Name: Sentier Littoral (Coastal Path) de Cap Lardier - Plage (Beach) de Gigaro, La Croix-Valmer to L'Escalet (past Cap Taillat), Ramatuelle, France
Date of walk: 14 June 2011
Distance covered: Approx 7.5 miles (12km)
Time taken: 4 hours (it was hot!)
In a (few) word(s): The best coastal walk I have ever done
Difficulty: Moderate - Gigaro to Cap Lardier is one fairly continuous climb - watch out for the heat
Signage: Good, albeit in French. As an added guide, keep the water on your right.
I know this area of Provence quite well, as my Mum's Uncle and Aunt (God bless 'em) lived near Ramatuelle and we used to visit Cap (Cape, or Point) Camarat and Pampelonne beach, where Brigitte Bardot did her thing in "And God Created Woman". Nearby is Chez Camille, the restaurant for bouillabaisse (spicy fisherman's soup), worth checking out. My Uncle Philippe lives in gorgeous Grimaud, with its castle, just inland a bit. A lovely part of the world - lots of forest and vineyards and beautiful, sandy beaches and tall cane growing.
This happens to be Uncle Philippe's favourite stretch of coast and he has walked and sailed an awful lot on the Côte d’Azur. I however had never done this walk, or seen these bays and beaches, before - and it was a revelation, to the point that I berated my mother for not taking me here as a child.
|Cap Taillat ahead - photo by Philippe Van Den Bosch
|Me with Cap Lardier behind - photo by Philippe Van Den Bosch
|Cap Taillat again - photo by Philippe Van Den Bosch
|Mmmm, lovely, clear water - photo by Philippe Van Den Bosch
Once you get to the plateau above the headland of Cap Lardier, the shaded, fragrant pine and wild herbs help cool you down and as you round the corner, you get some stunning views of Cap Taillat and beyond. The water was gorgeously clear when I did it. The beaches at the end are stunning, even if there is the odd naked man to avert your eyes from. There weren't many people around - once you get onto the coastal path proper, there is no road access.
I can't think of anywhere I would rather swim than in the bay at Cap Taillat. To the left there is a little stretch of sand that connects to the headland - a double-sided beach!
This whole area is protected and there is no development. My friend Capucine has worked for the agency that manages this very path, so if you have any feedback or questions, do let me know.