July 2, 2011

Sentier du Littoral: Ramatuelle.

The Sentier du Littoral deserves a whole series of posts. I shall heed that call. La belle France really won over my heart today when I learned that there is a path that follows almost the entire coastline of the country (maintained for hikers/explorers): the Sentier du Littoral. Historically, it was a path for surveillance, for protection and defense. Since 1976, it has been cultivated and exists as a path for anyone to hike along the coastline - regardless of private property - a beautiful thing. What does that mean? Beaches and areas that are really tricky to get to are suddenly a possibility with a little commitment and a hike. The trail itself is often rocky or sometimes cuts directly through brush/thicket as tall as you are, giving you the impression someone just took giant scissors and made a tiny trail through. You can literally start at the port of St. Tropez and end up in Ramatuelle and far far beyond taking this trail (the beach possibilities are endless on that stretch).

You see, I started the day by charting out a course on the map - heading, by scooter, to a beach that looked pretty remote - down a long drive on Route des Plages toward Ramatuelle on Route de Collebasse with a turnoff at Chemin de la Bastide Blanche (I'm telling you all the roads, because I think you should go). I wanted to continue down that windy looking route to what looked like wild terrain and a far-flung beach on google earth, but was stopped by a road that turned into a dirt trail (the satellite situation was deceiving). Little scooter said, no way. I agreed (but totally possible by sporty car). So, I changed course and headed back to turn right on Route de l'Escalet instead. To Plage de l'Escalet. Where I began:

I saw this sign, which made me cognizant of the lovely Sentier du Littoral:

First, I turned left toward Cap Camarat, just to see.

The trail was like this:

This sink hole was divine to swim in - it is very deep - does it look deep? It is. (Yes, getting out of it required overcoming my fear of stepping on a black sea urchin - which I did not end up doing. It was one of those moments where you get into something and forget you are going to have to get out):

These boat huts, for some reason, made me feel as though I were in Mexico:

At the boat huts, I met two very nice French ladies who were hiking the trail and whose sunscreen had turned their sweaty faces a glossy white color. They disapproved of my flip flops, but said it in a nice way (I sort of agreed with them. Chacos next round). The French ladies said that if I continued in that direction, I wouldn't find the best swimming areas; if I went in the other direction, all the water turns a pale turquoise and the seaweed disappears. I didn't let on that I have a thing for seaweed and I did turn around, hike back and walk past the starting sign again to take it in the other direction.

They were right, the trail on this side led to better water for swimming and lounging.

Cap Taillat:

My lounging rocks:

He was nervously praying on the trail - it appeared he may he even been biting his fingernails. When he moved, he would shake like the movement pained his bones (or his exoskeleton, I guess). I wagered he might have been nervous thinking about mating season, when his female love would likely eat him after they finish mating (remember learning that in elementary school? I think it is true):

Still nervous:


Brad said...

Beautiful post. I wish I were there to explore the Sentier du Littoral. It would be a great adventure any time of the year.

mikaela.gauer@gmail.com said...

Love your blog and your beautiful pictures... I'm staying in Nice and find your tips for the coastal hikes super helpful! Thanks!

Ashton said...

There's something so quintessentially French about designating a path for everyone to be able to walk along the coastline, and yet- it's not somehow "plouc"- I LOVE it!

You are missed in NYC, but your pics are stunning! Keep them coming! xoxo

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