Around Mont-Agel via the Col de Guerre
by Judy Churchill
With the warm spring sunshine, the golfers are up at the Monte Carlo Golf Club and the hikers seeking new trails and scenic views, so what better than combining the two pleasures?
Today I’m going to take you on a local hike where you will not only experience some of the very best views of both the Monaco-Cannes coastline but also of the Menton–Italy shores.
This is the ultimate 360° mountain hike that will amaze and delight you as you discover that it’s possible to do a real mountain hike within a stone’s throw of Monaco. This trail will take you up past the Monte Carlo Golf Club, one of the most scenic golf clubs in the world and give you a taste of what you’ll find if you decide to take up the sport at any time. Depending on how far you want to walk, there are points at which you can decide to turn around and come back but if you’re up for an energetic day out then you can complete the whole circuit.
We start our hike in La Turbie (15-20 mins from Monaco) where you can park your car in the recently completed Mont Agel car park, right next door to the first way marker.
Come out of the car park and on your right you’ll see the way marker signpost at the foot of the Chemin du Moulin . Walk up this path NW where you will reach the Mont de la Bataille. The views begin after the first few metres and once you reach the Mont de Batialle you will notice that many wooden benches have been conveniently placed to allow you to enjoy the beautiful views over Monaco and La Turbie. Some of my all time favourite views are from this place and if you only did this part of the hike, it would be worth it. Carry on North and follow the way markers down the path, through the wood until you reach the road and the Col de Guerre. Turn right and walk a short distance up the road where you will see the sign posted way marker on the other side of the road for direction Gorbio/Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Take this pathway up through the woods and you will come out onto the RD 153 road. Turn left and stay on this road bearing left which will take you up past the Pont des Demoiselles to the beautiful Mont Agel Golf Club (780m). At this point if you only want a short hike you could turn around and return to La Turbie for lunch following the same route.
However if you are up for more alpine adventure and panoramic views then stay on the road past the Golf Club and walk up to the start of the mountain trail. The path bears left and you will immediately have some incredibly scenic views of the golf club below you to your left. On arriving at a mini plateau (838m) follow the yellow rectangular way markers left and downwards to a flat woody area marked ‘La Terca’ on your map. At the point where the paths cross, bear right upwards, North East and then North to climb the West face of Mont Agel. At times it is a little confusing as this is an old pathway and the way markers are often few and far between. Keep on the main pathway going upwards towards the radio Antenna, which are easily visible ahead of you following the yellow rectangles where you see them.
When you reach the radio antennae you are at the highest point (Cime des Cabanelles) which is a good place for a picnic or protein bar and you can wander right along the ridge which will give you panoramic views of both sides of the coast (France and Italy). Come back to the antennae and bear left up the pathway/track (North) and take the first right hand path on the bend (1050m) there are no way markers but you can see about 250m ahead of you the next signposted way marker at the Pas des Cabanelles. From here follow the path (and the yellow way markers to the right) that winds down in the direction of Gorbio and down to Malpas (on your map) at 906m. There at the signpost, take the pathway on the right (following directions back to the Col de Guerre and La Turbie) going down the East face of Mont Agel.
You will come out onto the Mont Gros road and this will take you past the Roc Agel property where if you are lucky you will catch a glimpse of the two elephants on the farm. Keep following the red and white way markers on the road until you arrive back at the crossroads to the Golf Club. Turn left and walk down the road to the start of the pathway and the signpost (on the right) that takes you back the way you came to the Col de Guerre. Stay on the road from the Col and take the Mont Agel road bearing right back to La Turbie. Alternatively you can climb back up to the Mont de la Bataille and follow the path back to the Chemin du Moulin.
It is worth noting that for three Saturdays in April, May and June ONE EAGLE MONACO http://www.one-eagle.mc have organised demonstration days where players can try out the new premium brand clubs. Their team will be there to help you and you can benefit from a track master analysis to help you select the perfect clubs for you. Players can test a variety of clubs and the event is free of charge for all players and not just members of the MCGC. ONE EAGLE, which opened in April 2017, is the first golf shop to have a partnership with the famous Monte Carlo Golf Club.
The interesting thing about hiking and Golf is that you can double up your usage on much of the clothing. On this hike I am wearing a Bognor golf top and cap from One Eagle. Not only is the top incredibly flexible, allowing full range of movement, but it was the perfect temperature (not too hot , not too cold). I usually find that I’m shedding clothing and recladding myself at different points on my hikes, but this Bognor jacket I wore all the way round. We did 20.8 Km and 1000m of gradient as we decided to do an extra add-on to the 17km and 670m (approx. 6 hours) that this circuit entails. I wore the jacket from start to finish. I would also be happy to wear it during the day or evening with a pair of jeans or trousers, as it is certainly chic and attractive enough for wearing around town and would also be suitable for boating. With this one garment, you get 4 uses in one. The small golf towels are the perfect hiking accessory too, as they clip onto the back of your ruck sack where they are easily accessible. So, if you are a golfer and a hiker (apart from the shoes) you can use the same gear.
A visit to One Eagle is quite an experience. They carry 5/6 exceptional premium brands for both Golf and Ski. If you want to stand out from the crowd with the most attractive, comfortable and functional gear in town, this is the place to go. The golf equipment is state-of-the-art and exclusive on the French Riviera. There is a fitting studio to measure your stroke and selecting your customised equipment. One of the most original features though is the ONE EAGEL EXPERIENCE!
Depending to the package you select you can enjoy the VIP experience of being flown on a panoramic helicopter trip to one of the top 5 Riviera Golf courses of your choice, receive gifts of clothing with the logos of the club of your choice, have all equipment and shoes provided, have a gastronomic lunch with a golf pro who will also coach you for the day. Access to the clubhouse and changing rooms is all included and a personalised fitting session completes the day to help you select the best material to play with.
When hiking, I advise taking hiking sticks, as they will help you on 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 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 and a rucksack are a must and you will need lighter wear for the Spring/Summer season and heavier/warmer for Autumn and Winter. Last but not least, you will need the IGN n° 3742 OT map (Nice-Menton) to mark out your trail before you set off. 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.
When you’re done, I heartily recommend a foot massage using Young Living Essential Foot Oil (a combo of Rosemary, Peppermint and Lavender) – you feet will thank you later!
Enjoy your hike and don’t forget your camera!