Hike from Cap Camarat to l'Escalet

Cap Camarat and Rocher des Portes

The coastal trail from Cap Camarat to l’Escalet and further to Gigaro Beach is far from the crowds, offers great views to the Mediterranean, and a feeling of being in the nature. The fragrance of the pines is mixed with sea air creating a magnificent sense of freshness.

We have previously described a hike from Gigaro Beach to Cap Lardier.

Today’s hike started from Cap Camarat lighthouse and ended in l’Escalet beach. We took the same trail back.

Proper hiking shoes are recommended. This is not an easy flat seaside stroll which you can do in sandals. Especially the last part before l’Escalet is sauvage as the trail is narrow and sometimes ingrown. It is marked with old faded yellow signs.

From the Cap Camarat lighthouse (elev. about 100 m) we started descending along the well-marked trail down to the tip of the peninsula and the small rocky island Rocher des Portes in front of it.

We forked right along the coastal trail. Markings were frequent, and there were numbered waypoints along the path as well. Following the coast and avoiding several private properties en route, the distance felt actually longer than just looking at the map. There were numerous short ascents and descents as well, some of them rather steep.

Even in mid-September the day was very warm and humid, and the small beaches along the trail were tempting. We reached l’Escalet in about 2h 20 where the beach life was still in full swing.

Walking time: 4h 40
Cap Camarat Escalet trail image

Distance: about 12 km

Elevation gain: 170 m


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Sea bass à la Menton

Sea bass a  la Menton

We once had a super plat du jour, dish of the day, in Menton on a warm and sunny October day. We had first explored Menton, a French Riviera resort with Italian flavour, and then chose a little restaurant outside the market hall for its promising lunch menu: loup de mer, seabass, with grilled vegetables.

The dish was beautifully presented: the fish fillets were placed on top of the grilled vegetables skin side up. A generous dollop of remoulade was placed on fish and it was simply served with good bread.

The following recipe is my twist of the lunch in Menton. Feel free to choose any fresh fish fillets with skin, I have used trout fillets in this recipe.

2 servings

2 fresh fish fillets such as seabass or trout, with skin
1 tsp. flour
2 large slices of aubergine, about 2 cm thick
1 red or orange bell pepper, sliced
2 small Italian courgettes, sliced
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried Provençal herbs
4- 5 tbsp. olive oil

For the quick and easy remoulade sauce:
2 tbsp. good quality mayonnaise, pref. organic
1 heaped tsp. capers, minced
2 small cornichons, baby gherkins, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. minced parsley

Start by making the remoulade. Mince the capers, gherkins, and parsley. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients. Keep in the fridge until needed.

In a grill pan, fry the aubergine slices in olive oil on both sides until soft. In another pan, fry the bell pepper and courgette slices with the shallot, garlic, and herbs in olive oil.

Spread the flour in a large plate and lightly coat the fish fillets. Heat 2- 3 tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over medium- high heat. Fry the fish fillets about 4 minutes on both sides, depending on the thickness.

Divide the vegetables on the plates, starting with aubergine. Place the fish fillets on the vegetables and top with the remoulade. Serve with some good whole wheat bread.


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Les Orres: Hike to Lake Ste Marguerite

Lac Ste Marguerite 2227m Les Orres

Les Orres ski resort in the southern French Alps near Embrun comprises in fact three resorts at different elevations. We had planned to make a hike from the highest village Les Orres 1800 to the Ste Marguerite Lake (2227 m). Luckily, we visited the resort and its tourist office the day before because on the day of our hike all the ski runs and hiking trails were closed because of an international junior mountain biking event.

The only trail available for hikers started from the Pra Païsset parking (1650 m). It went past a point called “Sources de Jérusalem”.

This turned out to be a lucky choice. The trail was very beautiful and far from the ski lifts. The first part of the trail was a wide piste and did not feel crowded at all. Higher up, above the tree line, the trail became narrower but you could walk almost anywhere along the alpine meadows.

From a small shop in the resort we bought a baguette, local cheese, ham, and tomatoes. We then drove to the vast parking a bit below the resort. The weather was perfect; warm with blue skies.

We ascended in a magnificent larch forest for about one hour before reaching the alpine meadows. Once above the tree line, the ascent became less steep, and it was a pleasure walking on the soft ground.

We reached the lake about 2 h after start. Climbing a bit above the lake, we found a good spot for picnic.

We returned along the same trail.

Hiking time: 3h 30

Lac Ste Marguerite hike trail image

Climb: 580 m

Distance: 10 km

IGN Map: 3438 ET Embrun Les Orres


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Courgette panna cotta with fresh tomato sauce

Courgette pannacotta with fresh tomato sauce

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert which is nowadays very popular in France. In France, they also serve a non-sweet panna cotta made from vegetables as a first course.

We recently had a super courgette panna cotta with fresh tomatoes and broad beans in our hotel restaurant near Embrun in the southern French Alps. There the panna cotta was properly moulded before decorated with tomatoes and broad beans.

I made my simple twist of this recipe by serving the anna cotta in glass bowls and topping it with fresh tomato sauce. I also made the recipe lighter by replacing the traditional heavy cream with light cream 12% fat. Make this starter when the tomatoes and basil are at their best.

4 servings

1 medium size courgette
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
200 ml light cream 12% fat
2 gelatine leaves
2 tbsp. minced basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

For the fresh tomato sauce:

3 tasty and ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of salt
Basil leaves

In a small frying pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Wash and dry the courgette; Cut into small chunks and add to the pan. Peel the garlic clove, press and add to the pan Add black pepper and sauté for about 10 minutes. Then purée and set aside to cool.

Soak the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes until soft. Meanwhile warm the cream gently in a small casserole until hot but not bubbling. Remove the gelatine leaves from the water, squeeze out any excess water ad add to the hot cream. Stir until dissolved. Add the courgette purée and mix well.

Divide the mixture into 4 small glass bowls, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours until completely set.

Make the fresh tomato sauce just before serving.  Wash and dry the tomatoes. Cut into very small pieces and place in a sieve for a while o get rid of some of the excess liquid from the tomatoes. Then place into a bowl and stir with olive oil, black pepper, salt and minced basil leaves. Divide the tomato sauce on top of the panna cotta and serve.


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Alpe d'Huez: The Lakes Trail

Lac Besson Alpe d'Huez

The following hike offers a great alpine atmosphere with little effort and negligible elevation gain. A paved road (Route des Lacs) continues north of Alpe d’Huez as far as to the parking of Lac Besson. Needless to say, on a clear summer day the parking was packed!

It is possible to hike all the way from Alpe d’Huez using the GR549 trail that runs parallel to the road or, as we did, to park a bit lower by the road as there are several good spots.

From our starting point, we reached the main parking in about 15 minutes. We continued to Lac Besson. Numerous parallel trails run on both sides of the lakes. We left La Noir on our left-hand side, and in fact one of the side trails circled along its western shore.

We continued straight north along undulating paths, came to Lac Faucille and finally descended a little to Lac Carrelet, with the l’Alpille gondola station above its northern shore. We ascended past the gondola and found a peaceful picnic spot before returning, now choosing somewhat different trails.

In spite of the proximity of ski lifts and gondolas, the lakes and their surroundings have preserved their natural beauty.

Distance hiked : 10 km

Elevation gain : 230 m
The lakes trail Alpe d'Huez

Minimum elevation: 2016 m
Maximum elevation: 2096 m

Duration: about 3 h

IGN Map: 3335 ET le Bourg d’Oisans l’Alpe d’Huez

Lake trail elevation profile


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