Hiking from the Mercantour Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails
    • France - French Riviera
    • 7 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From March to November
    • 2 - 20 travellers
      • Simple
      • Comfort
      • Comfort
      • Trip code : B1109

About the Hiking from the Mercantour Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails trip

About your French Riviera walking tour

Behind the French Riviera, the Alps rise dramatically.
Almost all tourists visit the tiny strip of land along the coast, but the backcountry is dotted with timeless villages that have escaped the glitz and glamour of the towns along the sea.
The centuries-old paths lead from one village to the next, with jawdropping panoramas of mountains and Mediterranean Sea. You reach the town of Menton, one of the prettiest villages of the coastline, where you can stroll along the beaches and enjoy an ambiance only the Côte d'Azur can offer...

Highlights of your walk in the French Riviera

  • Authentic villages nestled in deep wooded valleys, surrounded by high mountains
  • The cultural mesh of Italian and French influences
  • The lost village of La Brigue, on the Italian border
  • 4 dinners & 1 picnic included
  • The magnificent perched village of Sainte Agnès
  • The coloured italian-style town of Menton on the Mediterranean Sea

  • Please note :  the hotels in the backcountry are quite rustic and simple, but you will appreciate the charm and authenticity. Once you get to Menton, you can choose your level of quality and comfort


    Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

From the blog

Hiking from the Mercantour Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails, day by day

Day 1 - Nice & La Brigue

Nice La Brigue back country of the french riviera

    • Nice > La Brigue : train on your own ( not included ) 
    • You arrive on your own in the village of La Brigue - by train - nestled in the mountains near the Italian border, with its beautiful architecture and its centuries-old homes with colourful façades. The village traded its Italian flag for a French one in 1947 and much of this valley is bathed in a Franco-Italian fusion of language, food, and culture.
    • Night in La Brigue
    • MEALS included: Dinner
  • Access:
    . Regular flight to Nice - See this link
    . Regular train lines from Nice > la Brigue. Check ahead the schedule on SNCF PACA

Day 2 - Panoramic views above La Brigue

tende sospel

  • La Brigue > Notre dame des Fontaines > La Brigue  
    4 hours - 10km / 7.5 miles - Ascent: +550 m / Descent: -550 m
  • This loop walk takes you high up the slope behind La Brigue before a leisurely descent on a forestry track to the impressive Notre Dame des Fontaines chapel. From the chapel you follow an interpretive forest path in the valley to return to La Brigue.  
  • Night in La Brigue
  • Meals included: Breakfast

  • Market on Sunday morning in La Brigue

Day 3 - Olive groves to Italy

olive groves of olivetta

  • Breil sur Roya > Olivetta > Sospel 
    5 hours 30 - 15km / 6.5 miles - Ascent: +600 m / Descent: -550 m
  • A short taxi transfer takes you to the town of Breil sur Roya, lower in the valley, nestled between the mountains and the Roya River. From Breil, a path leads you along centuries-old terraces through the olive groves. You reach the tiny village of Piène Haute, seemingly lost on its rocky perch, with a year-round population of only 30 souls.
    From here you descend a valley adorned with ancient olive trees, and arrive smack on the border between France and Italy. Embark on a small detour to the quaint Italian village of Olivetta for lunch before walking above a spectacular gorge to Sospel.
  • Night in Sospel
  • Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

  • Small market on Tuesday in Breil sur Roya

Day 4 - To the highest coastline village in Europe

hikers walking from sospel to sainte agnes

    • Sospel > Sainte Agnes 
      4 hours - 10km / 6.2 miles - Ascent: +500 m / Descent: -500 m
    • A short transfer takes you to the Col de Castillon pass, where you are teased with views of the shining blue Med Sea. You follow a path under the shade of an ash forest and zigzag upward towards the watchtower of Mont Ours before the true panorama is laid out: the entire Riviera and even the island of Corsica in clear weather. The medieval town of Sainte Agnes sits perched like an eagle's nest between you and the sea.  Sainte Agnès is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, its narrow cobbled streets built over the centuries with massive granite blocks. Only 3km from the sea as the crow flies, and perched at 800m in altitude, Sainte Agnès is listed as Europe's highest coastline village.
    • Night in Sainte Agnès
    • MEALS included: Breakfast & Dinner

    • Market on Thursday & Sunday (small one) morning in Sospel

Day 5 - Panoramic view on the Med sea

sainte agnes menton

  • Today, you have 2 walk options
  • Picnic included
  • Walk - St Agnes > Gorbio > St Agnes ( Walk out-and-back to Gorbio ) 
    4h - 10km / 6.2 miles - Ascent 450m  - Descent 450m
    The perched little village of Gorbio - on its rocky spur - is worth a lengthy visit. Those who come to visit it often remark that it is one of the most authentic villages along the Riviera. The Renaissance castle at the edge of the village - converted into a museum - and the two chapels attest to the village’s rich medieval history.
  • Sainte Agnès > Cime de Baudon > Menton
    4 hours 30 - 14km / 8.7 miles - Ascent: +600 m / Descent: -600 m
    Starting from the perched village of Sainte Agnès, it is a steady climb over the Bausson pass. For 30 minutes you take a small mountain road with a panoramic view of the sea (this small road is not very busy with cars and is mostly used by cyclists). The summit of the Cime de Baudon offers an exceptional 360° view of the whole region and the surrounding mountain peaks: a very beautiful orientation table which allows you to see as far as the summit of the Sainte Beaume and the Alps.
  • Night in Sainte Agnès
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic & Dinner

