Ascent to Puy de Tourrettes -snow above Côte d'Azur

The summit plateau of Puy de Tourrettes

The hike starts from the small village of Courmes  (630 m) above the Loup River Valley. It is a quiet village
The village of Courmes and the Loup River Valley
surrounded by oak trees and terraced pastures. 

We did this hike on a gorgeous day in late February. After recent snowfall in higher terrain, the northern slope and the summit of  Puy de Tourrettes (1268 m) were still covered with snow. The summit is just about 14 km from the Mediterranean Sea at Cagnes-sur-Mer as the crow flies. There was more snow than we had expected as the mountain seen from the coast seemed to be almost bare. The layer was nevertheless very hard after previous night’s frost making the ascent easy without any need of snow shoes. You could walk almost anywhere!

Villages of Cipieres and Greolieres seen from the trail

Park your car at the entrance of the village at the visitors’ parking. The first signpost number 88 to St-Barnabé is right behind the parking. St-Barnabé (968 m) is a tiny hamlet on a vast plateau west of Col de Vence. The first part of the hike follows the GR 51 trail as far as signpost 83. There leave the
red and white GR trail temporarily and follow the trail left (yellow marks) zigzagging uphill and eventually joining the GR 51 trail again. Head north along this trail for a while. At signpost 85, leave the GR and turn south ascending towards the mountaintop. From this intersection, you have about 300 m vertical climb left. Note that the trail is now marked with cairns, heaps of stone, and sporadic faded yellow marks. However the path is clearly visible as it is used quite a lot.
Turning right at signpost 85 towards the summit
Ascending to Puy de Tourrettes
Nice seen from Puy de Tourrettes

The summit of Puy de Tourrettes offers –not surprisingly- a super panorama. The geographic summit is not distinct at all as the mountaintop actually comprises a large plateau. The summit is marked with a big heap of stones.

The geographic summit of Puy de Tourrettes

The usually helpful Randoxygène guide had this hike in the old version, but it has now been replaced by a hike to Pic de Courmettes, the neighboring mountaintop.  The same applies to the online guide.

Duration 3 h 45

Ascent    650 m  Map: IGN Cannes Grasse Côte d'Azur 3643 ET 


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