The Real Riviera

by Judy Churchill

For this hike I’m going to take you to one of the region’s best-kept secrets – the stunningly beautiful and tranquil Esteron Valley. Under- explored and hidden away in the hinterland of Nice, the little traffic you encounter tends to be cyclists. At only 35 km from Nice airport, this hike can easily be done as a day trip, although you’ll need make sure you set off fairly early to make use of the best of the day light in the winter months.

Autumn is a fabulous time of year to visit this valley as the colours are truly spectacular and our walk begins in the picturesque village of Revest-les-Roches at 850m altitude. 

The hike, which starts on the west of the village after the church at way marker 31, is a return trip up to the top of Mont Vial. Your efforts will be rewarded with breathtaking views and a family of goats who will be more than happy to share your picnic.

You will pass through woodland, pine forest and even catch site of an amazing grotto carved into the rock face. The views just keep getting better and better and the path is not difficult. Be prepared though for and 41/2 -hour hike, climbing 700m up to the summit at 1550m. This is not a stroll so as always make sure you have proper hiking boots and take plenty of water and protein bars to recharge your batteries.

The best period of the year for this hike is May to November but you should always check the weather before you set off especially in November so that you’re not caught out by a snowstorm.

The map you will need is TOP 25 n° 3642 ET starting at way marker 31, through 32, 8 and culminating at 285.  

If you are new to hiking, always make sure you carry a first-aid kit in your rucksack, with a good supply of blister plasters just in case. Take more water than you think you’ll need and extra snacks. The colder the weather the hungrier you’ll be!

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