The ‘La Brague’ park covers 630 hectares to the north and west of Sophia Antipolis, Antibes, Biot and Valbonne.
There are numerous walking tracks that follow the Brague River valley (maps can be obtained from the Biot or Valbonne tourist offices) and the full oneway journey between Biot and Valbonne can take 3 hours. There is a bus (Ligne 10) that runs between Valbonne and Biot if you decide to walk oneway – timetables are found at www.envibus.fr
As with hiking in most forested areas, sturdy shoes are recommended. Because the tracks follow the river there can often be muddy areas and there is a lot of leaf cover and numerous tree roots across the pathways. However, we found an easy walk between the ‘La Veirière’ carpark and ‘Les Tamarins’ carpark and our 2-year old walked beside us with ease.
The path is a mixture of gravel, changing to dirt tracks beside the river. It is a lovely walk with ample shade from the trees and lots of stone bridges, old mill ruins, waterholes and small cascades to see.
Here are the directions from Antibes for this walk (duration 30 minutes oneway):
1. From the route de Grasse road (D35) you head up the hill towards Mougins/Valmasque turn-off. As you drive up the hill, don’t turn left to the Valmasque but go straight ahead onto the route du Parc (D103). Follow this road until you reach the Carrefour des Bouillides (roundabout).
2. At this roundabout, turn right onto the route des Dolines. Follow this road until the next roundabout where you take the road on the left (D198) – the route des Crêtes. Follow this road up the hill and round the bend 500 metres; at the next roundabout follow to the left still on the D198 road. You will see the brown sign for ‘Parc Départemental de la Brague’ indicating the correct direction. You will know you are on the correct road as you will drive past the Air France headquarters on the left after 200 metres.
3. At the next junction keep following left onto the D604 road (route des Macarons). Keep to this road for a few minutes and you will see a gravel carpark on the right-hand side with ‘Domaine de la Veirière’ signpost. You can park here and from the carpark walk past the picnic tables following the gravel path to the left which leads you on an easy decline 10-minutes walk down to the river.
4. From the river, you can turn left for a short 5-minute detour to the Pont de la Veirière (bridge) and some small waterfalls and waterholes. Or take the right-hand pathway beside the river and walk towards Biot stopping at Les Tamarins.
This walk is easy, it’s manageable for families with children from toddler age up. Not accessible with baby buggies/strollers however due to the dirt tracks sometimes becoming muddy.
There are a variety of trees and plants to discover, and on our walk today we saw fish, spiders, various birds, dragonflies, frogs, butterflies and horses grazing behind fences beside the river.