All photos currently published from my France 2010 trip are displayed in this gallery.
Breakfast today was a very fat looking croissant, and toasted baguette slices with beurre et confiture du framboises. Then, the man from the hotel drove us with our luggage to Saorge which is not far from the Fontan train station.
From here we continued our walk that started yesterday at the Saorge’s mairie (city hall).
We walked through the narrow streets of Saorge, which is high up along a mountain cliff. As another small medieval town, the streets were narrow, however, Saorge is an architecturally unique town with closely clustered buildings rising steeply in steps like the seats of an amphitheatre.
We gradually made our way towards the Saorge monastery, which was unfortunately closed. Then we headed higher, up the steep pathways in the village to gain a better view of our surroundings.
We headed back down and through the town. The dense buildings and mountain scenery is amazingly picturesque. One of my favourite towns on this trip!
Eventually we took a path leading out of Saorge. What a wonderful start to another day!
It was mostly downhill from Bergue Inférieur. We kept walking along the road and path to some ruins with some very purplish coloured rocks.
The town of Fontan (pop. ~300) came into view, nestled in the mountain valley. We went along a road with hairpin turns all the way down the mountain into the town, our last destination for the day.
Wandering through the streets in the town of Fontan, one of the highlights was the colourful church.
In Fontan, we stopped at a café to celebrate a successful hike to Fontan and I ate a triple chocolate crème glacée! Then we headed towards the train station at Fontan-Saorge back to La Brigue. It started raining as we were waiting for the train to come. My dad has issues putting his rain pants on properly.
Here is a map of our walk for the day.
After the train we went back to the hotel in La Brigue for supper. I ate bresaola (an arugula salad with dried beef/bresaola and shaved parmesan cheese), and stewed beef with pasta (a special type of pasta made in La Brigue). For dessert, I ate salade du fraise. Then I went to sleep.
After leaving Granille, we continued through the glorious woodlands, mostly downhilll and then back up to the village Bergue Supérieur. Bergue Supérieur is another small medieval village with stone buildings and narrow streets.
It was fun to explore the village while passing through the streets, but it wasn’t long before we had passed through the town and were on our way to the next. Meanwhile, the way out of Bergue Supérieur provided a wonderful view.
Not far out of Bergue Supérieur, a view of the next town, Bergue Inférieur could already be seen. However, it was still some distance away, and we needed to go down into a valley and back up to get there.
On the descent into the valley, we almost got lost by the rooster and chickens.
In the valley we encountered a bridge and waterfall. Along the road afterwards was a long line of caterpillars following each other. (48 caterpillars in a line!)
Finally we arrived at Bergue Inférieur. There were more stone buildings here. As a note, the “Supérieur” and “Inférieur” in the names of these towns refers to which town is further along the road, and not which has a higher elevation.
We continued past this town as well, onto our final destination for the day…
Here we are in the hamlet of Granille, which has a population of … 10? (Or so our walking guide book says).
Granille is a colourful little community with many flowers lining the walkways, inviting us into the “roads” passing through the village. I say “roads”, because technically I think they are roads, but there is nothing here that would be wide enough to fit a car, so they look more like cobblestone pathways. I’m pretty sure a donkey cart could fit down these streets though!
The hamlet has many old stone buildings, but I wouldn’t call them run-down. Despite everything being inarguably ancient, the village seems quite tidy and cozy.
There is also a church that has a bell that goes DONG DONG DONG DONG DONG DONG DONG DONG DONG DONG DONG DONG!
We ate our packed lunches on the terraces just past the hamlet. From here, there is a great view of the entire village. I ate a long sandwich made from a baguette.
Leaving Ste-Dalmas de Tende, we went up a path further up the mountains. The weather was quite nice, making this a wonderful way to enjoy the scenery. 🙂
Not far after leaving the town we crossed a bridge over some hydro pipelines running all the way up and down the mountain.
