One of the nicest things about living on the French Riviera is the amount of walking trails you can discover with your family. There’s plenty of trails that are perfect for all ages throughout the year.
The French Riviera has an incredible amount of history, so you can combine exercise with learning about places, people and the natural environment.
The main challenge I have as a parent is finding in-depth and accurate information in English. Typical information that I find comes in handy for planning:
- What type of facilities are on or near the trail – are there picnic tables, toilets, water sources, observation points, bird watching huts, cafes or snack kiosks, rental suppliers for sports gear (e.g. at beaches, in the mountains).
- Seasonal considerations – which months are the best for each trail. Some tracks are closed in summer due to fire risk, or are difficult to access in winter due to icy/snowy conditions. Is there shade or is the entire trail in full sun? Are there strong winds?
- Safety aspects – are there potential dangers on the path such as wild animals or difficult terrain? We have definitely done hiking paths where I’d consider it too treacherous to take young children due to lack of fencing, steep drops or slippery rocks. In general, the department pathways here are well maintained; coastal paths are closed in bad weather or if there’s rockfalls. Other things to consider are fire risks in the forest zones in summer, and hunting season where you need to be aware of dates and hunt locations.
- Age appropriateness and accessibility for families – when you have kids of different ages it’s useful to know if a walking trail is more suited to young kids/teens/all ages. A typical question I am asked often is ‘Can you take a baby stroller?’
- Clear directions about car parking and start/finish point for the routes
- Hike duration and level of ability needed for each walk – this region has everything from flat town promenades to difficult rock-strewn hinterland tracks. When you have kids you need to know these details.
- General information and fun facts – I always like to know what art, wildlife or nature highlights you can expect to see in the area, as the kids get more excited if they know they have an opportunity to see a cool sculpture, specific animals or flowers. Also, fun facts about history come in handy such as details about château, fossils, knights, ancient trade routes, shipwrecks, ruins, military fortresses or prehistoric discoveries.
30 of the best child-friendly walking trails on the French Riviera
Generally, we prefer nature trails that have good views, easy walking with a maximum duration of 2 hours and a mix of scenery and points of interest. The last thing you want is to arrive somewhere and have your kids start to complain they’re bored or tired and want to head back to the car with the picnic goodies and day bags.
Since our boys were babies / toddlers, we have completed at least 100 regional walks that include a mix of urban strolls, coastal trails, mountain hikes or nature walks in forests, beside rivers or through gorges. So, we have tried and tested a lot of different options!
I will be writing a Five-Part Series that will showcase 30 of the best family-friendly walks on the French Riviera. In the series I’ll include useful tips and information about walks that are suitable for all types of outings whether you’re looking for a gentle town circuit suited to taking a baby stroller, or a scenic trek covering varying altitude and terrain.
My first post will be published next week so stay tuned!