Cocteau, the Cap de Nice walk and … ooops …

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

It was the best of times. It was the worst of … well, okay, not the worst ever but the air did turn a certain shade of bleu (not a typo, we are in France after all). It turned out I hadn’t researched this walk quite as well as I thought! Ever had one of those days?

We’ve been taking the train a lot here as the station is literally a  three minute walk from our little bit of heaven in Antibes. Our French friends tell us the trains are unreliable so I guess we’ve been lucky since they’ve really been working for us. We did learn to pick our times because in July and August the late afternoon trains can be jampacked with tourists, dogs, bikes, strollers not to mention the locals just trying to get home from work. Never mind … I’m getting off topic … as I easily do …

So my DH (dear husband) and I hopped on a train to Villefranche-Sur-Mer, another beautiful spot 30 minutes along the coast (with a great beach) that we visit often. To my surprise he had suggested he would walk a sentier with me and we thought this one would be perfect. He has a bad back so has to pick and choose what sort of walking he does. Stairs are not the best thing. Everything I read about this path made it sound like a good one for him. Gorgeous day! Perfect! We had our drinking water and our spritzer spray water bottles with us. (Do you know about these for walking on hot days? They are the best – great for kids too. You can make your own.)

Walking through town to the start of the sentier, we stopped in at La Chapelle St.-Pierre, which had been closed several times when we had been by before (Mondays). Dating from the 16thC, it fell into disrepair and had been used to store fishermen’s nets and stuff for about 200 years. In the mid-1950’s, it was restored and artist Jean Cocteau (a native of the area) created a magnificent homage on the walls and ceiling to fishermen and their patron saint. It’s a gem. A remarkable display of his talent. No photos are allowed inside but if you click here, I found a site with some. 

We walked past the Citadelle, along another beach, through a marina, looked lost, received unsolicited directions from a very nice French fellow, and were on our way. The scenery was outstanding as usual, red rocks, azure sea, aromatic shrubs and trees. Cicadas were buzzing. It was hot. But we were happy because it was not a long walk so we would be fine. There were a few more spots with stairs than we had anticipated but then the path would continue. We sipped and we spritzed. It was hot.

We looked down to see scuba boats anchored and from time to time kayakers would appear. It really was a perfect day for all this sort of activity. We wished

we had brought bathing suits. Gentle breezes would waft up from the sea from time to time. Oh, and there were a few most spots with stairs … quite a few … I commented on how impressive the French were about maintaining these trails and building stairs so hikers didn’t have to scale rocks any more. DH’s responses were fewer and shorter. Did I mention it was hot?

After two hours, passing four other sweat-drenched hikers going the opposite way, we came around a bend and there was Nice … in the distance.




I wondered aloud if I had somehow read about an entirely different sentier. There was a muffled response from DH. Then suddenly … the path ended abruptly and …

that’s when the air turned BLEU!  DH was not impressed.

Merde! This apparently was the end of our little hike along the Cap de Nice.

I’ve since read that there is a similar walk along the rocks going towards Villefranche from the Old Port in Nice but the two have not been linked. It is possible to combine the two walks but it does involve these and other stairs.

This photo shows the first part of the stairs. They did go on …

When we arrived at the top we were on a palm-tree lined street in a lovely part of east Nice and I thought the name of the bus stop was quite appropriate!  DH even laughed!

Part of my attempts to inject enthusiasm into the hike when another set of stairs appeared, was to remind DH that we were going to have lunch at one of his favourite restaurants when we finished our hike. We took the bus to the Old Port and walked down the street to Les Pins D’Alep, discussing what our order would be. DH began getting a bit edgy when we noticed the tables and chairs normally outside were missing. Don’t tell me … he said …


Closed all of August for holidays … and so we laughed. I thought I was going to have an accident right there. OMG, we laughed. What else can you do? Then we walked around the corner and had a delicious lunch and some nice cold beer somewhere else. It always works out.

What do you do when things don’t play out quite the way you planned? Do you have a meltdown or can you find the humour in the situation?  I find a little of the former and a lot of the latter works best for me.

About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!


  1. Haha! Sounds like a real adventure!!! Gorgeous pics that make me wish I was there and not in cold Wales!

  2. Honestly, it depends. I try to always keep a sense of humour and adventure – roll with it. But sometimes (especially if I am hot or really hungry), I can totally lose it with a major meltdown. The good thing; I usually burn up my frustration pretty quick and get back to rolling with it. Love the pics…stunning…

  3. Lovely photos! It’s always nice when you take a walk or a trip expecting one thing and other things happen. For me it makes it that much more memorable.

    Like you I’m a bit of both, I can get anxious but then turn things always seem to turn around for a laugh. I love irony.

    • Thanks Kate! My camera and I spend a lot of time together and fortunately DH is a patient guy. He’s gotten used to me vanishing and knows exactly what I’m doing.
      I’m dashing out to buy the ingredients for that Mango Salsa. Sounds terrific!

    • I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong because I know I replied to your comment and i see it further up this page. Back to the drawing board to figure this one out!

  4. Love those pictures. Thanks for taking me to a place I’ll likely never go.

    • Hey Cheryel – That’s one of the finer things about the internet, isn’t it? We get to have all sorts of experiences we might never be able to fit into our busy lives!

  5. Villefranche-sur-Mer is my favourite place in the whole world – I fell in love with it there a few years ago. It’s an amazing place 🙂

    Much admiration for you both!

    Love the photos x x

  6. I usually try to inject some humor into a stressful situation but it doesn’t always work. It depends how serious the stress is and what causes it. Sometimes just being calm is enough.
    Patricia, every time I read one of your “French” posts, I miss Europe even more than I normally do. Thank you for sharing this wonderful adventure and your beautiful photos.

    • Angela, every time I look at your photo I smile! You look like someone who laughs easily and that’s a good thing. I’m so glad you enjoy the posts and pics. You’ll have to plan a trip back this way sometime.

I love hearing from you ~ thanks for stopping by


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