Day 6 - Down to Menton by the Med sea !

menton on the med sea

  • Walk - Castellar > Menton 
    2h - 7km - Ascent: +250 m / Descent: -450 m
  • Transfer after breakfast to Castellar. The village of Castellar, with its quiet streets, sole grocery store, bar and two restaurants, is a last bastion of tranquility before arriving on the Riviera. From Castellar you find an old path winding down, and soon you've reached a set of ancient steps set directly above the old village of Menton. Menton is rightfully listed as the prettiest town on the Riviera with colourful and very well restored homes, and with rich and interesting religious architecture. The microclimate around Menton, even more mild than the rest of the French Riviera, is favorable for growing citrus fruit. The local economy these days is based around high-end tourism, but the local lemons and lemon products are still to be found (including lemoncello).   
  • Free afternoon to discover the lovely coloured town of Menton, and to swim in the Med sea ! 
  • Night in Menton
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic

  • Lots of markets in Menton : Covered market every morning, on Tuesday morning on Carei Square, on Saturday morning fish market at the port

Day 7 - Walk to Eze or to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

  • End of your trip after breakfast. Today you have the choice to relax and take the time to enjoy Menton. Or you have 2 walk options.
  • MEALS included: Breakfast 

  • Extra walk options :

    - Walk Eze mer / Eze village and return
    2 hours, 15 min. +400m/-400m back and forth to Eze.
    Take the train from Villefranche to Eze (not included). The perched, medieval village of Eze sits defiantly on a rocky spur, soaring high above the coastline. Today’s walk takes you on a well-maintained path from the coastline to Eze, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The narrow cobbled roads in Eze are worth exploring, while a fabulous cactus garden sits on the very top of the village. And even if you aren’t a fan of succulents, the 360 degree views from the top are alone worth the entrance price. Train back to Menton (not included)

    - Walk Villefranche / St. Jean Cap Ferrat cape
    3hrs, 11km: a few short climbs along the coastal path
    Detour: walk around the eastern arm of the peninsula, add one hour.
    Take the train from Menton to Villefranche (not included). You start your walk around the famous St Jean Cap Ferrat, it’s a beautiful 3 hours coastal walk. You can also add a detour and walk around the Eastern part. Train back to Menton ( not included) 

  • We recommend : 
    . Have an extra night in Menton. 
    Too much to see and do in Menton ..! And that's why we suggest an extra night here in Menton, probably the prettiest town on the French Riviera
    . Continue onwards your exploration of Provence with the costal trip around the PORQUEROLLES islands !

  • Return:
    . Regular train lines from Menton > Nice
    . Regular flights from Nice - See this link

More walking trips in the French Riviera

    • France - French Riviera
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      • From March to November
  •   Accommodation choice :

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  • Highlights of the trip

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    • Plenty of swimming opportunities every day !
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      Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

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    • Discover the hidden gems in the backcountry of the French Riviera
    • Grasse, the perfume capital & Saint Paul de Vence, a source of inspiration for painters and writers
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  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Comfort
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  • Highlights of the trip

    • Genuine mountain villages surrounded by the Alps mountains
    • The cultural mix of Italian and French influences
    • The lovely perched village of Sainte Agnes
    • 4 dinners & 3 picnics included
    • Ancient paths through forests and follow majestic olive groves
    • The coloured italian-style town of Menton on the Med Sea
    • Option walk : The lovely town of Eze and the charming Saint Jean Cap ferrat cape

    • Please note :  the hotels in the backcountry are quite rustic and simple, but you will appreciate the charm and authenticity. Once you get to Menton, you can choose your level of quality and comfort



      Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

      • France - French Riviera
      • 6 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From June to October
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Charming
  • Highlight of the tour 

    • The lakes, mountains and rock carvings of the "Vallée des Merveilles"
    • A true Alpine experience 
    • The cosy "Chamois d'Or" hotel: an unforgettable experience
    • 3 dinners & 3 picnics included
    • Authentic villages nestled in deep, wooded valleys surrounded by high mountains
    • The Mercantour National park and its wild fauna and flora
    • Walks on centuries old paths in some outstandingly beautiful valleys 



      Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

      • France - French Riviera
      • 7 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From March to November
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Comfort
      • Comfort
  • Highlights of your walk in the French Riviera

    • Authentic villages nestled in deep wooded valleys, surrounded by high mountains
    • The cultural mesh of Italian and French influences
    • The lost village of La Brigue, on the Italian border
    • 4 dinners & 1 picnic included
    • The magnificent perched village of Sainte Agnès
    • The coloured italian-style town of Menton on the Mediterranean Sea

    • Please note :  the hotels in the backcountry are quite rustic and simple, but you will appreciate the charm and authenticity. Once you get to Menton, you can choose your level of quality and comfort


      Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

    Hiking from the Mercantour Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails
        • France - French Riviera
        • 2 adults (2x920€)
        • 0 children (0x920€)
      • 7 days
      • Simple
    Total 1840€
    Deposit 580€
    Book now !