Ese sur Mer Happy Hiker with Judy Churchill

Secret Local Trails on Monaco’s doorstep

by Judy Churchill

There are several hidden local beauty spots on Monaco’s doorstep that strangely enough, although you may have lived here for years, could have escaped your notice. It’s amazing how few people know this one which despite its name, is no longer a circuit but has been rerouted as a ‘there and back’ trail. 

On this hike, you will be well rewarded with the most amazing views over the coast and be able to have a picnic up on the plateau in the botanical garden. 

The trail will take you a total 3 hours for 6 km and has a positive gain of 380 m so it’s a Happy Hiker Blue trail.

If coming by car, park at the train station in Eze-Sur-Mer and cross the main road (RM6098) and walk up avenue de Provence and then take the steps up chemin Saint-Michel.

Cross over the Lamaro district and then the vallon Saint-Michel before crossing over the RM 34 road to get to the Saint-Grat Chapel. Here you will have a breath-taking view Southwards over the port and village of Beaulieu.

Carry on up in the direction of the Saint-Michel plateau. This is a panoramic view spot over Villefranche-sur-Mer. After your picnic, you make your way the same way back down again to Eze-sur-Mer.

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, light-weight golfing jacket from One Eagle Monaco which 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 OT map (Nice-Menton) to mark out your trail before you set off. 

If you are a French speaker you can also find the hike on this link: https://randoxygene.departement06.fr/pays-nicois/circuit-de-saint-michel-9294.htmlbut you will still need your IGN map as these online 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.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/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!

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