sites naturels - massif de l'esterel
Natural sites

Esterel massif

Bordered on one side by the Mediterranean and on the other by the limestone Provence, if there were only one side left, the Esterel massif would be the must-see! Its characteristic red rock and abrupt reliefs give all its charm to the landscape of the territory. You will fall under his spell, we guarantee it! Hikers, riders, mountain bikers... 32,000 hectares of nature and various trails are wating for you!

« 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

Massif Estérel

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.

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. 

Massif Esterel

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.

massif Estérel et pins

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...

Explore the Esterel by hiking

The Esterel massif is a wonderful place for hiking lovers! There are so many things to discover, between Cap Dramont (with a view on the île d'Or), Cap Roux or also Pic du Perthus. If you like to be near the sea, you will enjoy The Sentier du Littoral at Saint-Raphaël: the coastal trail along the red rocks. Try an electric mountain bikes excursions in the Esterel to learn all its secrets with a passionate and certified guide. 

SUP in the Esterel creeks
SUP in the Esterel creeks

Visit the Esterel creeks by kayaking or canoeing

Enjoy your visit of the Esterel massif by the sea! You can rent a kayak or a stand-up-paddle easily from Saint-Raphaël or Agay to explore the Esterel creeks and coves! You will feel like you are privileged to access to some secret spots where the water is translucent. 


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 roadViewpoint of the Pic de l’Ours
Afternoon mask and snorkel at Calanque Saint-BarthélémyAgathos Residence in Agay
Estérel Côte d'Azur depending on your mood
Sea side
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pays de fayence - nord

Fayence area

The Pays de Fayence (Fayence district) has many great provencal villages. All of them have a particularity such as the view from Mons or the artistic streets of Tourrettes. Do no forget to stop in Seillans that has the label of "Most beautiful village in France"

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pays de fayence - sud

Fayence area

North of the A8 motorway, you will find the Pays de Fayence. Saint-Cassien lake, a real oasis of freshness in the Var, awaits you! Take a break at the Lake House before visiting the villages of Bagnols-en-Forêt, St-Paul-en-Forêt or Tanneron.

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roquebrune sur argens - la bouverie


The city of Roquebrune-sur-Argens is the most westerly of the destination. It includes three districts: La Bouverie, at the foot of Gorges du Blavet; The village, overlooked by its magnificent rock, and Les Issambres, with its nautical activities by the sea.

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les adrets de l'esterel

Les Adrets de l'Estérel

Les Adrets de l'Estérel is a small town located at the extreme southeastern Var. Bordering the Maritimes Alpes, it is composed of large green forests. The town overlooks the bay of Cannes and has an exceptional view on the Lérins Islands and the Corniche de l'Estérel.

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village de puget sur argens

Puget sur Argens

Puget sur Argens is a small village located in the middle of many wineries. Its commercial area, near the village, includes many shopping center. North of the village, the Bois du Defens give rise to several walks.

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roquebrune-sur-argens - les issambres

Les Issambres

Welcome to Les Issambres, the district of Roquebrune-sur-Argens located on the coast. True paradise with its 8 km of beaches and creeks, this family seaside resort, already frequented at the time by the Romans, is located between the Gulf of Saint-Tropez and Fréjus-Saint Raphaël.

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ville de frejus - saint-aygulf


Frejus, located halfway between Cannes and Saint-Tropez, is at the heart of the Côte d'Azur. Based on a sandstone buttress of the Esterel massif, the town dominates the valleys of Argens and Reyran. Frejus has the appearance of a small Provencal town whose new districts extend to the sea.

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saint-raphael - massif de l'esterel


65km from Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport, Saint-Raphaël is located between Cannes and Saint-Tropez. This seaside resort on the Mediterranean coast is at the bottom of the great Esterel mountains. Saint Raphael, whose city center is by the sea, is divided into different neighborhoods that have all their characteristics and their personalities.

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Fayence areaFayence areaRoquebrune-sur-ArgensLes Adrets de l'EstérelPuget sur ArgensLes IssambresFréjusSaint-Raphaël
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