Sunday, 15 November 2015

Walk the Var coastline

Agay - the coastal path begins just this side of the columns.
The Var has a long, extensive coastline that reaches all the way from just past the departmental capital of Toulon in the west, almost to Cannes in the east.

It winds past salt plains and rocky calanques - or inlets - and the exquisite bays south of Les Maures to the wide beaches like the Pampelonne south of St Tropez.

Driving along the coast road from Ste Maxime through Les Issambres and St Aygulf to Frejus, I feel like a 1950s movie star - except my car is a little Fiat instead of a sleek cabriolet.

But at the eastern end of the Var, bordering the spectacular red earth Estérel hills, is a perfect little coastal pathway that is a treat to walk.
Bathers shelter beneath beach umbrellas as they hug morsel of sand between the rocks.

This coastline - between Cannes and St Raphael - is one of the highlights of the train journey from Nice to Les Arcs-sur-Argens.

But to walk the coastal path, you need to take a train from Les Arcs to Agay.

Don't forget to take bathers and a towel, so you can cool off during your walk in one of the perfect little bays that highlight the pathway. You will need plenty of water, sunscreen - and your camera!

Once you step off the train at Agay, cross the railway line to the line of columns above the foreshore and you will find signs leading you down to the walking track.

Here you come across lots of red earth, rocks and driftwood.

Following the path, you can choose to walk all the way back to St Raphael - about 10 kilometres - or you can choose to break your walk and cut across to the railway stop at Le Dramont or Boulouris.

The semaphore at Le Dramont.
There are snack bars or a couple of good fish restaurants along the way and plenty of chances to catch your breath - or the sun - with a laze in a sandy cove or a dip in the turquoise waters.

At Le Dramont, there is a high, conical hill to skirt around - or if you are feeling energetic, you can climb to the top for spectacular views.

This is where the GIs landed in August 1944 to begin their liberation of Provence during World war Two. There is still a semaphore on the top of the hill.

As you round the corner of the hill, turning back into the stony beach, you get a close-up view of the Ile d'Or just off the coast.

It is a long trek across the pebbly beach down to Santa Lucia, but once there, you are almost in St Raphael, where the beach becomes sandy and it is flanked by a wide boardwalk and some terrific restaurants just across the road.
The fort on the Ile d'Or with St Aygulf just visible in the distance across the bay.
The station is only two blocks back from the sea, and it's a 20-minute journey back to Les Arcs.


  1. Thank you Jan. Yet another gorgeous description of your part of France. And yet another experience for me to add to the to-do list.

  2. I think there is a path almost all the way along the Var coastline - something for me to explore further.

  3. I am there!
    We did the coastline in a car but I think that this walk gives you time to soak up the vista.
    Thanks for slowing me down Jan....