Tucked away in the mountains between Nice and Antibes is the charming township of Vence. Its splendid location and medieval city center attracted many artists in the 19th century. There is a lot to discover in the surrounding mountains: St-Paul-de-Vence with its old city wall, Haute-de-Cagnes, a picturesque village, and Tourettes sur Loup. Although the Côte d'Azur is one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide, there are still plenty of places off the beaten track where you can enjoy the beauty of this unique region.
A walk along old mule trails
The circular trail begins in Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Once you have left the village with its old stone houses and its little church, you walk along old mule tracks through a holm oak forest. At the top of the hill, you are rewarded with a panoramic view that stretches far across the sea.
(3:30 hrs, 9.8 km, elevation change: 460 m)
Village of artists and boules players
The artists' village is situated on a hill among orange groves, vineyards and cypress trees. It is still surrounded by a mighty wall from the 16th century. The narrow streets are lined with medieval houses where studios, galleries and stores have moved in. Original works by Miro, Picasso, Chagall and Matisse are on display at the Hotel Colombe d'Or. In front of the Café de la Place, you can watch professionals playing boules.
Fortified village with phenomenal view
The place on the rocky spur of Tourrettes was originally a Celto-Ligurian oppidum. After the Roman period ended, which had lasted half a millennium, Muslim Saracens made the Mediterranean coast unsafe as far as the Swiss Alps. They settled in Tourrettes and reinforced the fortifications of the village, which surrounded the castle where the town hall is today. The closed, external construction on the steep cliffs and ravines made Tourrettes almost impregnable. Above the village there is a high path from the Château du Caire to the Alm Courmettes with a view that stretches from Nice to Cagnes and Antibes to Cannes.