Current as of: June 14, 2024 - 11:15

Menton, Maritime Alpes, France

Walks & Gardens of the French Riviera Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: France
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TEK
  • Carbon Footprint: 10kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Enjoy coastal walking on the Cote d’Azur

On the Franco-Italian border, by the warm Mediterranean sea, Menton is a delight for any visitor. It is easy to see how the city earned its nickname ‘the Pearl of France’, combining gardens, seaport, beach resort and a hiker’s paradise into one. With the Alpine chain dropping into the sea at the France-Italy border, it is also an ideal location for a guided walking holiday. Many of the trails start directly from the town and gain altitude in a short distance, offering some of the finest views of the French Riviera.

Walks & Gardens of the French Riviera

At a Glance

  • Seven nights in a comfortable hotel
  • Five days with walking
  • Low altitude throughout
  • Altitude maximum: 2,464ft (751m); average: 1,150ft (350m)
  • Option to travel by train to your adventure

Highlights

  • Stay in the heart of the Côte d’Azur
  • Enjoy coastal paths and mountain trails
  • Discover beautiful gardens and picturesque mountain villages

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate). For more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page.

Although the walking pace is leisurely and there is plenty of time to rest and enjoy the views, we place this itinerary at the tougher end of the Activity Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) rating, as several walks head to or descend from hilltop villages. Expect some ascents/descents and read the daily itinerary carefully. The terrain and type of path/track will vary from paved tracks (which are occasionally rocky) to tarmac. All walks take between four and six hours, including lunch stops, and require a moderate level of fitness and good balance. Public transport can be subject to delays and seasonal timetables, so expect some waiting at bus stops.

All walks are optional and there is plenty to do in and around Menton should you wish to take days out of the walking itinerary. You can also shorten some walks by taking public transport (dependent on the time of year); however, this may be at your own expense and the leader will continue with the group (they will happily advise and ensure you know which bus or train you need to take).

Group

Throughout the week, you will be accompanied by a local leader. Although they do not stay in the hotel, they will coordinate the airport transfers, guide all walks and join the group for a farewell dinner in the hotel at the end of the week.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 5

Max group size: 15

Itinerary

Map TEK

Land Only

  • Start City: Menton
  • End City: Menton

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Menton

Our start point is a comfortable three-star hotel in Menton. Situated just a short stroll from the railway station, beach and shops, it is ideally located for a week of walking. In the evening, our guide will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the local area and answer any questions.

Day 2
Walk to and around Cap Martin Peninsula, through Menton and Carnolès

Starting from the hotel, we stop at the market where we discover local food ingredients, then take the train or public bus to Carnolès. In the grounds of the Palais Carnolès and Musée des Beaux-Arts, we find a renowned collection of citrus trees. After time exploring the gardens, we start our walk around the beautiful Cap Martin Peninsula where we stop for a picnic lunch. After lunch, we visit the Cap Martin olive groves then walk or take the bus back to Menton.

Distance covered: 4mi (7km)

Ascent: 262ft (80m); Descent: 262ft (80m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Discover Eze; visit the Exotic Garden. Walk down the Nietzche path to join Eze Plage

We begin our day with a 20-minute train journey to Eze Plage, and carry on by bus to Eze, a medieval village established in the 14th century with magnificent coastal views. From here, we can walk up to the Mont Bastide castle ruins to admire amazing views before we visit the Exotic Garden, which is built 1,407ft (429m) above sea level on the site of an ancient fortress in Eze village. It overlooks the Provençal hill village providing home for cacti, succulents, xerophytes and various Mediterranean species. After free time in the village, we walk down the Nietzsche path to join Eze Plage, before taking the train back to Menton.

Distance covered: 4mi (6km)

Ascent: 689ft (210m); Descent: 1,837ft (560m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Train or bus to Carnolès; walk to Roquebrune. Take the ferry shuttle to cross Monaco harbour; discover Monaco old town

Today we take a train or bus to Carnolès, followed by a walk to Roquebrune where we enjoy stunning views over Monaco. Then we walk down to Monaco where we take the ferry shuttle to cross Monaco harbour. We discover the old town with tiny streets and beautiful buildings and the casino, before returning by train to Menton.

Distance covered: 5mi (8km)

Ascent: 459ft (140m); Descent: 886ft (270m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Free day to explore Menton old town, take a trip to the chic principality of Monaco or visit one of the many exotic gardens in the area

On your free day, you could choose to explore Menton old town. During the 19th century, the British and Russian aristocracy met here in fabulous palaces and villas. The architecture is stunning with the unique baroque style of the Saint-Michel and Conception squares plus the Saint-Michel Basilica façade. Alternatively, you could visit one or more of the eight gardens in Menton or head further afield to Nice by train or bus and visit its renowned market and the Promenade des Anglais. Monaco also has much to offer despite its diminutive size, and is renowned for the luxurious lifestyle afforded to its residents.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Train to Villefranche bay; walk to Cap Ferrat and to Saint Hospice peninsula

This morning, we take the train to Villefranche from where we walk to the Gavinette point to admire the spectacular view of Villefranche bay. We continue our walk to Cap Ferrat where we can marvel at the beauty of Villa de Rothschild and its gardens.

