Train des Pignes Hikes
Just about every little railway stop village along the Train des Pignes has good hiking trails. Many are short enough loop hikes to allow you to take a morning train up from Nice, have a good day-hike, and take an evening train back south again.
A variation, which we've done a few times, is to take the morning train to one village, and have a nice mountain hike that ends at a different station along the line.
50 RANDONNEES PEDESTRES avec le Train du Sud
by: Raoul Revelli
Chemins de Fer de la Provence (Gare du Sud train station)
4 bis rue Alfred-Binet, Nice
tel: (33) 497 03 80 80
The 50 Randonnées guide book is organized by length of hike, so you can quickly look over the possibilities that fit the time you have. Length? There are 5-day and 3-day hikes, lots of day hikes, 7-8 hour, 6-7 hour, 5-hour and "short" hikes.
These hikes have the great advantage of being "loops"; each finishes where it starts.
And then there's the Train des Pignes itself. Not only does this solve the hiker's constant logistics problem ("How do I get there? How do I get back again?"), but a journey on this narrow-gauge train can be an adventure. The guide book has a map of each hike, but the maps are pretty crappy: low-resolution black-white photocopies; so you'll want the local IGN hiking maps.
The 50 Randonnées book is a sad photo-copy replacement for the 1980 original 75 Randonnées Pedestres avec le Train des Pignes book by the same author. Not only was the quality better, but the original had a wonderful fold-out "3-dimensional-drawing" map showning the whole route.
#3440 ET "Digne-les-Bains, La Javie, Bléone" (Digne & East)
#3340 ET "Digne-les-Bains" (Digne & West)
#3441 OT "Barrême" (Mézel, Barrême)
#3541 OT "Annot" (St-André, Thorame-Haute, Meailles, Le Fugeret, Annot)
#3641 OT "Moyenne Var" (Entrevaux, Puget-Théniers, Touët, Villars)