Real Mountain Hikes on Monaco’s Doorstep
Circuit du Mont Bastide
Many of you may want to do a hike with a real mountain feel to it but don’t want to have to drive too far to achieve this. This Happy Hiker red trail is one that achieves all this whilst offering some of the prettiest local views over the coast. If you don’t want to do the whole circuit in one go, it can even be done in two stages on different days by ending part one at Eze village and turning back on your tracks and then doing the second part around Mont Bastide on another day.
However, if you are up to it, you won’t regret the effort and the good news is that it’s on the lower end of ‘demanding’ for a red trail.
The whole trail will take about 4 hours to complete for 5.9 km and 600m of positive gain. Even better is that it can be coupled with lunch in Eze village if you set off early or alternatively divide the hike in half and do the second part after lunch. Otherwise, take a picnic and savor it at the summit (570m).
Drive or take the train to Eze-sur-Mer and park at the train station. From the station follow the Basse Corniche eastwards for 200 metres where you will find the start of the “Nietzsche” path (you need to cross to the other side of the road) named after the famous writer.
The path rises up above the beaches between the last houses and then climbs up a cliff face with wonderful local mountain flora.
After the first part (cement) come some steps and then a paved portion, you start winding up the wild Vallon du Duc towards Eze village. Be sure to pause and take in the amazing views and have your camera at the ready.
When you arrive at the car park this is where you can decide whether you are going to pause at Eze village and then carry on, go back down or continue. To continue, cross over the main road (Moyenne Corniche RM 6007) which bridges the deep Vallon de l’Ibac, go left and as you come out of the viaduct, take the path on the right towards Mont Bastide (look out for the wooden signpost on the right).
The first part is quite steep but then the path levels out and you will be able to enjoy a long flatter more shady part up to the summit at 566 m.
This is a good spot to enjoy the views and have your picnic. Start your descent in the direction of col d’Eze (570m) on a wide path, passing the hang gliders’ take off-site on your left. When you reach the DFCI (défense des forêts contre las incendies) barrier of the col, go left (south) on the Sentier de Caricart which takes you down towards the Moyenne Corniche.
Carry on down towards the sea on the Sentier de Savaric, which is part tarmac until you reach the beautiful residential area and the steps which lead back to the RM6098 and the station.
When walking, I advise taking hiking sticks, as they will help you with 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, 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 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 “Nice-Menton” TOP 25 n° 3742 0T map (can be purchased online or in newsagents and sports shops) to mark out your trail before you set off.
If you are a French speaker you can also find the hike on the following link:
but you will still need your IGN map as these on-line 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.com
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 totaling 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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