Distance covered: 6mi (9km)

Ascent: 328ft (100m); Descent: 328ft (100m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Visit to Serre de la Madone garden showcasing rare subtropical plants, followed by a visit to Sainte Agnes

In the morning we take the public bus to the Serre de la Madone garden for a visit. Created by Sir Lawrence Johnston, it was turned from terraces of vines and olives into a garden bright with drifts of agapanthus and strelitzia. After our visit, a private bus will collect and take us to the village of Sainte Agnès. High above Menton town, it is registered as “one of the most beautiful French villages”. It hides picturesque streets and artist studios and, at 2,625ft (800m) above sea level, offers a breath-taking view over the blue Mediterranean Sea. We then take the bus or walk back to the hotel.

Distance covered: 2mi (3km)

Ascent: 361ft (110m); Descent: 361ft (110m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
End Menton

After a relaxed breakfast, we say our goodbyes and begin our return journey home. If you’d like to explore a little more, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Hôtel Méditérranée Menton

Walks & Gardens of the French Riviera

Just a three-minute walk from the sea yet still in the heart of Menton, this 89-room hotel makes the perfect base for a week of walking.  

Spend downtime on the rooftop, enjoying views across terracotta-topped buildings to the sea and mountains or chatting with the group over a cocktail or two from the bar. 

On the ground-floor, Le Mediterranee restaurant serves “French classics with a Mediterranean twist” – food you can enjoy on the air-conditioned veranda; in the mornings, fuel up for our walks with a buffet breakfast, which includes pastries, pancakes, Menton marmalade, eggs, sausages, bacon and more. 

Single supplement from £ 580

Food & Drink

Seven breakfasts are included. There is a nearby supermarket and boulangerie to buy packed lunches and Menton is brimming with restaurant choices for your evening meal. There is plenty of choice for all budgets and tastes, including traditional French cuisine, fresh seafood and excellent Italian restaurants (influenced by the town’s proximity to the Italian border).

Transport

All transport mentioned in the itinerary is included, except for optional excursions or where a client may choose to curtail a group walk. Airport transfers will be by private coach; throughout the week, public transport including buses and trains will be used.

Weather & Seasonality

The French Riviera has a Mediterranean climate with exceptional sunshine (nearly 300 days a year) and mild temperatures most of the year. Rainfall occurs mainly in March-April and October-November. Below is an indication of the average high temperatures by month.

Spring

  • March: 15C (59F)
  • April: 17C (63F)
  • May: 20C (68F)

Light showers are fairly frequent.

Summer

  • June: 24C (75F)
  • July: 27C (81F)
  • August: 28C (82F)
  • September: 25C (77F)

Expect long, hot days made pleasant by cooling sea breezes. Please note, daytime temperatures can, and often do, pass 38C (100F) in summer. Seawater temperatures peak at 23C (73F) in August.

Autumn (Fall)

  • October: 21C (70F)

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Hôtel Méditérranée Menton, 5 Rue de la République, 06500 Menton
Phone: +33 4 92 41 81 81
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Nice Airport (NCE)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately 50 minutes’ drive from the airport. Your options for this journey are:

Take an Exodus transfer
Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way
From the airport, it is a simple journey to our hotel in Menton. Take the shuttle bus no. 110 (Monaco – Menton Express) and you will alight a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The cost of the bus is approximately €22 one way. Please see here for further details: http://uk.niceairportxpress.com/timetables.html

The cost of a taxi from the airport to the hotel is approximately €100 one way.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

This trip can be combined!

With so much to see and do in the world we know how hard it is to settle just on one destination. That’s why we have put together a handy guide of trips you can do back‐to‐back.

This trip aligns with most departures of Walks of the Cinque Terre & Portofino (trip code: TEH). To transfer between the two destinations – Nice (Menton) to Pisa (Moneglia) – you can take the train via Genova (approximately five hours) to Moneglia. Please note, both departures need to be guaranteed for these trip combinations to be confirmed.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Menton
Location end: Menton

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Traditional or lightweight walking boots with good ankle support and a strong sole
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket (preferably Gortex) and over trousers (over pants)
  • Warm two-season jacket or sweater/fleece
  • Large water containers or Thermos flask
  • Day sack (25/30 litres)
  • Sun hat, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Tupperware/penknife for packed lunch

We also advise using dry flow wicking clothing rather than cotton as it dries much quicker and is more comfortable when trekking.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles (useful for ascents/descents)
  • Swimwear

Practical Information

Visa

France

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter France. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/france
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/france
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

Vaccinations and Health

France

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

Local Time

France's time zone: Europe/Paris (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

France's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and E (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Walks & Gardens of the French Riviera

Money

France's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

We recommend you bring your spending money in cash, but credit or debit cards may be useful for shopping/extra excursions. Cash points are available in Nice and Menton.

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the walking leaders at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. As a guideline, we recommend a contribution starting at €20 per client per leader. It is customary and appreciated to leave a small tip when eating/drinking in local cafes and restaurants.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • The payment of entrance fees to natural reserves and archaeological sites generates income which is used for upkeep and development of these important sites. We visit a number of gardens where fees paid supports biodiversity initiatives. These include Villa de Rothschild, Eze and Carnolès.
  • We rewild 1,075sqft (100sqm) per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • We use public trains instead of a private vehicle to get to most of the walks on this trip.
  • Walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals, as it is a quiet, low-impact activity requiring comparatively few resources to support.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.