, even on a busy, sunny Sunday. The marina gets booked up fairly quickly so always best to make a reservation before you set off.
The hike itself is 5.9 km lo,g with a gradient of 300m and will probably take you around 2.5 hours depending on your pace and how long you stop for. It’s a walk that can be done all year round and Théoule can be accessed from the A8 motorway just past Cannes if you are coming from Monaco. There is also a train station just a 1km walk from the centre.
I advise taking hiking sticks, as they will help you both on the ascents and the way down. They also guarantee you get a full body work out. You’ll need a cap and sunglasses to keep the sun off your face (the sun is a lot stronger in the mountains so don’t forget the sunscreen) and several layers of clothing that you can shed or put on as your temperature changes. Remember to take more water than you think you’ll need (at least a litre and a half per person) and enough protein bars for during and after the hike. I always have a high fibre, high protein breakfast before I set off which means that I don’t need to carry a large picnic with me as good protein bars are sufficient (always take a couple of extra ones). Purpose-made hiking gear, boots and a rucksack are a must and you will need lighter wear for the Spring/Summer season and heavier/warmer for the Autumn/Winter period. Last but not least as I mentioned above you will need the Cannes/Grasse IGN n° 3643 ET map to mark out your trail before you set off (all way markers are indicated on the IGN maps which are available for purchase online or a good book and sports shops). If you are a French speaker you can also find the hike on this link: https://randoxygene.departement06.fr/pays-cannois/rocher-des-monges-9323.html but you will still need your IGN map as these on-line guide maps are only approximate. There are also hike specific apps such as Visorando, which have both free and purchasable versions and can be very useful guides and even have GPS options https://www.visorando.comhttps://www.visorando.comwhic. If you have Strava you can record your walk on this app and it will give you lots of fascinating statistics at the end as well as totalling up the number of km you do in any given year.
Inspiring international lifestyles based on the French Riviera