Loop in the Anelle Forest


Hiking in Anelle Forest

The following loop hike which circles Cime d’Anelle (1841 m) northwest of Saint-Etienne de Tinée (1160 m) runs partly in ancient pasture and agricultural land, partly in a verdant spruce, pine and larch forest.

The French name of the Anelle ForestBois d'Anelle,  is derived from the provençal word agnel meaning agneau, lamb.

We parked next to the Pinatelle Telecabin, crossed the river and walked past a school named Jean Franco to signpost #78 and started to ascend along the GR5 trail, crossing a road several times. The area on the sunny southern slope called Ublan comprised several old farmhouses, some apparently being renovated. 

We continued to signpost #80 and 81 where we left the GR 5, forked right (Tour de Bois d’Anelle), followed a dirt track then a good path which soon dove into the forest. The day was hot for mid-September, and it was nice to continue in the cool Bois d’Anelle where the trail undulated in the shade.

We followed the yellow-marked PR trail as far as to Col d’Anelle (1739 m) where we re-joined the GR 5 (signpost #71). We forked left and followed a wide track, climbing a bit. After about 1 km, we left the dirt track, and descended in open terrain with old fields, barns and some houses on both sides. We came back to signpost #81, completing the loop, then to #80, and descended fairly rapidly back to the village.

Distance: 10,7 km   

Duration: 4 h

Climb: 680 m

Map : « Haute Tinée I » 3639 OT

Bois d'Anelle loop hike track
Bois d'Anelle loop hike track

Location of St-Etienne-de-Tinée
Location of St-Etienne-de-Tinée


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Salade Niçoise revisited


Salade nicoise revisited

The following salade niçoise recipe is not authentic. It is inspired by a lunch in the restaurant of Galeries Lafayette Nice some time ago.

The centrepiece of this salad is fresh tuna cooked like a steak. The tuna steak was mi-cuit, pink in the middle. For this kind of cooking, tuna needs to be fresh; pink- reddish, clear in colour. Tuna which is dark red, brownish is old.

2 servings

2 handfuls of baby salad leaves, mesclun

1 green paprika

2 eggs

A handful of cherry tomatoes

A handful of cooked green beans

2 tbsp. pitted black olives

2 spring onions or minced chives

1 sliced avocado, optional

8 anchovy fillets, optional

A few wedges of Italian artichokes from a jar

About 200- 250 g tuna steak

2 tbsp. olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Basil leaves to decorate, optional

For the dressing:

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Boil the eggs for 6- 7 minutes until the egg white is set but the yolk still soft and a bit runny. Place in cold water for a while, then peel and set aside.

Divide the salad leaves on two large plates. Wash and chop the green paprika and divide on the plates. Scatter with cherry tomatoes, artichoke wedges, black olives and avocado slices. Place the eggs on the plates and halve them. If using anchovy fillets, divide them on the plates. Finely slice the spring onions or chives and sprinkle on the plates.

Warm 2 tbsp. olive oil in a steel pan over medium heat. Cook the tuna steak about 2-2,5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Be careful not to overcook- pink or even a little red in the middle is tasty whereas thoroughly cooked tuna is dry. 

When the tuna steak is cooked, halve it and place on the plates. Whisk together oil and vinegar and pour the dressing over the salad. Decorate with basil leaves.

Serve the salad with some good whole wheat bread for a balanced lunch.


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Exploring Col de Vence

Viewing point near Col de Vence

We planned a leisurely walk near Nice as the city was preparing itself for a weekend lockdown due to the pandemic. The main reason for preferring a moderate exercise was, however, the deteriorating air quality in the region. Authorities even recommended prudence regarding outdoor activities. Desert dust from Sahara had reached vast areas in eastern France.

Parking at Plan des Noves (at 780 m elev. and a 10 min drive from Vence along M2) is a popular starting point for walks. We wanted to explore trails near Col de Vence (962 m). Studying the map, we found several trails and tracks some of which were neither signposted nor marked officially as hiking trails.

From the parking, we crossed the M2 road to signpost #135, and followed the GR51 trail southwest to signpost#136 where we forked right and ascended to Col de Vence, crossing the road a few times.

Just before the Col, we followed the M2 a few hundred meters. At the Col, we forked right and headed north along a wide trail which was used by riders. The trail was easy to follow in the mostly open terrain. At about 1000 m elev. there was still a lot of haze, reducing the visibility on this otherwise clear winter day.

We walked till the end of the of the trail, where an unnamed viewing point was marked on the map. There were parallel trails leading to the same turning point. We were high above the Cagnes River Valley. We had the Cheiron mountains to the left and Mouton d’Anou to the right, and the snow-capped Mercantour peaks further away.

We used the same trail back to the starting point.

This trail was much less frequented than the one leading to Plan des Noves. The only disadvantage was that you had to cross the M2 road a few times, minding both cars and cyclists.

Distance: 8,2 km

Climb: 270 m

Duration: 2h 40

Map: Vallée de l’Estéron Vallee du Loup 3642 ET

Col de Vence walk track


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Pasta with goat cheese, spinach, artichokes and capers


Pasta with goat cheese, spinach, artichokes and capers

This simple but tasty pasta dish needs only minimal cooking and preparation. The secret lies in quality ingredients; the best Italian conserved artichokes and capers and tasty French goat cheese, chèvre. It is preferable to use fresh baby spinach leaves in this recipe but they can be substituted with some frozen spinach leaves.

2 servings

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp. olive oil

½ jar of grilled Italian artichokes

8 large Italian capers

About 100 g French goat cheese

A handful of baby spinach or some frozen spinach leaves

1 tsp. dried Provençal herbs

Freshly ground black pepper

Pasta, fusilli, penne or some other shapes, for 2 servings

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and gently sauté the shallot and garlic with Provençal herbs. Add the baby spinach and continue sautéing for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted.

Place the artichoke on kitchen paper to remove some of the oil and vinegar in which they are conserved.

Chop the goat cheese and place in a large bowl. Add the artichoke and black pepper and mix.

Meanwhile cook the pasta, drain it and add to the skillet. Stir to coat the pasta with the olive oil in the skillet, then add to the bowl. Mix and divide into two bowls. Decorate each bowl with four large capers.


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