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Trip Report

In the south of France, between Mediterranean coast and mountains

Between mountains and sea

by maellernvAbout Me:A french girl (27 years old) who, breaking away from the urban way of life, chose to travel the world during one year (or more ?) to set off on a adventure, on a auest for life, beauty, and above all, a quest of freedom. Ready to live a th... read more

EuropeFrance6 days / June 2020

Highs & Lows

Mercantour National Park

Most have a car

Itinerary Overview

Arrival in the south of France from Lyon, after a 4-hour drive. The first day, discovery of the small town of Cannes, its port, and its huge boats. Cannes has a lot of charm, especially at this time of the year, in June, when the tourists have not yet arrived. In the evening, dinner in a wine bar restaurant with a good cheese board, French style!

The next day, discovery of the Ile aux Moines, a small island located 15 minutes by boat from the port of Cannes. It's very nice! Here, there is almost nobody. I walk on the island and take advantage of a picnic break to go for a swim. The water is good and the view over the bay of Cannes is magnificent. I end the day by walking around the monastery and meet some monks. Here on the island, the monks produce very good red and white wines. I take the opportunity to buy a bottle.

Return by boat to the port of Cannes for a well-deserved rest.

Day 3, direction the Estérel massif, 20 minutes drive from Cannes, for a mountain bike session! Between the sun, sea view, and red rocks, the Estérel massif is a place not to be missed!

After a few days discovering Cannes and its surroundings, I decided to visit the small village of Gourdon, only 40 minutes drive from Cannes, but that few tourists know about.

On arrival, the view is breathtaking! An incredible view on the whole french riviera, from Frejus to Nice! It's cooler here too, and it's nice. Looking over me, I can see paragliders flying over the village. They take the ascents like birds, to fly higher and higher.

Before going to dinner, I have an ice cream on the terrace of a restaurant, with always this magic view. Then dinner in a small vegetarian restaurant, with home-made dishes. A real delight.

Before going back, a digestive walk at night in this village made of stones. The return on the road to Cannes is done carefully because the road is not very well lit and there are a lot of wild boars around here, which can cross at any time.

To finish this stay in the south of France, I decide to go to the Mercantour national park, known to be one of the wildest parks in France and the most varied in terms of landscapes.

After an hour and a half drive from the city of Cannes, I arrive at the car park of the Pont du Countet, in Belvédère. Let's go for a 4 hour hike. Magnificent landscapes, between greenery, lakes, and imposing mountains. On the way I also meet a lot of marmots and ibexes.

In the distance, I can already see the Merveilles refuge next to Lake Long Supérieur. It is cooler here and the air is pure! A well-deserved beer and then it's time to set up the tent near the refuge. A cold but invigorating night.

The next day, departure in the direction of the Valmasque refuge. On the way, I take the opportunity to observe the engravings and rock signs, dating from prehistoric times. I then pass by several lakes, always the same fabulous landscapes. Arrival at the Valmasque refuge. It rains lightly. I set up my tent near the refuge, have dinner, and then it's time to go to sleep! In the night I am woken up by curious ibexes coming to scratch the ground around my tent, a little bit stressul!

Day 3. Departure for the Nice refuge. I start the hike by retracing my steps a bit and then start this long climb. Hard! The descent is no easier neither. Very rocky. I arrive at the Nice refuge quite tired and enjoy a hot tea. The night will be restful.

The next day, back to the car after 4 magical days in this Valley of Wonders, which bears its name well.

  • 3 Nights: Cannes
    Discover the city, the islands, and the Esterel Massif
  • Day trip: Gourdon
    Gourdon offers magnificent panoramic views
  • 3 Nights: Mercantour National Park
    Being in the heart of the mountains

Q & A

  • How was the food?

    Au vieux four at Gourdon, a delicious restaurant

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Rent a car to be able to travel around Cannes and see the mountains

  • Packing tips?

    A backpack for the mountains

  • Any surprises?

    Esterel Massif and the Mercantour national park