Round the Cap Martin in Roquebrune

The paths at the cape and the Promenade Le Corbusier

type
walk
difficulty
easy
duration
2 h min
public transport
yes
loop
yes
hut
built-up area
gear
walk

Introduction

In the departments of Var and Bouches du Rhône, the riverside path often leads through genuine natural landscapes. Here on the Riviera of the French Maritime Alps (Alpes-Maritimes) all is much more urban and the topography makes the coastline much narrower. On the other hand, you can easily arrive by public transport and make circular tours more easily. The tour around Cap Martin offers good views of the Italian coast, but above all in the other direction: Monaco.

This trail is easily accessible from the city area. Along the way there are a number of small stairs on the south side, which lead down to the sea. They are sometimes private, but since the shoreline is a public property, one can usually use them to descend to the sea. The whole cape is rocky, there are no sandy beaches. The tour can be undertaken in any weather and at any time of the year. We went here on an overcast morning in February.

On the way back we pass through the Cap Martin Park, where you can stretch your legs under hundred-year-old olive trees!

In the city, along the coast, especially on the north side and directly on the cape, you will look in vain for solitude, there are always many people and joggers on the move. The south side, the stepped paths in the city area and the Parc du Cap Martin are more in line with the claim of finding quiet and natural places on an otherwise hectic coast.

The facts

5,1 km total distance

2 h min walk time

120 m total elevation

orientation easy on the coast, in the urban area follow the instructions in the text

mark 45% of the total distance

45% hard-surfaced paths

30% hard-surfaced city alleys

15% stairs

10% parks

dangers none

children yes

useful picnic stuff, swimwear

required trekking shoes, hiking gear and water

GPS coordinates (WGS84) of start and end point 43.75784,7.474004

downloads

Photo by Claudio Vosti (source) under licence CC BY-SA 2.0 taken on the reference day 10 October 2019 and reproduced under the same conditions here. The reproduction is possible if the authors are named and this license is applied. (id3308)
randos photo

Cap Martin seen from a paraglider

A similar view of the cape is available from the upper road between La Turbie and Roquebrune.

Public transport

The train line runs just along the coast and regional trains also stop in the small stations near the start of the tour, even if you have to add some walking time. With TER PACA (only french) and line between Menton and Nice, you can use the following stations:

Arriving on interregional trains, you can only get off at Monaco and Menton. From both stations it is better to take a bus from Zest Transports Riviera (only french), tickets are available on the bus:

Access by car

The traffic situation in the coastal strip of the Alpes Maritimes is extremely difficult, it is better to travel by public transport. Otherwise the best way is via the A8 motorway:

Pass under the old village of Roquebrune from both exits. When you come to a traffic light controlled junction with Monaco on the right and Menton on the left, keep left and at the next major junction turn right towards Cap Martin. Drive down, at the following T-junction, before the grassed water reservoir, turn left onto Avenue Paul Doumer. After the first right-hand bend, you will see the Roquebrune town hall (Hôtel de Ville) on the right, the starting point of this tour. We're going in the opposite direction.

Useful parking spaces

Some park possibilities on Avenue Paul Doumer, less in the side streets. On the main streets, parking is all paid.

There is no large parking lot or underground car parks, even paid, near the tour.

Hints

The round runs entirely on paved paths, almost all the steeper sections lead over steps. However, three quarters of the way are away from traffic. There are two water points: directly at Cap Martin and in the Parc du Cap Martin. Shopping on the coast in Carnolès.

You can extend this walk into a hike with: Le Corbusier at Roquebrune.

The whole region is a zone with a high risk of forest fires. In summer, but also in other seasons when it is very dry or strong winds, access to the forest areas can be regulated. As a result, the roads may be closed to traffic and/or the trails prohibited to hikers. Current information: Access map to the Alpes-Marimes forests (only french). The map shows the colours green, yellow, orange and red which correspond to levels of danger.

The sections

  1. Visit the Roman funerary monument and descent via stairways to the sea at Carnolès
  2. Circum-hike of Cap Martin on the Promenade Le Corbusier clockwise
  3. Ascent between villas and through the olive grove in the Parc du Cap Martin to the starting point
Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3491)
randos photo

The municipal office of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

The starting point and bus stops are in front of this public building.

Section 1: Mairie de Roquebrune - Carnolès

1,9 km ... 30 min 15 m 90 m easy

60% hard-surfaced city alleys, without marks

20% stairs, without marks

20% hard-surfaced paths, without marks

The clues

  • Mairie de Roquebrune (town hall), on the ridge of Cap Martin, 70 m
  • Mausolée de Lumone, Roman funerary monument
  • Stairs of the Chemin de Fontanouille and the Escalier de la Plage
  • Carnolès, 0 m
  • Avenue Winston Churchill
  • For a first orientation, we position ourselves so that we have the municipal office (Hôtel de Ville) in front of us and turn right, i.e. north and inland. If necessary, we immediately cross to the opposite side of Avenue Paul Doumer, pass the modern church of Saint Martin du Cap and a house further on we see the Roman ruins in a small park on the right.

