Easy Local Winter Hikes
Circuit de la Rade
When the weather is unpredictable and you don’t want to have to either travel too far or do a long hike, this is the perfect place to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and take in the most amazing coastal views.
This hike is a Happy Hiker Green trail and will take you 1 ½ hour to complete, covering 4 KM and just 100m of a gradient. Perfect for all the family.
Drive to Villefranche on the Basse Corniche and go towards the harbor (port de la Santé) and park in the Citadelle car park which is free of charge.
From the entrance to the old town, cross over la place A. Pollinnais and then la place du Marché to get to the start of the rue Obscure. Follow this road as it becomes narrower and narrower, right to the end and continue horizontally along rue du Poilu.
Go up over the train station and continue up the Chemin de la Fouan which comes out onto the Basse Corniche.
Cross over the road and go up the ramp on the opposite side called Chemin de la Madone Noire.
After going over a little metal bridge, a final panoramic climb brings you onto a flat path that ends at bd. de Suède.
Start going down via l’impasse du Chemin des Serres. A final flight of steps will take you down to the pont St-Jean crossroads. Cross over at the traffic lights and opposite you’ll see avenue de Grasseuil which you go down for 50m and then the elegant avenue Louis Bordes.
Some more steps take you to promenade des Marinières above the huge beach at the end of the harbor. You can get back to Villefranche by following the pavement alongside the beach.
This is a really pretty hike and as it’s only short, you could couple it with a meal at one of the many restaurants on offer in Villefranche.
When walking, I advise taking hiking sticks, as they will help you with both 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 hills and mountains so don’t forget the sunscreen). 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 boots/shoes, a roll-up rain jacket, first aid kit, and a rucksack are a must and you will need lighter wear for the Spring/Summer season and heavier/warmer for Autumn and Winter. I have a Bogner zip-up, long-sleeved, lightweight golfing jacket from One Eagle Monaco that not only enables a full range of movement but is also great for cooler Spring/Autumn walks as it keeps you at the perfect body temperature. In the winter months, you will need extra layers of clothing, gloves, a warm hat, and thicker socks. Last but not least, you will need the IGN TOP 25 map n° 3742 0T map (Nice-Menton) to mark out your trail before you set off.
If you are a French speaker you can also find the https://randoxygene.departement06.fr/littoral/circuit-de-la-rade-9338.html but you will still need your IGN map as these on-line guides 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.com
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 totaling up the number of km/altitude you do in any given year.
When you’re done, I strongly recommend a foot massage using Young Living Essential Foot Oil (a combo of Rosemary, Peppermint and Lavender) – your feet will thank you later!
Enjoy your hike and don’t forget your camera!
For more information about the hikes or if you would like to sponsor a hike please contact: