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Hiking in the Esterel Massif

This weekend, one of our CEA contacts in the French Riviera, Kristin, guided our group on a hike in Esterel Massif, a range of rocky red mountains that rise up from the beach. We couldn’t have chosen a better day to hike: the sky was clear, the temperature a comfortable high 50s/low 60s, and there wasn’t much wind. This was my favorite CEA excursion, because we were able to stay moving the whole time. As amazing as the views from a bus often are when we drive through the Riviera, there’s something about the bus that always puts me to sleep! Maybe it’s the slowly winding roads, or the warm temperature in the bus, I’m not really sure. But I didn’t have to fight any grogginess today!

 Beginning of our hike through the Esterel Massif 
 Mimosa is in bloom now!  It's nice to see the pop of yellow amongst the green trees and bushes.
 View of the red rock that makes up the Esterel Massif

We took a train from Antibes to Théole-sur-Mer, and then walked a short way to the trail. We followed its gradual incline into the mountains, and I was eager to reach a high point to see the view. In a little less than an hour, we reached a high point that afforded an amazing view of the houses and sea on the opposite side of the mountains that we had come from.

 Views of the opposite side of the mountains

After walking a little further, we were able to look down on the town we’d arrived in, and the beach we were going to go to after the hike.
 View toward Théole-sur-Mer

We were all beginning to get hungry, so not long after this we took a break for lunch.
 We ate lunch near this statue, which commemorates North Africans who have died in wars for their countries.

This was the halfway point of our hike. After eating, we soon we began descending, eventually reaching a neighborhood of houses built into the mountainside with incredible views of the sea. We continued down to the beach, because we had a couple hours before the train back to Antibes arrived in Théole-sur-Mer. I’d brought my bathing suit in case I wanted to swim, but it wasn’t quite warm enough for me to venture into the water. I just walked in far enough for the waves to reach my knees. However, Kristin and a friend of mine went for it, changing into their bathing suits and swimming all the way in!
 View of the beach we went to from the road to the train station

Maybe in April, when I take my family on a hike in the Esterel Massif, it’ll be warmer and I’ll want to swim!


Lucy Havens is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in the French Riviera. She is currently a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University.

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