Photo by Tangopaso (source) under licence PD taken on the reference day 10 October 2019 and reproduced under the same conditions here. The reproduction is permitted without a written consent of the author. (id3364)
randos photo

Lumone Mausoleum

Roman funerary monument of the so-called Villa Lumone, on the ancient Via Julia Augusta, today D52 and here Avenue Paul Doumer.

mairie = municipal office
tombeau romain = Roman grave
flèche = arrow
Plage = beach

After the grave monument, we turn around, pass the church again, and take the first street downhill on the left. All side streets are locked with gates, so we automatically come to the Chemin du Fontanouille, which leads us to the beach (arrow). The path passes between gardens, with steps in the steeper sections. There are no junctions until the next street crossing.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3490)
randos photo

Upper part of the Chemin du Fontanouille

Here we go downhill.

The upper part of the Chemin du Fontanouille ends abruptly at the Avenue de la Paix. There is a pedestrian crossing, but you really have to watch out for the cars, especially those coming from below. Although the stairway would continue downhill, we continue to the right along the narrow footpath. Here we have a slight counter climb along large residential buildings and cross the railway line that disappears into a tunnel.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3489)
randos photo

Avenue de la Paix seen from the Chemin du Fontanouille

Cross the street, turn right and continue up.

After the railway line there is a small parking lot. The footpath widens and leads over an iron structure. There are steel stairs down to the left which could be mistaken for a private entrance to the house, but this is the Escalier de la Plage public route!

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3488)
randos photo

Upper access to the Escalier de la Plage stair

This path, which also alternates between concrete strips and steps, quickly returns to its old, deserted appearance. Apparently few people walk to the beach...

At the end of the path, turn right and walk down the newly created, wide footpath with benches.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3487)
randos photo

Old way Escalier de la Plage

At the following Y-junction, turn right onto Avenue de la Plage and proceed to the roundabout by the sea. There is a bakery here if there is still a lack of baguettes for a snack.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3486)
randos photo

Avenue de la Plage

arc = arch

We continue in the same direction, crossing the roundabout at the pedestrian crossings. Ahead of us is Avenue Winston Churchill, which leads us directly to the coastal footpath. It is better to walk on the left because there are more pleasant sections with a path by the sea below the road.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3485)
randos photo

Avenue Winston Churchill and the roundabout

Looking back to the roundabout, behind it: the Avenue de la Plage.

There is a curious arch on Avenue Winston Churchill, it is neither historic nor particularly worth seeing, but it gives us a clue: here we enter a waterfront path away from traffic.

The picture shows the arch in retrospect.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3484)
randos photo

Arch in Avenue Winston Churchill

From the path you have a view back to Carnolès.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3483)
randos photo

Shore walk under Avenue Churchill

At a bottleneck we have to climb up to Avenue Churchill again, but after another small parking lot we go down to the sea again, here it is also a bit wider than before.

Photo by Tosban under licence CC BY 2.0 taken on the reference day 10 October 2019 and reproduced under the same conditions here. The reproduction is possible if the authors are named and this license is applied. (id3109)
randos photo

Second shore walk below Avenue Churchill

Section 2: Promenade Le Corbusier - Cap Martin

2 km ... 1 h min 40 m 30 m easy

10% stairs, with marks

90% hard-surfaced paths, with marks

The clues

  • Avenue Winston Churchill
  • Cap Martin
  • Under the villas at Cap Martin
  • La Dragonnière junction

The Promenade Le Corbusier is a path along the coast between Carnolès and Monte-Carlo. There are numerous opportunities to descend to the water along the way. On the land side, high above the path, there are some magnificent buildings such as the Villa Cyrnos by Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Napoleon III. The path bears the name of the famous architect Le Corbusier. He died in 1965 and is buried in Roquebrune Cemetery.

The trail always leads along the water, flat sections alternate with steps. It is permanently stabilised.

eau = fresh water
sous terrasse = under terrace

After the last section by the sea below Avenue Churchill, we come back up to the road, cross a car park and when the road goes up to the right, we keep left and get to the beginning of the Promenade Le Corbusier (signpost). The beginning and the circum-hike of the cape are still flat, later several sections with stairs will follow.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3482)
randos photo

Beginning of the Promenade Le Corbusier on the Carnolès side

The Cap Martin is not particularly pronounced, there is a platform at the easternmost point (photo). From here you can see one last time back to Menton and the Italian Riviera beyond. There is a water tap at the edge of the platform covered with stone slabs.

After the platform, the path turns right and you pass the cape. New views open up west to Cap Ferrat!

Shortly thereafter, the path takes a curious turn: it passes under the terrace of the swimming pool of the former Grand Hôtel du Cap-Martin. Beware of the head, the concrete beams hang quite low!

