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Riviera Pebbles Blog: Exploring the Estérel's secret coastline

Posted on 30th May 2018 in Go & Do


Get lost on the Cote d'Azur's Estérel coast

Scattered with sheltered coves and postcard-perfect beaches, the russet-hued Massif de l’Estérel is a cluster of mountainous forests tucked between Provence and the Mediterranean. If you’re looking to lose the Riviera’s summertime crowds, this slice of protected parkland is where you need to go.

The Massif de l’Estérel is located around 50 km west of Nice, roughly between Théoule-sur-Mer in the east and Agay in the west. It extends thousands of hectares inland too.

Hikers can make their way into the park from the train station of Le Trayas, a lonely double platform sandwiched into the wilds. The same area is criss-crossed with trails for mountain biking and horseback riding too. Just take a look at the Saint-Raphaël Tourist Office website for suggestions of itineraries.

In Saint Raphael itself you can take either a Historical or a Gourmet guided tour through the town for a fascinating couple of hours for only 3 Euros. And, if you don’t mind using your smart phone on holiday, you can even download games and treasure hunts to guide you round the area!

On the Estérel’s coastline, the waterfront road known as the Corniche de l’Estérel ripples its way along the sea. Its coves are best explored by kayak, snorkel or simply splashing around.

In Agay, Paddle House rents both sea kayaks (from €10/single kayak, €15/double contact) and stand-up paddleboards (from €15) by the hour. There are even regular paddleboard yoga classes (€25 per one-hour class).

If you simply want to enjoy the beach – there are more than 30 in this area (again the Tourist Office website has all the details including a map) – from fine sands to fresh-water creeks all hugging these pristine shores.

Families won’t want to miss the entirely free Base Nature François Léotard park which covers 135 hectares by the sea on what were once Fréjus’s former airfields.

There is so much on offer: playgrounds, a kite flying area, cycling tracks, football pitches and volleyball and tennis courts, a mini-skate park and rollerblading route, as well as being close to two kilometres of sandy shoreline.
May 2018


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