Round trip leading you along the coast to Cap Lardier, one of the three capes of the Presque'Ile de Saint Tropez. The coastal trail continues to Cap Taillat and Cap Camarat, but we describe here the roundtrip to Cap Lardier, leading you back to the Plage de Gigaro, where we start. The whole area is a nature conservation area with unparalleled beauty: the rocky coast and azur Mediterranean on one side and the hills covered with pine and shrubs on the other side.
|Time||Ascend||Length||Facilities||IGN (Institut Géographique National)|
|2 hours - but plan for at least 1/2 day if you want to enjoy the pretty beaches and take a dip in the sea||100 m||5.5km||none, take plenty of water||Map 3545OT|
The trail starts at Plage de Gigaro, one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in France. You can reach it driving to La Croix Valmer and follow the signs to Plage Gigaro. Parking Saint Michel (they charge) at the end of the beach road is your best bet. If they are full - during the summer holidays this is mostly the case - go back to the direction of La Croix Valmer and try parking along the road somewhere. Parking on the beach road behind the Plage de Gigaro promenade is normally also full. In case you are lucky don't forget to pay and display the ticket behind the windshield.
Hard to believe, but the area behind the Plage de Gigaro used to be a campground in the 1950's and 60s called Cap Mimosa owned by a Mr. and Mrs. Carter, he a retired British Army colonel. The whole area was pretty much unspoiled. The Mas de Gigaro, a holiday community and the Hotel Souleias on the hill were developed much later.
The trail starts at the end of Gigaro beach where a sandy path climbs up the hill, follow the yellow markings along the footpath. Picturesque Umbrella Pines, Montpelier Pines and Eucalyptus Trees with their exposed roots reaching across the trail, the chirping cicadas, the blue sea and gently pounding waves - you know you are in for a special treat. A side path leads you to the Ilot du Crocodile, an islet named after the crocodile because of its rugged shape. Continue on the left pathway leading up and down and around a couple of small capes through the dry Garrigue brushes and after about 200 m the beautiful Plage de Jovat comes in sight. There is a fine sandy beach here, the blue Mediterranean Sea looks inviting and you might want to take a dip here or at the next beach, Plage de Brouis.
Move on and walk the next stretch of the Sentier du Littoral, straight ahead past the sign "La Maison du Pecheur". Up it goes to a promontory and once on top you can see Cap Lardier in front of you. During spring and autumn you will be pretty much on your own here. Absorb the beautiful scenery, the birds chirping, the aromatic smell of the Garrigue and the steady rythm of the waves. The hills before Cap Lardier are covered with Umbrella Pines, a pretty sight contrasting with the blue sky and the white rocks. Walk across Plage des Brouis, on the other side you see a sign warning you of a steep ascend. Climbing up the steps made of thick wooden planks and pine tree roots is a good exercise for your legs. Once on top you feel you are ready for another dip in the sea, alas it is deep down there. You have reached Les Pins Blancs promontory - an excellent photo shooting opportunity.
To continue on the Sentier Littoral take the path to the right signed "Vieux Sémaphore de Collebasse". After passing the unsightly water cistern - hard to believe that it suffices to fight forest fires - turn right to the Sémaphore de Collebasse, surrounded by umbrella pines and white oaks, with the Baie de Cavalaire below. Another great panoramic view here and a good spot to rest in the shade. Return to Les Pins Blancs the same way you came. From there you can either head back to the Plage de Gigaro taking the inland path or walk back on the Sentier Littoral. Both paths have their merits. The inland path leads you through a wide forest of umbrella pines, Eucalyptus trees and Garrigue brushes. Walking back the Sentier Littoral gives you a chance to soak in the stunning views from another angle and another chance to relax on one of the beaches and take a dip in the water.