La Colle to Tourette, find wilderness behind the riviera

The walk from La Colle to Tourette is a journey through the vast forest area that lies behind the French Riviera. This path is an ancient route that connects two medieval villages through the hinterland and away from all the hustle and bustle of the coast.

The way is not particularly long at just under 5 miles (7.9 km) but it does involve several climbs all along the route. To complete the journey you will need to climb 1,300 ft (390 m), such a trip is much easier in the autumn or spring than in the height of the summer.

Tourette up ahead

La Colle-sur-Loup

The hike begins in the centre of the pretty little village of La Colle-sur-Loup. You won’t find it difficult to park in and around the village. We parked inside the village but there are plenty of places around the edge of the village.

A hidden car park at the start of the La Colle to Tourette walk
Parking in the centre of La Colle

Wherever you park make your way to the main centre of the village, Rue Clémenceau.

The main street of La Colle and the beginning of the La Colle to Tourette walk
Rue Clémenceau

Follow the Rue Clèmenceau downhill and in an easterly direction out of the village.

As you head out of the village the road splits twice. In each case take the right hand fork.

The quiet road out of La Colle on the La Colle to Tourette walk
Avenue Jean Leonard

Continue along the road which gently rises and you will soon arrive at Chapelle Saint-Roch.

The chapel was built in the middle of the 19th Century by grateful villagers who had been spared the cholera epidemic. In addition to cholera Saint Roch’s patronage includes all epidemics, knee problems and skin disease.

I don’t understand how a saint also extends his patronage to bachelors, diseased cattle, dogs, falsely accused people, surgeons and gravediggers. What connection exists between these groups or does there need to be one?

Perhaps we could all be better off if we prayed to Saint Roch throughout the Covid crisis.

The road rises

From the chapel the route continues to rise. There are fewer and fewer houses as you climb.

At one point you pass by and look down on what appears to be a cemetery.

Looking down on a cemetery on the La Colle to Tourette walk
Cemetery?

Make a final push to climb the last stage of this section of the route.

In the woods but still on the road on the La Colle to Tourette walk

Ignore the sign

At the top you’ll come across a typical walking signpost. The sign indicates a right turn to Tourette-sur-Loup. Ignore this and continue straight on.

The wilderness begins on the La Colle to Tourette walk
Into the woods

The path follows the side of the hill. Below on the left a small stream flows and from time to time the sound of the water drifts upwards.

The path winds downwards towards the stream.

On this section of the route I felt completely cut off from civilisation. You can see nothing but trees for miles and miles. No other walkers shared our path. Apart from the occasional sound of water, birds and insects nothing disturbed the peace.

The route descends and again splits. Take the right fork and climb back up. After awhile you will join the GR653A. At this point the path drops downwards again to the crossing of the stream.

The route descends and then rises on the La Colle to Tourette walk

You are not far from the cooling waters of the stream you cross.

The road back up

Rest at the point where you cross the stream, this is approximately half-way through the La Colle to Tourette walk.

A place to sit on the La Colle to Tourette walk

You’ll also find it refreshing to splash yourself in the cold water if it’s a warm day. Regather your energy because the path rises again.

The next stage features a steady rather than a dramatic climb to the edge of Tourette-sur-Loup.

The first sign of civilisation again on the La Colle to Tourette walk
The first sight of civilisation again

The red and white marker on the tree indicates that this path belongs to a Grand Randonée.

The outskirts of Tourette

The route joins one of the roads that skirts around Tourette. Developers are increasingly building on the periphery of the little village perché. Having climbed you now find yourself descending again.

You need to drop down to cross the Cassan stream. From here you can see your ultimate destination.

Up ahead is your destination on the La Colle to Tourette walk
Tourette high above

Despite having arrived on the edge of Tourette you now realise that there is still one big climb to go.

Use the map to see where you need to turn right.

It is a straight route from the turning to the centre of the village.

When you arrive at these stones go straight on. Follow the yellow markers and the sign behind the bushes.

Very quickly the path crosses over a road. The route of this road follows an old railway that used to run from Grasse to Vence and beyond.

Look down on an old railway route

Climb on and walk on a trail that is probably over 1000 years old.

Ancient steps on the route of the La Colle to Tourette walk
Ancient steps to the village

One can imagine that hundreds of generations have trodden this path returning to the village after labouring in the nearby countryside.

Tourette-sur-Loup

Just before entering the village proper you are presented with a wonderful view.

A great view from the edge of the village on the La Colle to Tourette walk
View from the edge of Tourette

Fro here you can see for miles down to the coast across millions of trees. There is a little seat here and it is worth resting and taking in this vast landscape.

Pass through the archway and turn left. I’m afraid you have still a little way to climb.

Inside the old village of Tourette-sur-loup

As you pass the ice-cream shop there is a nice but very small restaurant called Clovis which has one Michelin Star.

Proceed up and to the main square of this medieval village.

The main square in Tourette and the final point of the La Colle to Tourette walk
The main square in Tourette-sur loup

From here you can catch the 511 bus to Vence and the 400 from Vence back to La Colle-sur-Loup.

What next?

If you enjoyed the La Colle to Tourette walk then you can find more great walks at Find a walk The Riviera.

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