Isola 2000: Pas du Loup

The lake before Pas du Loup Isola2000

We wanted to explore another trail heading to Pas du Loup (2665m), a mountain pass at the Italian border above Isola2000. We have previously hiked from Isola2000 to Baisse de Druos, also at the Franco-Italian border.

The trail to Pas du Loup forks left from the main artery at signpost #93 near the Lakes of Terre Rouge. The trail up to a small lake is easy. After the lake the path is much narrower and truly alpine.

On a gorgeous August day, we parked at the end of a small street Front de Neige, with blue lamp posts (2080m). We started to ascend along a grassy ski run. The trail soon became much rockier, and we crossed a rock slide.

We continued ascending along the popular trail to Baisse de Druos until we turned left at signpost #93 and soon reached a small lake with no name on the map. The trail seemed to be off the beaten path. Only sporadic hikers ascended here.  Pas du Loup was well visible from the lake. We followed the zigzagging trail that mostly ran in a rocky terrain.

The pass comprised a narrow ridge with steep mountains both sides. The northern incline of the pass on the Italian side was partly snow-covered. Certainly not your everyday border crossing!

We descended back along the same trail.

Elevation gain: 630 m
Pas du Loup trail image

Duration: about 3h 45

Distance: 9 km

IGN map: 3640 ET Haute Tinée 2 Isola 2000


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Chicken legs with orange

Chicken legs with orange

The ingredients for this carefree chicken leg recipe reflect typical South of France flavours; olive oil, garlic, Provençal herbs, Piment d’Espelette, black olives, bell peppers, oranges.

2 servings

2 organic chicken legs
2 cloves garlic
3 red bell peppers
5 new potatoes
2 organic oranges
8 black olives
½ tsp. Piment d’Espelette, or another mild chili powder
1 tsp. dried Provençal herbs
Freshly ground black pepper
About 4 tbsp. olive oil
Parsley to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Place the chicken legs in a large oven-proof dish.

Wash and dry the oranges. Zest 1 orange into a small bowl. Then press the orange and add the juice to the bowl. Peel and mince the garlic cloves and add to the bowl. Add the black pepper, dried Provençal herbs, and Piment d’Espelette and mix. Pour the mixture over the chicken legs.

Wash and dry the potatoes and bell peppers. Cut the potatoes into thick slices and the bell peppers into large pieces, then add to the oven-proof dish around the chicken legs.

Slice the other orange thinly and scatter the slices on top of the chicken and vegetables. Drizzle the olive oil on top and bake for 1h.

Decorate with black olives and parsley.


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Saint-Jean-de-Luz: The coastal trail


The 25 km long coastal trail starts in Henday next to the Spanish border and ends in Bidart near Biarritz. Here we describe only a part of the trail north of Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

This is Basque Country in the Pyrénées Atlantiques department where the beautiful countryside meets the Atlantic Ocean. The views from the trail are magnificent: From the breaking swell waves to the undulating verdant landscape, and higher mountain tops further inland.

The trail is paved in urban areas, but along the coast some unpaved stretches of the path dive into natural zones. The trail is marked with yellow signs. Compared with most coastal walks in Côte d’Azur, this trail is much easier.

Our hotel was located only a few meters from the path. We first walked for an hour heading north. The late September weather was super. Surfing is a big thing here so we got to watch their efforts as well.

We turned back after an hour and headed back along the trail, and continued past our hotel towards St-Jean-de-Luz for lunch. Not surprisingly there were several small restaurants offering fresh local fish, seafood and Basque specialities. Virtually everyone had merlu de ligne, line-caught hake on the menu.

After lunch, we walked to the entrance of the harbour, took off our shoes and walked back along the beach.

The trail image (GPS track) shows our itinerary. The distance between end points is about 7 km.

Our St-Jean-de-Luz coastal walk track


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Warm sweet potato, rocket and goat's cheese salad

Warm sweet potato rocket and goat cheese salad

This colourful and anti-oxidant rich salad will bring back summer memories.

2 servings

1 sweet potato
1-2 red onions, depending on the size
2 tbsp. olive oil
About 120 g soft goat’s cheese
A handful of sliced almonds
2 handfuls of rocket leaves
2 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp. Piment d’ Espelette or other mild chilli powder

Preheat the oven to 190° C.

Oil an oven-proof dish with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Peel and slice the red onions and scatter in the bottom of the oven-proof dish. Peel and dice the sweet potato and scatter in the dish. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. olive oil over the vegetables and roast for about 30- 40 minutes until the sweet potato is soft.

Meanwhile make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. When the vegetables are soft, remove the dish from the oven and pour over the dressing. Toss well.

Divide the vegetables on the plates. Gently incorporate the rocket leaves and almond slices. Crumble over the goat’s cheese and serve warm with some good whole wheat bread. 


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