Mont Vinaigre

My hiking companions.

My hiking companions.

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Yesterday, Mercredi/Wednesday, I was invited on a walk up the highest point on the Esterel. Worn by erosion, Mont Vinaigre is 618 m or 2,027 ft. But as the Michelin Guide states, ‘In this mountain mass, the deep ravines and broken skyline dispel any impression of this being mere hills.’

So Gabrielle, Jean, Francoise, little Thomas and his grandmother and I, met up yesterday in glorious sunshine – unusually warm for this time of year, I was told – and went for un marche. 

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Thomas, 5, and the 'manti religieuse'

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We started off at about 3 in the afternoon. The sun was deliciously warm, and a faint haze hung in the air. We discovered a ‘manti religieuse,’ leading me to say, ‘Elle mange…la tete…de la beau, apres…’ (she eats…the head…of her beau, after…) and my companions filled in the rest.

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des champignons sauvages: wild mushrooms

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I spotted a coulemelle or l’epiote mushroom: apparently good to eat. We turned from the paved road to a jagged but well-trod basalt-shingle path, through pine wood and cheine bouchon – cork oaks. It takes seven years for them to regrow their stripped bark, and trunk after trunk of these wild, gnarly trees are blackened in their nakedness up to about 6 feet tall, whereupon the rest of the tree is perfectly brown and fully-barked.

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Cannes & Cap d'Antibes

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I heard the tinny clangle of bells – goats, somewhere, in the hills.

We saw tracks of les sangliers – wild boar. Just before my arrival in Les Adrets, the sangliers had completely overturned Verity’s gardens. I thought the rains she’d told me about had caused landslides and flooding, but it had all been the boars. The prints of their cloven hooves are still dried into the mud in the back of the house.

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Les Alpes (the really faint snow-covered ones in the background, not the green ones in the foreground)

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As we ascended, the air became clearer and cooler. We reached the top for a spectacular panorama: The Cap d’Antibes, Cannes and La Napoule bay, Frejus, St-Raphael, all hugging a glittering Mediterranean Sea; Les Adrets de l’Esterel and Les Adrets du Lac; Grasse.

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Atop Mont Vinaigre

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We could see the Alps.

And beyond the Alps, which we couldn’t see, Italy: my next destination after this adventure.

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One thought on “Mont Vinaigre

  1. Kelley, Sounds like you’re having the time of your life. One adventure after another. I’m so excitied we’ll be joining you soon !!!

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