« Même pour ceux qui ont vu la Suisse et la Savoie, c’est une belle chose que la montagne couverte par les sombres verdures de l’Estérel. Les Alpes meurent ici dignement. » - Victor Hugo
History of the massif
Straight out of the bowels of the earth, Esterel was born 250 million years ago. First attached to Africa, this piece of land separated from it during the formation of the Mediterranean. In the tertiary era, a part of the Esterel even drifted away, Corsica was born! On a few clear mornings, it can even be seen in the distance from the heights.
The rugged topography, rugged landscapes and steep coves plunging into the Mediterranean bear witness to this turbulent geological history and offer surprising and contrasting landscapes. The Esterel massif, between the Mediterranean and Provence, represents a massif of 32,000 hectares, nearly half of which are classified as "Natura 2000" areas. The massif extends over the communes of Saint-Raphaël, Fréjus, Bagnols-en-Forêt and Les Adrets de l'Estérel.
The highest peaksThe many marked hikes offer you the chance to discover the sights and landscapes of the estate: the Pic de l'Ours, the Saint-Barthélémy rock, the Calanque and the Cap du Dramont, the belvedere of Cap Roux, the Mont Vinaigre (highest point of the massif at 614 meters), the Perthus and Malinfernet ravines with their springs, the Blavet gorges in the town of Bagnols en Forêt.
A protected site classified natura 2000*
* The Natura 2000 network brings together natural or semi-natural sites in the European Union with a high heritage value, through the exceptional fauna and flora they contain.
The legend of the Esterel
Legend has it that a fairy named Estérelle, whom women came to see to be more fertile, is the origin of her name. More likely, during a tectonic plate movement, the earth cracked deeply, letting the lava rise to the surface and giving rise to this purple rock, the rhyolite (or red porphyry). The real origin of the name of the massif, less romanticized, would thus come from the derivative of the adjective sterile, which corresponded to the acidic and unfertile terrain that is the Esterel.
The human history of the massif
The human history of the massif is also very rich since the tools and arrowheads (exhibited at the Saint-Raphaël Archaeological Museum) have been found and are the traces of a long period of our history. All the civilizations of the Mediterranean basin have marked the Esterel massif with their own mark.
Along a trail, you may discover a menhir, a Roman fountain, an oppidum or the Aurelian path that runs along the coast to Agay. In the Middle Ages, the Esterel served as a refuge for hermits, including Saint-Honorat (which gave its name to the famous Saint-Honorat cave) and in the 17th and 18th centuries, for prisoners who had escaped from the Toulon prison. Finally, it is said that Gaspard de Besse, the robber with a big heart, hid his treasure there even if it has been never found...
Leisure activities in the massif:The Esterel massif offers walkers a perfumed, preserved and colourful vegetation. It forms a magnificent view and many leisure activities are offered: hiking and horse riding, mountain biking, climbing, etc. Vehicles are allowed on about 42 km of road, circuits have been arranged for mountain biking (100 km of marked mountain bike circuits), horse riders (100 km of horse riding trails) and for hikers (40 km of walking trails).Discover
The advice of the tourist office
|To do absolutely!||Recommended places|
|The excursion of the Pic du Cap Roux (exceptional panoramas)||The restaurant “Les Flots Bleus” in Anthéor|
|The Corniche d'Or road||Viewpoint of the Pic de l’Ours|
|Afternoon mask and snorkel at Calanque Saint-Barthélémy||Agathos Residence in Agay|