Mercantour hiking: from the Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails
    • France - French Riviera
    • 7 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From March to October
    • 2 - 10 travellers
      • Comfort
      • Charming
      • Trip code : B1111

About the Mercantour hiking: from the Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails trip

About your French Riviera walking tour

Your French Riviera walking holiday: 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.
During this self-guided walking trip, 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...

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

Extra walk option : Add an extra walk to Gorbio ! 

Highlights of the trip

  • Genuine mountain villages surrounded by the Alps mountains
  • The mixed influences of Italian and French culture
  • The magnificent perched village of Sainte Agnès
  • 2 dinners & 2 picnics included
  • The coloured town of Menton right on n the Med Sea
  • Choose your type of accommodation,  extra walks/rides, an e-bike, etc .. Click on BOOK
From the blog

Mercantour hiking, from the Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails: Day By Day

Day 1 - Arrival in Nice on the French Riviera

Nice La Brigue back country of the french riviera

    • Nice > La Brigue
    • You arrive on your own in the timeless 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.
    • Dinner included & night in La Brigue
    • MEALS included: Dinner
    • We recommend:
      Have an extra night in Nice and enjoy the lovely old town ! 
  • Access:
    . Regular flight to Nice - See this link
    . Regular train lines from Nice > la Brigue. Check ahead the schedule on SNCF PACA

Day 2 - Walking to Notre dame des Fontaines chapel

hiking mercantour in the charming village La Brigue on the French Riviera

  • La Brigue > Notre Dame des fontaines chapel > La Brigue
    4 hours - 10km / 6.2 miles - Ascent: +400 m / Descent: -400m
  • This short loop 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 - Panoramic hike on Tende

best walk in the french riviera along olive groves

  • La Brigue > Tende > La Brigue  
    4 hours 20 - 12km / 7.5 miles - Ascent: +550 m / Descent: -550 m
  • You climb from the town of La Brigue, up a tight valley laden with wild lavender, thyme, and winter savoury. Passing the ruins of stone dwellings, you reach the Boselia pass and begin a breathtaking and panoramic descent along the slope towards Tende, the very last town before the Italian border. Take a well-deserved pause in town, at a local café or restaurant. Though we have marked a walking route to return to La Brigue, the railway line links both villages, and so you can take the train to return.
  • Night in La Brigue
  • Meals included: Breakfast

  • Market on Sunday morning in La Brigue

Day 4 - Hiking through olive groves to Italy

best walks from la brigue to menton

  • Breil sur Roya > Olivetta > Sospel 
    3 hours 30 - 15km / 6.5 miles - Ascent: +600 m / Descent: -550 m
  • A scenic and short bus/train/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.
  • Dinner included & night in Sospel
  • Meals included: Breakfast & dinner

  • Small market on Tuesday in Breil sur Roya

Day 5 - From Sospel to the highest coastline village

hikers walking from sospel to sainte agnes

    • Sospel > Sainte Agnes 
      4 hours - 10km / 6.2 miles - Ascent: +500 m / Descent: -500 m
    • Picnic included
    • 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 & Picnic

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

    • Extra walk option
      . We recommend an extra night in Sainte Agnès to enjoy the extra walk to the nearby village of Gorbio out-and-back (3h45 - 10km - 6.2 miles - +450m/-450m). See the Extension section below

Day 6 - Down to coloured Menton on the Med sea

menton on the med sea on the french riviera

  • Sainte Agnès > Menton 
    4 hours 30 - 14km / 8.7 miles - Ascent: +250 m / Descent: -950 m
  • Picnic included
  • You leave Sainte Agnès to descend into a lush valley, framing the hilltop Castellar. This sleepy village with quiet streets, sole grocery store, bar and two restaurants, is the last bastion of tranquility before arriving on the Riviera. From Castellar you find and old path winding down, and soon you've reached a set of ancient steps set directly above the old village of Menton. Spend time raoming along the colourful labyrinth of streets in the old town before a small stretch of boardwalk leading to your hotel.
  • Night in Menton
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic
     
  • Market: Daily market in Menton and a big one on Saturdays

Day 7 - Enjoy Menton & the Med sea ..

menton on the med sea

  • End of your trip after breakfast

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

  • 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 Mediterranean
    . 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

TRIP info 

The rates are per person

  • on a 2 pers. minimum reservation basis (shared room)
  • and is always subject to availability
  • If you travel SOLO : please contact us 

INCLUDED

  • 6 nights double occupancy with private facilities
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners
  • 2 picnics
  • Day 4: transfer to Breil sur Roya, start of your walk
  • Day 5: transfer to the start of your walk
  • Luggage transfers days 4 to 6
  • Our Road Book with detailed walking itineraries, including highlighted maps
  • 1 road map of the region
  • 24/7 assistance tel

NOT INCLUDED

  • Day 1: Transport to La brigue (train)
  • All lunches not noted-included in your itinerary
  • Entrance fees into museums, insurance, drinks
  • Items of personal nature

    SINGLE supplement
    Comfort accommodation : 170 €uros
    Charming accommodation : 230 €uros

Please NOTE - Accommodation

. 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
. The Hotel St Yves in the village of Saint Agnes  is rather a simple hotel too, than a "standard" comfort one: it offers modest rooms, with a family and fellow walkers' ambiance that is extremely warm and friendly.

More self-guided walking tours in Provence

    • France - French Riviera
    • 5 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From March to October
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Comfort
  • Highlights of the trip

    • Genuine montain villages surrounded by the Alps mountains
    • The cultural mix of Italian and French influences
    • The lovely perched village of Sainte Agnes
    • 1 dinner & 1 picnic included
    • Ancient paths through forests and follow majestic olive groves
    • The coloured italian-style town of Menton on the Med Sea

    • Extra walk option : Add an extra walk to Gorbio ! 

    • Choose your type of accommodation,  extra walks/rides, an e-bike, etc .. Click on BOOK
      • France - French Riviera
      • 7 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From March to October
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Comfort
      • Charming
  • Highlights of the trip

    • Genuine mountain villages surrounded by the Alps mountains
    • The mixed influences of Italian and French culture
    • The magnificent perched village of Sainte Agnès
    • 2 dinners & 2 picnics included
    • The coloured town of Menton right on n the Med Sea
    • Choose your type of accommodation,  extra walks/rides, an e-bike, etc .. Click on BOOK
      • France - French Riviera
      • 6 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From March to November
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Comfort
      • Charming
  • Highlights of the trip

    • The wilderness of the islands of Porquerolles and Port Cros
    • The hidden gem of the Mediterranean gardens of Le Rayol
    • Plenty of swimming opportunities every day !
    • 1 dinner included with the famous fish specialty "La Bourride"
    • Majestic coastline paths and hidden inlets
    • Choose your type of accommodation,  extra walks/rides, an e-bike, etc .. Click on BOOK
      • France - French Riviera
      • 6 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From June to September
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Charming
  • Highlight of the tour 

    • The lakes, mountains, and rock carvings of the "Vallée des Merveilles"
    • A true Alpine experience 
    • The cozy "Chamois d'Or" hotel: an unforgettable experience
    • 2 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
    • Walk on century old path in some outstandingly beautiful valleys 
    • Choose your type of accommodation,  extra walks/rides, an e-bike, etc .. Click on BOOK
    Mercantour hiking: from the Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails
        • France - French Riviera
        • 2 adults (2x895€)
        • 0 children (0x895€)
      • 7 days
      • Comfort
    Total 1790€
    Deposit 540€
    Book now !