The volcanic range of hills known as the “Massif de l’Esterel” stretches westwards along the coast from Cannes to Saint-Raphael. Bagnols is in between this range of hills and another range “Massif des Maures” which stretches from Saint Aygulf to the East to Saint Tropez to the West.
The volcanic range known as the Esterel is full of peaks, ravines and gorges which give much interest to any walk in the area. The magic of the rock formation and never-ending changes in the colour of the hills accentuate some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Come and admire the dawn light on the hills of the red porphyry, – red as fire, – rising from the forest green and standing out against the azure blue of the sea !
The Western Esterel at the Massif du Rouët: 561 meters high. Is the second highest peak in the Esterel. The Esterel hills, have for more than 30 years, given new vistas to all climbers on holiday in the South of France.
This peak is known as God’s Castle, or the Devil’s Castle (in patois « Catsel Diaou ») you can choose which you prefer! The highes peak is called Mont Vinaigre (Vinegar Mountain) 164 meters high.
A drive along the coast road, Corniche de l’Estérel, N.98, from St-Raphaël to Mandelieu (Cannes), is enchanting, punctuated all the way by little bays and creeks, against the red rocks. Most of this area belongs to the commune of Fréjus.
With its hidden cliffs (300 graded from.3a to 8b) the Esterel hills have, for more than 30 years, given new opportunities to all climbers on holiday in the South of France. Rhyolite, the ignatious rock which is at the basis of the climber’s passion for this area, gives rise to conditions totally different from those found in other local limestone cliffs..Climbing here requires a more athletic approach. Those requiring further information about rock-climbing should contact www.lacorditelle.com.
You will find full details of all tracks in the book entitled « Massif de l’Esterel / Topo guide de l’Escalade » by Christian RIVE, on sale at Bagnols Tourist Office.
For all those who enjoy walking, The Tourist Office edits a guide book covering 11 walks based on departure from.Bagnols lasting from. 1h30 minutes to 6 hours walking time.Some of these walks are possible for young children (aged 3 or more), others apply only to more hardened walkers:
Le Castel Diaou
Les Gorges du Blavet
Le Baou Rouge
Le Tour de Bayonne
Le Pic de la Gardiette
Les Anciennes Tailleries de Meules et l’Oppidum de la Forteresse
La Cascade de Gourbachin
Le Lac du Rioutard
Le Lac du Méaulx
La Forêt Domaniale de Saint Paul en Forêt
Le Barrage du Malpasset
The Estérel Massif is also remarkable for the precious archeological traces it conceals.
THE MEOUN GROTTO
This historic grotto is situated at the foot of one of the numerous cliffs in the Blavet Gorges.The entrance is very wide and goes deep into the rock, thus providing a good refuge in case of heavy thunderstorms. The nearby water and the surrounding forest (for its wood), its south-facing aspect, as well as its dominating view of the whole valley made it an ideal place for setting up camp during the Bronze Age.
Members of a group supervised by Pascal Rainette (guide) abseiling in the Gorges du Blavet. http://provence.verticale.free.fr
Descente en rappel dans les Gorges du Blavet d’un groupe encadré par Pascal Rainette – moniteur diplômé d’Etat. http://provence.verticale.free.fr