Now call me old fashioned but I love a good coastal path so when I heard about the ‘Sentier du Tire Poil’ at Cap d’Antibes, I knew I had to go. After a weekend of feeling sorry for myself after catching a cold from my au pair children (an unwelcome perk of the job), I decided that today was the day I would venture out of the house and try out this walk for myself.
The coastal path is located at Cap D’Antibes which is just down the coast from the centre of Antibes (if you look on a map, it’s the sticky out bit between Antibes and Juan Les Pins). I got off the bus at Antibes bus station thinking that a short walk would bring me to the beginning of the trail but boy was I wrong! I set off in high spirits but, unbeknownst to me, the trek to get to the beginning of the coastal path which is at Plage de la Garoupe was muchhh further than I had anticipated – 3 miles in fact and my Fitbit had already buzzed to tell me I’d hit my daily goal of 10,000 steps before I’d even reached the start point!
TOP TIP – If you have a car, drive to ‘Plage de la Garoupe’ as there is a car park there. Alternatively, take the Envibus number 2 to the stop named ‘Fontaine’ which drops you close to the beach and saves the trek from Antibes centre which I had to make (that teaches me for not researching bus lines hard enough!)
Once at the start point, I felt as though I had already had my daily dose of exercise but I had made it this far and I wasn’t raised a quitter! The beginning of the trail is located at the other end of the beach along the wall and from there, everything is all quite straight forward. There is the chance to pick up a heritage walk leaflet from the Antibes tourist office which describes in detail more about the walk and you can also go on a guided tour for €7 per person (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information) but I just stuck to my own devices which wasn’t hard at all. There is a good variety of path terrains including steps, pebbles and small walkways but nothing is too challenging – the Antibes website states that the path has a difficulty rating of medium which I would agree with. It’s definitely not suitable for pushchairs but I did see a lot of different age ranges during the day and some people even used it as the location for their daily run!
On a mid November morning, the path was actually quite busy but not too busy that it felt crowded. With regards to the landscape, I think the photos explain themselves!! It was just a shame that there weren’t more benches to sit and enjoy the view but I guess you are there for a walk after all!
Along the path, there are plenty of small coves where you can take a break and perhaps even a dip in the sea. I was walking in a vest top in the middle of November so I can only imagine how refreshing the water must be if you’re walking in the heat of summer!
After a while of taking in the sea view, the coastal path comes to an end and you have two options; turn right and head inland or continue along the path which takes you through a small forest and then to a little beach named ‘Anse de l’argent faux’. In fact, I headed right inland and then back down past Villa Eilenroc to find the beach – a pebbly cove which I would have happily spent longer at had the temperatures been more favourable (but then it is November after all!).
The Villa itself is located in stunning gardens which are usually open to the public for a fee of €2. However, when I visited, they were closed but this by no means detracted from the enjoyment of my trip. The coastal path had provided me with enough nature for the day! I then headed down the wide walled path and down the road which leads you back to the beach. Arguably, it’s less scenic than the coastal path but I mean, how could you beat those views?!
In total, the path is 5km long and, on top of the extra miles I had walked to actually get to the coast path and the knowledge I had to walk all the way back to catch the bus again, I was feeling quite tired. I was just in the process of complaining to my boyfriend about how much I wanted an uber to take me home when I saw it… in all it’s glory on the roadside – a bus stop!! And to add to my joy, it took me right back to the centre of Antibes! Suddenly, I had a newfound spring in my step and I marched back to the beach as I wanted to make sure I had fully finished the walk! Without trying to go too statistical on you, these are the readings I had on my Fitbit once I had finished the walk (and which I had reset before I had started): I’d burnt 365 calories, climbed 30 flights of stairs and walked 4.9km all in a time of 1 hour 4 minutes. Not bad for a mornings work! The website recommends leaving 2 hours to complete the walk (I am a naturally fast walker thanks to my long legs and my friends always complain to me that I am leaving them behind so 2 hours seems like a reasonable recommendation)
By this time, I was feeling rather peckish and the only restaurant open on the beach ‘Le Rocher’ seemed very appealing to me. During summer, there are more restaurants open but these close during the low season due to less custom from tourists. In fact, I was told by the waiter serving me that ‘Le Rocher’ closes at the beginning of December until Spring so I would advise bringing a picnic or something if you are visiting during those months. I decided to go for a crêpe (I am living on au pair budgets here) and a coke which was very nice and only cost me €8.50.
It is worth noting that the coastal path can be partially or fully closed during times of bad weather so make sure you bare this in mind before visiting. The ‘Sentier du Tire Poil’ literally translates as ‘hair pull trail’ which is said to be due to the sea wind ruffling the hair of visitors. On a sunny winter morning, this was not the case but it was just the thing I needed to blow away the bugs and leave me feeling much fresher and alive!