I walk regularly with friends, and this week we chose to walk the Promenade Le Corbusier coastal pathway from Roquebrune-Cap-Martin to Monaco with views of the mountains and sea on the Menton side, and Monaco’s skyline on the other side.
We walked to Monaco, passing by the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel and the tennis courts of the Monte Carlo Country Club (the venue for the Monte-Carlo Masters) stopping for a well-deserved coffee on the seafront in the sunshine.
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is divided into two areas; old Roquebrune with its medieval village, and the coastal resort of Cap Martin.
Old Roquebrune and its meandering streets are clustered around the castle – Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin – the oldest feudal castle remaining in France. The castle was built in the 10th century to ward off the Saracens, and later remodelled by the Grimaldis.
I’ve been intending to visit the Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin which offers panoramic views, so I think I’ll return to write a review about that.
An interesting local tradition in Roquebrune dates back over 5 centuries – every year on 05 August there is an afternoon procession where six scenes of the Passion of the Christ are re-enacted. The Roquebrunois believe their prayers saved them from a plague that ravaged this region in the 13th century, and in return vowed to make an annual procession through the village with locals playing the parts of Romans, Christ, Virgin Mary and baby Gabriel.
The Promenade Le Corbusier pathway
The promenade is named after Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, bettter known as Le Corbusier, the Swiss-born French resident famed for his architecture and design.
If you’re a design fanatic like me, you’ll be familiar with his work including the hotly-debated concept of the Cité Radieuse housing complex in Marseille, and his chairs especially the LC4 chaise lounger. Sadly, Corbusier drowned off the Roquebrune coast in the 1960’s and he is buried in the cemetery at Roquebrune beside his wife.
Here is my review of this lovely coastal walk which I completely recently with friends.
We started our walk on Promenade du Cap-Martin, outside the Hotel Victoria. There is a pebbly beach here, cafeterias, tabac selling newspapers/magazines/cigarettes, boulangerie and small supermarket.
The initial 15-minute section of the walk along Avenue Winston Churchill beside the sea is paved, and mostly flat so you can do this walk if you have a baby stroller/buggy, or are wheelchair-bound. Here are some photos of the ground surface:
After this, the pathway includes many steps so is inaccessible for persons with reduced mobility.
The views are lovely of the ocean, coastal rocks and Monaco skyline.
There are also a couple of steel cantilevered bridges which are quite intimidating for people who may have vertigo.
There are lots of bench seats along the route to sit and relax. Take some water and snacks as there is nowhere to stop for refreshments along the route.
One way from Roquebrune-Carnoles to Monaco took us around 1.5 hours at a leisurely to medium pace.
If you enjoy this walk, you will also enjoy similar coastal pathways in the region at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Cap d’Antibes (Sentier du Littoral).
How to get there
We had issues with our GPS and got lost above Larvotto in Monaco! Be wary of using GPS around Monaco due to the high-rise buildings. From Nice direction, we exited the A8 highway at Sortie La Turbie / Roquebrune, then we should have taken the D2564 Grande Corniche then the D52 down to the seafront.
If you choose to start your walk at our departure point, the nearest train station is Carnolès. The Roquebrune-Cap-Martin train station is closer to the Monaco end and about halfway along the route we took.
If you get tired after walking one way, Zest Buses run between Monaco and Menton via Roquebrune/Carnolès. They cost €1,50 one way, you can buy a ticket from the bus driver. Line 18 timetable is here: Zest-Ligne18-500×300-web .
If you want to visit the Château in Roquebrune or the cemetery, Zest Bus number 21 goes from Carnolès train station, and will save you the hike up the hill. The route map / timetable for bus 21 is here: Zest-Ligne21-300×300-web
There are many places along the pathway with steps down the rock faces to the waterline, but be wary of swimming. The sea here can be extremely volatile.
If you want to detour from the coastal pathway, you can take the Massolin pathway and walk up to the old village. Some Roquebrune attractions include the Château, the cemetery with Le Corbusier’s grave, Coco Chanel’s villa ‘La Pausa’ and the ancient olive tree L’Olivier Millenaire.
Many people visit this area looking for Le Corbusier’s tiny beach cabanon where he spent his summers. I heard it is difficult to find his cabanon from the coastal pathway and not sign-posted. The best option is to book a guided tour through the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Tourist Office, tours run twice-weekly on Tuesday and Friday mornings. To read more about the cabanon, there is a detailed article here: http://socks-studio.com/2014/01/30/inhabiting-the-mediterranean-landscape-le-corbusiers-cabanon-in-roquebrune-1952/
I will definitely be back to do this walk another day. Highly recommended.