Explore the Dramatic Scenery Along the Corniche de l’Esterel

Corniche de l'Esterel

Edging a wild group of blood-red porphyry mountains, the ‘golden coast road’ passes some of the Riviera’s most grandiose scenery.

The Corniche de l’Esterel follows the dramatic shoreline from St.Raphaël to Théoule-sur-Mer, along the sole stretch of Riviera coastline that is still virtually untouched by property development. The tortuous road is punctuated by viewpoints overlooking inviting beaches, sheltered yacht harbours, jagged inlets and deserted coves cut by rocky promontories. The Massif de l’Esterel provides a perfect backdrop, with its harsh, rugged mountains of brilliant red volcanic rock jutting out into the sea.

Travelling from east to west, start at Theole-sur-Mer, a small seaside resort at the rim of the Parc Forestier de la Pointe de l’Aiguille, an extensive coastal park offering a variety of scenic waking trails. There are plenty of hiking possibilities into the Massif de l’Esterel from the coast road. A quick climb along the Pointe de l’Esquillon at Miramar is rewarded by spectacular views of Cap Roux further along the coast.

Le Trayas is located at the highest point of the Corniche de l’Esterel. Just beyond, a strenuous inland trail climbs the Pic du Cap Roux. The road continues to twist and turn westward via Antheor and Agay to St Raphael; the Esterel’s main resort, which is beautifully situated around a deep horseshoe bay and considered one of the best anchorages on this stretch of the coast.

Heading inland from Frejus, the N7 road to Cannes follows the path of the Roman Via Aurelia through extensive cork forests past Mont Vinaigre (614m / 2014ft), the highest peak in the Esterel. A short path leads to its summit, for an overview of the wilderness that for centuries was a popular haunt of brigands and a refuge for hermits and escaped galley-slaves from Toulon.

Richard Reeves is the founder of Essential Sailing and if you have been inspired to relax on a luxury sailing holiday, why not make this idyllic world your reality.


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