Occasionally we would pass by an old stone building, or other relics, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
Of course there was also some very pretty scenery along the way with the mountain cliffs and forests.
Again, random old buildings in the middle of nowhere seem to be common.
We continued walking – we still hadn’t even made it to where we were supposed to have lunch!
And then, finally we arrived at the little Hamlet of Granille!
We woke up this morning at 7:30 AM. The bells from the church clocktower rang twice every hour, and once every half hour all day and night. I can see the clocktower while lying on my bed and looking out the window.
For breakfast I ate croissants, and toasted baguette slices with butter and plum jam. I also drank orange juice and tea.
Today, we begin a hiking adventure. We will walk from La Brigue all the way back to Menton on the Mediterranean coast, which will take about a week, staying the nights at various towns along the way. Below is a map of the approximate route:
The hike will be a wonderful way to experience this south eastern area of France along the Italian border.
We started our walk near the Mirval Hotel and went the wrong way. 😮 Then, we went the right way and took the path out of La Brigue, and walked along the side of the valley towards Ste-Dalma de Tende.
It was still mid-morning when we came to the town of Ste-Dalma de Tende. We walked across the river and through the town. There are lots of flowers like wild irises.
Continuing the walk, La Brigue is also home to the Chateâu Lascaris, a ruined castle.
Just beside the castle are some interesting houses.
A little path gives a wonderful view of La Brigue amidst the surrounding mountain landscape.
Walking through the town, cats wandering about are a common sight.
It is also common to see plaques or other figures above doorways. These are said to protect inhabitants from bewitchment.
Finally we came to a wide square. After visiting the square, we went to the Heritage Center, which had a cute dog called Tommy.
After returning to the room, it was raining. Some time later the sound of bells ringing could be heard. A very strange but neat sight was see a whole herd of sleep running down the road just outside the window. They were noisy because they were wearing cowbells.
We had another three course meal for supper at the hotel (since it was included). I had chèvre chaud, ravioli, and creme brulée.
For lunch I ate salade de chévre chaud. The literal translation is hot goat salad, but actually seems to refer to “hot/melted?” goat cheese salad.
Afterwards we walked around and explored the narrow cobblestone alleys. La Brigue is a small medieval town, with only about 600 people living here.
Aside from walking around the streets, we visited the St-Martin Collegiate Church in a square across the road from the hotel.
While the buildings are all very close together in this town, there are also some pretty flowers!
More sights from exploring:
This morning we had a continental breakfast at the hotel, where I had infusion tea, orange juice, Chocopics, and a croissant. We had a quick walk in Nice again, before heading to the train station to Ventimille in Italy (Ventimiglia in Italian). From Ventimille we take another train to the town of La Brigue, which is back in France.
The train ride was filled with beautiful scenery. I took a couple pictures along the way, but it was mostly difficult as the train goes fast, and kept darting into tunnels. The train passed through 55 tunnels on the way to La Brigue, which speaks for the ruggedness of the southern Maritime Alps.
At 12:57 PM we made it to La Brigue!
We are staying in Les Fleur des Alpes Hotel.
I had a nap in the hotel, still tired from jet lag. Afterwards we went for a walk.
We went around the area.
Walked past many shops…
Including a really neat candy store!
Walked by la plage as well (Mediterranean Sea).
Still tired from jet lag, I had a short nap in the room after the walk, then had dinner at the Anglaisterre Restaurant where we had a big pig-out. I ate vegetable soup, poisson du jour, a lot of vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, green beans, zucchini, potato), an egg. There was also about a half cup of garlic butter on the side, a bowl of spaghetti, and camembert. It was lots of food, and I had to con my dad into eating lots of it.
I had a very good sleep after that.
After arriving in Nice in the afternoon, we took a bus to the Gare SNCF and walked a couple blocks to our hotel, the Trocadero Inn.
There is a balcony from the room and bathroom! Here are a few photos taken right from the balcony.