Loop trail above Grasse

Chêne de l'Empereur parking near Grasse

The road north from Grasse is the famous Route Napoleon (RD 6085). The road was built in the 1930s to commemorate the emperor’s itinerary in March 1815 after his escape from Elba.

Today’s hike starts from the parking (about 550 m elev.) called Chêne de l’Empereur, the emperor’s oak, by the RD 6085. It is a hike along good paths offering panoramic views from its highest point down to Grasse, Pre du Lac, and the coast. The hike is described in the French Randoxygène guide. In autumn, the Marbrière forest is popular among hunters, and hikers are advised to stay on the trails.

From the parking we crossed the rather busy RD 6085 road and found the first signpost showing   Tour de la Marbrière in front of the tennis courts. It is recommended to do the hike clockwise. The first part is also a part of the GR4 trail. The trail ascended gently in the woods, eventually merging with a wider forest track. We crossed the River Riocoucourge along a stone bridge and soon came to an intersection with a signpost. We forked right (east) leaving the GR4 and followed another dirt track (yellow markings).

 We soon reached a plateau (895 m) and headed southeast leaving the dirt track. We continued a bit along a good path, then enjoyed our picnic in sunny albeit hazy April weather. We then descended rapidly to a wide forest track that also happened to be the GR51 trail. We followed it back to our starting point.

The French guide describes the hike as moyen, moderate, but the trail is quite easy, and the navigation did not pose any problems. The guide book’s duration is 3h 30 but we made it in 2h 30 at a moderate pace.  It should be noted that there’s a network of trails in the mountains above Grasse making longer and custom-made tours possible.

Duration: 2 h 30

Elevation gain: 340 m (Own GPS data)

Distance: About 6 km

Map: TOP 25 No 3643 ET “Cannes-Grasse”


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