French Riviera and Monaco :
Where to go?
Sport and leisure activities
Sport and leisure activities
- Horse trekking
- Nautical sports and boating
The cleanliness of beaches can be consulted online:baignades.sante.gouv.fr (in English)
“Azur-Maures-Estérel-Fréjus” mountain bike centre – t 04 94 51 55 39 - www.amslfrejus.com.
Provence verte mountain bike centre – t 04 94 72 04 21 - www.la-provence-verte.net (in English).
www.randoxygene.org – Download the Rando VTT mountain bike guide.
French Federation of Cyclotourism – t 01 56 20 88 88 - www.ffct.org.
French Federation of Cycling – t 01 49 35 69 24 - www.ffc.fr.
French Federation of Mountains and Climbing – t 01 40 18 75 50 - www.ffme.fr.
Halfway between hiking and mountaineering, via ferrata ascensions make it possible for novices to discover the world of climbing.
www.randoxygene.org – Download the Rando Via Ferrata guide.
National Federation of Fishing and Protection of the Aquatic Environment – t 01 48 24 96 00 - www.unpf.fr. Local maps and information can be provided by the départemental federations.
Deep-sea fishing excursions are organised on board professional fishing craft and by tourist companies specialised in deep-sea fishing at: Sanary, marine de Cogolin, Ste-Maxime. Enquire at tourist offices.
French Federation of Sea Fishing – t 05 59 31 00 73 - www.ffpm-national.com.
Several sections of the famous smugglers’ path that ran along the entire Riviera coast, prior to the real estate boom, have been saved from the developers.
Hiking in the Hinterland
Hiking trails are only passable from late June to early October.
GR 5 – The oldest and the finest. It ends at Nice after crossing through the Europe. The last section stretches from Nice to St-Dalmas-Valdeblore.
GR 52 – From St-Dalmas-Valdeblore to Menton via the Boréon, vallée des Merveilles, forest of Turini, Sospel.
GR 52A – Skirts the peaks of the Mercantour National Park to the east from the Tende pass.
GR 4 – Departs from Grasse and heads up to the Verdon gorges by Gréolières.
GR 51 – Dubbed the “balcony of the Mediterranean”, it dominates the coast from the first line of ridges.
GR 510 – Entirely in the Alpes-Maritimes, an interesting 10-day transversal variation from valley to valley, starting from Breil-sur-Roya as far as St-Cézaire-sur-Siagne.
GR 9 – Cuts through the Maures range from Signes to St-Pons-les-Mûres.
GR 99 – Links Toulon to the Verdon gorges, passing through the Brignoles.
GR 90 – The smallest national trail! It goes through the Maures from Le Lavandou to Notre-Dame-des-Anges.
French Federation of Hiking – t 01 44 89 93 93 - www.ffrp.asso.fr.
Franco-Italian Equestrian Itinerary (Itinerario Equestre degli Spazi Naturali Franco-Italiani) – An unusual introduction to the Mercantour. Enquire at the Mercantour National Park (see Know before you go).
Pays d’Azur Board of Equestrian Tourism – cheval.d.azur.crte.free.fr.
Parc de la pointe de l’Aiguille, parc de la Grande Corniche à Èze, parc de Vaugrenier, parc de la vallée de la Brague, parc du San Peyre: consult practical information about these forests on www.cg06.fr.
Nautical sports and boating
Sections of the Roya (class 2 to 4) and the Tinée (class 3) are equipped with structures designed to introduce beginners to this sport.
PACA Regional Board of Canoe-Kayaking – t 04 93 34 08 65 - www.canoe-paca.fr.
www.randoxygene.org – Download the Clues et Canyons Guide, which lists 37 sites and provides wise advice.
The main centres are located on the island of Bendor (the largest international scuba diving centre in Europe) - t 04 94 29 55 12 - www.cipbendor.com ), at Pradet (Garonne beach), at Giens (Tour Fondue), Sanary, Cavalaire, Ramatuelle (l’Escalet), St-Tropez, Ste-Maxime, St-Raphaël, La Napoule, Cannes and Villefranche.
The Rayol-Canadel Centre (t 04 94 05 65 69 - www.lerayolcanadel.fr ) and the Port-Cros National Park (t 04 94 01 40 70 - www.portcrosparcnational.fr ) organise beginner sessions to discover the Mediterranean fauna and flora.
Côte d’Azur Regional Board of Underwater Sports – t 04 94 00 40 71 - www.ffessmcotedazur.com.
French Federation of Underwater Studies and Sports – t 04 91 33 99 31 - www.ffessm.fr. Provides details of sites close to wrecks for more “archaeological” dives.
Sailing and funboard
Most seaside resorts are home to an accredited French School of Sailing that organises courses.
On the Giens headland on the west coat, Almanarre Beach has become a mecca of funboarding and hosts the French trials of the world championship of funboarding.
French Federation of Sailing – t 01 40 60 37 00 - www.ffvoile.org.
French Nautical Resorts – t 01 44 05 96 55 - www.station-nautique.com (in English).
Among the many towns that cater to this activity are: Antibes (health farms), Bandol (thalassotherapy), Hyères (health farms), St-Raphaël (“thalasports”), Fréjus (thalassotherapy), Island of Embiez (balneotherapy).
National Syndicate of Thalassotherapy – t 02 40 11 72 35 - www.thalassofederation.com (in English).