The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

Picnicking on the Côte d'Azur Part 1 - 5 of the best spots

  Picnic Côte d Azur

As a family we love going on picnics all over the wonderful area the we call home - the Côte d'Azur. Here I share with you some of our favourite locations; some well known, others not so.

     le caire

Le Caire

     picnic le caire

An absolute favourite spot, which is always a success with visitors when we take them there, is a plateau high above the village of Tourrettes sur Loup called le Caire.  Situated at 825 metres altitude, on a clear day it has spectacular views over the coastline stretching from Italy in the east to St Tropez in the west. The vast open area is wild, often only shared with a few goats and sheep, but only 15 kms as the crow flies from the crowded Côte d'Azur.  It's great for flying kites and just taking in the enormity of open space. To find this magical spot,  take the D2210 into Tourrettes and turn into Route de St Jean opposite the main square, next to the Bar du Midi (on the left coming from Grasse, on the right coming from Vence).  Take the first right into Route du Caire and keep going straight up and up (it's very steep and narrow), past some riding stables "Le Ranch du Baous", until the end when you can go no further by car (about 3 kms). Park and take the footpath on the right (signed "Piste du Jas Neuf").  It's about a 15-20 minute walk along a rocky ridge where I don't think we've ever come across another person; it's beautiful and unbelievably peaceful.  It's possible to take pushchairs and kids bikes, the path is just about smooth enough.

L'Estérel

     picnic estérel

The drive along the coast from Théoule sur Mer to St Raphaël around the Estérel Massif is stunning and full of gorgeous spots to stop off and picnic.  The sparkly turquoise water contrasts beautifully with the red rock and invites you in for a dip, you won't be able to resist on a hot day, so don't forget your swimmers. Take the D6098 out of Théoule (which becomes the D559) and follow the coast.  Simple.

Îles de Lérins

     picnic île ste marguerite

The Lérins islands consist of Île Sainte Marguerite and Île Saint Honorat.  They are both lovely and we usually go to which ever one has the first ferry leaving.  This usually means Ste Marguerite as there are many more ferries a day than to St Honorat.  For total peace and quiet I recommend St Honorat as the island is owned and run by a silent order of monks as and such you are expected to be quiet when visiting. If you have a group of small children then Ste Marguerite is definitely the better option.  Both are full of quiet rocky bays where even in high season you can often be alone on your own private beach.  They both also have forts which can be visited. The islands are beautiful all year round and living nearby we often go in winter.  The kids once swam in a sheltered cove in January!  There are no cars on either island so take a backpack picnic if possible as you may want to walk to the far side, away from the ferry jetty. Even with small children you won't need to walk more than 20 minutes to get away from the main body of people.  Ferries leave from Cannes, take 15 minutes and can be booked online. More info here

Le Riou

     picnic riou

The Riou river is relatively undiscovered compared with other local rivers and we rarely come across many other people here.  Our favourite picnic spot can be found after about a 30 minute walk through mountain scenery and forest.  You leave the hustle and bustle of town life behind and find yourselves in a magical area of gentle waterfalls and crystal clear mountain water.  For a full description and directions on how to find this place take a look at a previous post I wrote all about it here.

Cap d'Antibes

     picnic spot cap dantibes

The Cap d'Antibes is a surprisingly wild cape considering it is home to some of the world's richest people and synonymous with massive wealth and high-end luxury.  There's a gorgeous walk right around it, about 5 kms long, but just for a picnic you don't need to go far.  Park in the car park behind the plage de la Garoupe and take the path that runs along the right side of the beach along a stone wall.  You'll soon come to a wide open point with magnificent views over the eastern side of the Côte d'Azur and across to the Alps behind.  Further on along the coast path there are few places to make a camp and at times there is no room at all to leave the narrow track so if you are intending to do the whole walk I suggest eating here first.  For details about this walk and many more photos take a look at a piece I wrote about it some time ago here.

     picnic

At Lou Messugo we are happy to lend our guests picnic backpacks, coolbags, ice blocks and picnic rugs to make the most of this perfect picnic land.  For another 5 top spots click here. Do you like picnicking? Do tell me about some of your picnic experiences, good or bad!

 

 

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Comments

  • Guest
    Matthew Monday, 08 August 2016

    Phoebe,
    What a fantastic blog. I've really enjoyed reading it and using it for our upcoming holiday in the area. One question - do you know of anywhere nearby (we are staying in Tourrettes-sur-Loup) where one can hire bicycles?
    Best Regards,
    Matthew

  • Guest
    SJ Saturday, 16 August 2014

    You can pack me a picnic any day - YUM. Thanks for linking up with us again.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 17 August 2014

    When are you coming then SJ?!

  • Guest
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} Wednesday, 13 August 2014

    I seriously want to hop on a plane, book a room at Lou Messego and go on a Cote D'Azur picnic right now. So gorgeous!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 17 August 2014

    Do it Michele!! We'd love to have you here :)

  • Guest
    Californian Mum in London Sunday, 10 August 2014

    I am so jealous. Those are like the mother of all picnic spots. Really beautiful! And I love your basket.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 17 August 2014

    The basket is ancient, I've had it for ages and it packs a good picnic!!

  • Guest
    susan @happyhealthymumma Sunday, 10 August 2014

    arh...that food looks yummy and the views amazing!!!! you are so so lucky to live there! I would picnic everyday! :)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 17 August 2014

    We do eat outside every day from about April till October here, and picnic almost every weekend. We are lucky to have such good weather too.

  • Guest
    Hannah Budding Smiles Sunday, 10 August 2014

    What beautiful places to picnic! I can see us taking Toby to your neck of the woods when he's a little older xx

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 17 August 2014

    We are a very family freindly holiday apartment Hannah, please do bring Toby, not just to "our neck of the woods" but to Lou Messugo!

  • Guest
    Jen Sunday, 10 August 2014

    Wow, what wonderful places to picnic. We are big fans of picnicking and love packing some delicious food for during a lovely day out

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 17 August 2014

    Good to hear from another happy picnicker!

  • Guest
    Mags Friday, 08 August 2014

    le Caire looks lovely. Well they all do but I like the idea of all that space and the view. I should picnic more often.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 17 August 2014

    le Caire is very special. The silence, the views and the animals all make it a fabulous place to spend the day.

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Guest Saturday, 16 December 2017

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