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France, Italy

Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur (Bouches du Rhône, Var, Alpes Maritimes), Ligure (Imperia)

Rognac to Ventimiglia. 335.4 km - April 2011

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2003 - Portugal 

Algarve:

West and East

2005 - Spain 

Andalucía:

Huelva Cádiz Tarifa Estepona Vélez-Málaga La Rábita Cabo de Gata

 

Murcia:

Murcia

 

Valencia:

Alicante Altea Valencia

 

Catalunya:

Tarragona Barcelona and Girona

2009 - France

Languedoc Roussillon:

Perpignan Beziers Nîmes

 

Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur:

Toulon

2012 - Italy

Liguria, Piedmont, Lombardy:

Genova Cremona Verona

   

Beccles Walks     Tenerife Walks     Eel's Foot, Minsmere

9th April 2011 - Beccles to Marseille
10th April 2011 - Rognac to Septemes
11th April 2011 - Septemes to St Marcel
12th April 2011 - St Marcel to Cassis
13th April 2011 - Cassis to Bandol
14th April 2011 - Bandol to Toulon
15th April 2011 - Toulon to Cuers
16th April 2011 - Cuers to Gonfaron
17th April 2011 - Gonfaron to Les Arcs
18th April 2011 - Les Arcs to Frejus
19th April 2011 - Frejus to Antheor
20th April 2011 - Toulon to Nice By Train
21st April 2011 - Antheor to Cannes
22nd April 2011 - Cannes Nice St Augustin
23rd April 2011 - Nice St Augustin to Monaco
24th April 2011 - Monaco to Ventimiglia
25th April 2011 - Nice to Beccles

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The route started with views over the Etang de Berre. This is the most easterly low lying wetland in France. On day one the walk climbed away from the planes and the Camargue and become hilly all the way to Italy. Trying to avoid major roads near Marseille, Toulon and Nice was the goal. Finding pleasant walking routes near the big cities is always a problem. From Nice to the Italian border the route includes Monaco and is very built-up. With steep terrain, the least busy road has to be used. Finding a pleasant walking route was really hard. North of Toulon, the public transport services to the small villages was poor and there were some long waits for trains to get home.

Marseille was a rat infested filthy dump. The hotel in Marseille was fine. In Toulon the hotel was very nice and close to a delightful square with fountains. In Nice, the city was not too bad but the tiny hotel room was spoiled for the lack of a clean carpet. The cigarette burns and vomit stains were all too obvious. Other filth did not bear thinking about. A new carpet for a room that small would cost very little so there was really no excuse. In Toulon, they had used carpet tiles so after messy guests had stayed, they needed only to replace tiles instead of the entire carpet. All the hotels were similarly priced.

This part of France felt unwelcoming. In Spain there is the tradition of the rambla. There are always squares, avenues and seats. Here there was mile after mile of fenced off property and nowhere to meet or socialise or from the point of the long distance walker, nowhere to take a break. Out in the countryside it was pleasant enough but in the residential areas not so good. Some of the best areas for a break were traffic islands which had escaped the fencing off. The sea front stretches were typical of sea fronts everywhere and quite pleasant, especially between 06:30 and about 10:00 where the crowds began to emerge.

Date / Distance

Transport and Route Summary

Sat 09th
Apr 2011
Beccles to London, Stansted to Marseilles.
Car, Bus, Air, Bus, Walk

Sun 10th 
Apr 2011
20.7 km

Rognac to Septèmes les Valons
Train, Walk, Train. A pleasing large proportion of the walk was on hill tracks considering how close Marseille was. There were on-road sections at each end.

Mon 11th 
Apr 2011
22.0 km

Septèmes les Valons to St Marcel
Train, Walk, Train. The first part of this leg was on hill tracks, bypassing a land-fill site. This was very nice. The second half was in the outskirts of Marseille and not so good. There were pavements so at least walking in the road was not necessary.