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3481)
randos photo

Platform at Cap Martin

View back to Italy.

After this last structural disruption the path really becomes a coastal path and the terrain gets a little steeper and more choppy. You can no longer get to the water at every point, and the vegetation is more lush here. Some exotic plants bloom here, they are offshoots of the private gardens above.

Photo by Tosban under licence CC BY 2.0 taken on the reference day 10 October 2019 and reproduced under the same conditions here. The reproduction is possible if the authors are named and this license is applied. (id3110)
randos photo

Promenade Le Corbusier in a green setting

The skyscrapers in Monaco in the background.

The large villas are located high up and are mostly well hidden, so that you can't even see them from the shore path. The exception to this is the seafront gallery of Villa Cypris. This construction enabled a wealthy heiress to watch her daughter Virginie Hériot regatta sailing in Roquebrune Bay.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3480)
randos photo

Sea-side veranda of Villa Cypris

View back.

This side of Cap Martin is particularly popular for views of Monaco. From this perspective, one almost has the impression that one is heading for the city-state with a ship.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id4591)
randos photo

View of Monaco from the Promenade Le Corbusier

The picture was taken on a very cloudy winter morning. A clear and early spring morning is recommended for a better view.

A number of large villas, some of which are historic, have been built on the south-west front of Cap Martin. However, most of the other buildings are better hidden than this one (see photo).

Photo all rights reserved © by Alex Medwedeff. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3478)
randos photo

One of the villas on Avenue de l'Impératrice Eugénie

The Promenade Le Corbusier is a concrete path but there are many steps and some obstacles like this one (photo).

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3477)
randos photo

A pine tree bends over the Le Corbusier coastal path

Section 3: La Dragonnière - Parc du Cap Martin

1,2 km ... 30 min 65 m 0 m easy

25% stairs, with marks

35% hard-surfaced city alleys, without marks

40% parks, without marks

The clues

  • La Dragonnière junction, 18 m
  • Avenue Virginie Hériot
  • Parc Cap Martin, 70 m
  • Mairie de Roquebrune (municipal office )

The way back to the starting point leads through the public Parc du Cap Martin. This pleasantly quiet area has regular opening hours: 9am to 7pm in summer and 9am to 5pm in winter. If you come here outside of these times, it is better to turn left after the stairs on Avenue Virginie Hériot. This leads to Avenue Paul Doumer and next to a green water reservoir. Keep right and immediately you are in front of the municipal office (Hôtel de Ville).

There are no signposts or markings in the city area.

vers = to
et = and

At La Dragonnière junction, we leave the coastline to the right and begin the ascent to the starting point.

If you continue straight ahead you can get to Monaco in just over an hour.

The ascent takes place quickly in one piece, partly via stairs, but always in the shade of the vegetation. You wind your way between gardens and the railway line. At the top you come to the end of a short cul-de-sac, at the T-junction that is immediately visible we keep to the right and follow the Avenue Virginie Hériot until we can enter the Parc du Cap Martin through a gate on the left.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3475)
randos photo

Stair from the coast to Avenue Virginie Hériot

In this photo you can see a gate of the park. There are several entrances, please note the opening times!

On the side we enter there is a large olive grove, there are many benches, a toilet and a drinking water point. A straight path leads to the other half of the park, there is a children's playground. A kiosk offers drinks and small snacks.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3494)
randos photo

A gate of Parc du Cap Martin

portails = gates
eau = fresh water

The Parc du Cap Martin contains around 300 olive trees, many of which are several hundred years old. The last owners left the 3,5 hectare area to the municipality.

You can explore the park in different ways.

Leaving the park on the opposite northern side via the straight path, you arrive on Avenue Paul Doumer, further to the left is the municipal office (Hôtel de Ville) and our original starting point.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2015 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id3493)
randos photo

Olive tree in Parc du Cap Martin

Sources and additional information

It is better to use a good topographical hiking map: This tour is on the IGN "Nice, Menton, Côte d'Azur" map, scale 1:25000, 3742OT.

If you don't want to bother with a paper map, you can also use mapping apps on your cell phone. On the one hand, it is the Géoportail app from the official map service IGN. However, it requires access to the data network and this is sometimes difficult in canyons or remote locations.

Alternatively, you can use apps that store data directly on the device. They're generally not free, but they don't cost much. We mainly use OSMAnd, here it is possible to add contour lines, relief shading, markings and others. To store this data on your phone you need a lot of space.

Of course, one needs access to satellites for the GPS signal with any app. In some canyons this is not the case. Therefore, do not rely on the position shown, but read the map on your phone as you would read it on paper. Most apps are available for Android and iPhone. The applications usually allow us to record the route travelled and also view the GPS files offered for each of our hikes.

This page has been seen 321 times since 20 March 2024.

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The information about this hike was collected with the greatest care in 2016. Nevertheless, all information is provided without guarantee. Should you find any errors, please contact the author of this site, thank you!