happy Hiker

Local Coastal Walks

Roquebrune Cap Martin

Circuit de Bon Voyage

by Judy Churchill

It’s been raining a lot recently, and with lockdown looming on the horizon again, it’s hard to find a local walk that will satisfy your needs, be close to home, and still have great views.

So, with this in mind, the one that I always go for is the Bon Voyage coastal circuit. Part of the path is currently closed for maintenance on the way to the Monaco beach club. However, by going up the steps on the right (where the path is gated off), you can still complete the circuit by going along the Basse Corniche and then once at Saint Romain, either take avenue Varavilla up to Villa d’Aiglon or go down to the Monaco country club and through the parking area up to the restaurant ‘La Différence’ and pick up the original trail from there (pointe de La Veille). 

This is a Happy Hiker green trail and will take you between 1.5-2hrs to complete for 3.2 km and 130m of positive gain. As it’s a circuit, you can also adapt the start and finish points depending on where you live to bring your start point closer to home and do it back to front.

From Cabbé car park (railway station of Cap Martin), go up west and take the path that runs parallel to the railway line towards Monaco until you reach the pointe de la Veille (steps) opposite the Monaco Beach club. Cross the railway track via an underground tunnel on an old bridge and continue upwards via escalier de la Barma. Cross over the RD 6098 and go up and second flight of steps, which come out opposite villa de l’Aiglon. Go briefly right (East) on avenue Varravilla and then bearing right on the RD 6007 (pavement) until you reach the Bon Voyage Chapel (built-in 1887). You can pause here to take in the great view from behind the chapel. There are even some benches where you can sit and admire the surroundings.

To go back down, do not take escalier de la Tranchée, next to the chapel but continue down the road for about 200m (east) and take escalier de Pretto on the right. These steps come out onto the Basse Corniche (RD 6098). Cross over at the pedestrian crossing, go left, and a few meters along, you’ll see the Escalier des Cactées on the right. You come out onto avenue Laurens. Go left (east), follow the road, and then step back down to the station car park.

When walking, I advise taking hiking poles, as they will help you on both the ascents and descents. 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 quality protein bars are sufficient (always take a couple of extra ones). Purpose-made hiking boots/shoes, a roll-up rain jacket, a 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. You will need extra layers of clothing, gloves, a warm hat, and thicker socks in the winter months. In the summer months, when making high mountain trails, do check the temperature at your destination before setting off, as you may need some extra layers. If you are a French speaker, you can find a link to this hike on https://randoxygene.departement06.fr/littoral/circuit-de-bon-voyage-9333.html . Last but not least, you will need the IGN TOP 25 3742 OT Nice-Menton map (can be purchased online or in some newsagents and sports shops) to mark out your trail before you set off. 

If you have Strava, you can record your walk on this app, and it will give you lots of fascinating statistics at the end and totaling up the number of km/altitude you do in any given year. You can also use the health app on your iPhone to record steps, km and levels climbed. I also have an altitude app, which is very useful.

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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