Vallon de Sues walk
Even if you’re not a dedicated fan of walking tours or walking holidays, France is still one of the best countries for a great all-round walking experience-and for many it remains at the top of all the European walking tours available.
However, for walking in France some areas are better than others.
One of the best areas to walk in is the Alps Maritime.
There’s the magnificent scenery, the warm welcome the great weather, the fine cuisine, and of course the delicious wine.
All these on there own would be reason enough to visit, but when you get them all together as a package It turns a nice break into a holiday to remember for years to come.
One of the best places to stay is in the charming village of Sospel. This is a favourite place for walkers, mountain bikers and people who just like being in the countryside because it has everything you need.
Sospel is right in the centre of the mountains and from there you can access more than a thousand kilometres of walking, hiking and biking trials that will suit most levels of walkers, hikers and bikers.
The village of Sospel itself has enough restaurants and bars to cater for most tastes and pockets and there are a dozen or more guest houses, hotels and gites to stay at.
This is a relatively easy 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hour walk along part of the Bevera Valley and a small side valley off to the South. Walking is in a mixture of paths and tracks passing through both forested and more open areas.
We leave Villa Amiel- probably the best bed and breakfast in Sospel and head east crossing the road into the Parc de Platanes, go past the war memorial towards the Co-operative building that look like an old warehouse.
Going between it and the 1960s transformer building opposite, we follow the small road heading more or less towards the east that within a few hundred yards starts to track along the north side of the railway line heading towards La Source.
There are a few interesting houses along this track an occasionally friendly sheep and just the odd car – but you’ll soon be leaving most signs of civilisation behind you.
Continue along for about half a mile, we then take a road that bears up to the right and is signposted to a kennel complex, turn right here. Follow the road as it bears right and goes across the railway line.
Five minutes after crossing the railway line we arrive at a “crossroads” area, where 3 roads converge, and our path takes us straight on down the un-made track in front.
After passing the large gates complete with a lot of barking dogs, the track continues on for about half a mile and finishes at some large gates
We leave the track and take the footpath off up to the right and continue along a tree-lined path that for the time being heads due south.
Continuing along the path you you notice that it starts to climb slightly as we leave the Bevera Valley and enter a side of valley that takes us onto the Vallone De Sues.
Following the fairly obvious path we soon pass a big rock… or two!
And about 20 to 25 minutes from leaving the track – come across an old and fairly picturesque cottage. Looking out through the trees at this point we get some stunning views back down into the Bevera Valley.
Leaving the cottage behind, the path bears slowly right as it drops down towards the river bed which depending on the time of year you do the walk can be full of water or empty!
There are large boulders in the riverbed, so even if the river is pretty full, it- like many of the small waterways in this region – is easily crossable with care.
However, this is a good place to sit and have a rest or a picnic – as so we did, enjoying a nice half hour break for good picnic food, drink and entertaining chat.
After having our fill, we join a path on the other side of the river, that goes both ways, up and down the hill.
We decide to go up the hill, as although it adds an extra 40 minutes to this enjoyable walk – the views from the ruins near the top are glorious.
Having had our fill of the views we about turn following the path back down again and pass the crossing point in the river
The path dips slightly and we noticed some unusual moss covered rocks that even in the driest weather seemed to stay moist
After about 400m, we follow the path that goes up the incline to the right.
and at the top-and bear left on to the track heading vaguely north.
Keeping to the track, we bear left where the farm entrance joins the it and a little later on notice the footpath proper goes off down to the left but we stick to the track as that follows a higher route and so affords some nice views up the valley towards Sospel.
After about 20 minutes – not counting the time we spent taking photos – we found ourselves walking along and above the south side of the railway line slowly descending back down towards the valley bottom.
Following the track as it sloped down around a right-hand bend we crossed the railway line, then turning westerly went along another small roadway taking us back towards La Source, a small countrified estate of houses situated down the river from Sospel.
Just before this small housing estate starts, we turned left up the slope following the track still heading vaguely west – this time – below and to the north of the railway line.
About half an hour after crossing the railway- we recognise the first part of the track we had walked along a few hours earlier as we head back towards the cooperative warehouse and Sospel.
From here it is just a short walk through the car park and pass the memorial. to be greeted by the much welcomed drink waiting for us when we get back to the Villa Amiel.
This hasn’t been the hardest walk we’ve ever done, but it was certainly enjoyable and we look forward to many more like it.
You can see the photos and maps for this walk from Walking in France