The Moyen Valley

Happy Hiker walks the Moyen Valley


Chapelle Saint-Jean

by Judy Churchill

This beautiful valley has a wide selection of incredibly scenic and peaceful hikes and this one is no exception; the views are to die for and the walk is easy. The village has a lovely little restaurant called the Taverne which you could book for lunch as this green level hike will only take you 2.5 hours with a positive gain of 380 m. If you set off around 9.30 am you’ll easily be back there for lunch.


Villars-sur-Var is located 45 km from Nice airport so if you’re coming from Monaco, take the motorway and come off at the N.202 exit and stay on this road until you reach Villars-sur-Var railway station, turn right onto the D.26 and arrive at the village. 

From the village square (415m) start at signpost way marker 58 and follow rue du Dr Magnan up to the top of the village. Go past the Sainte-Brigitte chapel and then go up the pathway to way markers 59, 60 and 61 enjoying the amazing views.

If you have decided to take a picnic, the Saint Jean chapel or the 10m high cross just above it is a great place to stop and have a break. The way down is on the other side on the North face via way marker 62 and then South-East all the way down to way marker 59 and then back to the village the way you came up.

When walking, 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, a roll-up rain jacket 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 full range of movement but is also great for cooler Spring/Autumn walks as it keeps you at the perfect body temperature. Last but not least, you will need the IGN n° 3641 0T map (Moyen Var) to mark out your trail before you set off. 

If you are a French speaker you can also find the hike on this link: but you will still need your IGN map as these on-line guide maps 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 heartily 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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