Forest walk from Moulinet

The village of Moulinet (800 m) is situated between Col de Turini and Sospel by the Bévéra River.

In the 1880s, the affluent new Côte d’Azur residents didn’t tolerate well the hot summers and searched for cooler places not far from the coast. After the road between Sospel and Moulinet was built in 1883, Moulinet became a fashionable summer resort. It was even compared to Switzerland, and its popularity blossomed after the road to Col de Turini was completed in 1928.

Today’s Moulinet is very tranquil but charming. It makes a nice stop for a coffee or sandwich sitting beneath the plane trees outside the café in the centre of the village.
We got the inspiration for this hike from the loop trail called Baisse de Peïra Cava described in the randoxygène guide.

However, it felt natural to us to make the loop clockwise, and to include the ascent (only about 70 m extra climbing) to Cime de Peïra Cava (1581m) in our itinerary. We were awarded with a super panorama!

We started ascending from signpost #1 from the village square along a shaded narrow street marked by red and white GR signs. We followed the GR signs only about 100 m passing Epicerie du Mercantour, then ascended to Place St-Roch. NB! Don’t turn left along the GR52A descending towards Sospel but continue straight taking stairs to the Place St-Roch with the communal washing place.

At the other end of the square we found signpost #10 to Baisse de Peïra Cava. The signpost was not easy to spot, we had to ask for directions. From here, we walked in the valley of Peïra Cava passing signposts # 9,8 and 7. At signpost #7, we continued straight (forking left would have taken us to Baisse de Beccas) for about 20 minutes. The main trail then turned left towards Peïra Cava (an unofficial signpost!) and we started to ascend steeply in a pine and beech woods. What a magic path this was!

We reached Beccas (1340 m) by a wide forest road after about 30 min. We continued ascending gently along this road further enjoying the magnificent forest. This was Forest Therapy at its best! After a while we reached Baisse de Peïra Cava (1508 m, signpost #179). From here, we took a trail straight south and ascended to Cime de Peïra Cava. The panoramic views to south and the coast as well as west were exceptional. The tree line reached the northern flank of the little summit, preventing the views to north and east.

After a break and picnic at Cime de Peïra Cava we returned to Baisse de Peïra Cava, and from signpost #179 we continued north towards Col de Turini to signpost 180. From there we continued northeast in a super fir forest still towards Col de Turini and Baisse de Pourcel as far as signpost #34.  At signpost #34 (1600m) we reached the GR52A trail, and started the long descent along it back to Moulinet. Most of the trail was really pleasant and wide. The markings were better than 5 years ago when we had descended along it from Col de Turini to Sospel, thanks partly to the mountain bikers!

Total climb: 870 m

Duration: 5h 15- 5h 30

Map: IGN 3741 ET Vallées de la Bévéra et des Paillons


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