Tue 12th 
Apr 2011
20.6 km

St Marcel to Cassis
Train, Walk, Train. It was a 6km slog to get out of Marseille. A diversion into a military zone was a mistake and after backtracking, the correct forest and hill path was located. Very nice too. The final leg was part residential and part nature reserve and pleasant.

Wed 13th 
Apr 2011
26.6 km

Cassis to Bandol
Train, Walk, Train. Most of the walk was on roads, some quiet and some busier. There was a short forest path, possible a trespass but the no-entry signs were at the exit. The route met the sea again for the first time in many days.

Thu 14th 
Apr 2011
18.6 km

Bandol to Toulon
Train, Train, Walk. The TGV was used to get to the new Toulon base. Then in the afternoon the shorter walk was from Bandol back to the Toulon hotel. The walk was on quiet lanes up to Ollioules and then on a busy road to Toulon.

Fri 15th 
Apr 2011
22.0 km

Toulon to Cuers
Walk, Train. The walk started from the hotel and used quiet residential roads to escape Toulon. The second half was in pleasant countryside. At Cuers it was cold and wet so the first train was caught to Les Arcs and then a later one back to Toulon. Long waits.

Sat 16th 
Apr 2011
24.2 km

Cuers to Gonfaron
Train, Walk, Train. Most of this walk was on quiet lanes including the autoroute parallel service road. This was much nicer than might have been expected with forest nature reserve on one side. There were some steep and strenuous gradients.

Sun 17th 
Apr 2011
28.9 km

Gonfaron to Les-Arcs
Train, Walk, Train. This was a very long and tiring leg including steep gradients parallel with the cut-and-fill autoroute construction. Much of the route was very pleasant though including quiet roads and forest paths.

Mon 18th 
Apr 2011
23.9 km

Les-Arcs to Frejus
Train, Walk, Train. Normally every effort would be made to avoid the main roads. After the tiring previous day, easy walking was needed. The main road was used most of the way. The traffic just had to be tolerated. There were brief escapes into pleasant lands.

Tue 19th 
Apr 2011
19.2 km

Frejus to Antheor
Train, Walk, Train. Here the coast road had to be used. It was not too busy and there were pavements much of the time so it was nice enough. The countryside and sea views were very nice. Much of the route had fenced-off expensive residences.

Wed 20th 
Apr 2011

Toulon to Nice by TGV Train
Train. This was the transfer day from Toulon to Nice. There was no walk apart from the trek to and from the stations and a 7 km walk around Nice.

Thu 21st 
Apr 2011
25.6 km

Antheor to Cannes
Train, Walk, Train. Again the coast road had to be used. It was less residential so more pleasant but there was less pavement so more danger from traffic. The second half was on flatter terrain. Cannes was similar to all the other resorts apart from the prices.

Fri 22nd 
Apr 2011
29.4 km

Cannes to Nice, St Augustin (Airport)
Train, Walk, Train. Approaching Nice, the roads become busier and less pleasant to walk. Sometimes the coastal golden-mile was walkable. There were sections where the very busy main road had to be used. I lost my camera, probably at St Augustin station through extreme tiredness and loss of concentration re-packing my rucksack.

Sat 23rd 
Apr 2011
27.0 km

Nice, St Augustin (Airport) to Monaco
Train, Walk, Train. The sea front could be used at the start. Pleasant back streets through Nice. Then the coast road to Monaco. Monaco is built of several levels. If you get onto the wrong level, it is hard to find a path to the correct one. The station was not well signposted.

Sun 24th 
Apr 2011
23.8 km

Monaco to Ventimiglia
Train, Walk, Train. Again the coast road had to be used. Being so residential, there was pavement most of the way. In places, parked cars made you walk in the road so the pavements were less useful. Lots of refugees trying to get from Italy to France.

Mon 25th 
Apr 2011

Nice to Beccles
Walk, Train, Walk, Flight, Bus, Car. The walk from St Augustin station to the airport was laughable. Of course you are supposed to use the bus. There was pedestrian crossings that led to a flower bed. A new path led into but not out of a car park. The airport was clean and nice but completely pedestrian unfriendly.

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