Vacation by the sea
Sea fishing, diving along the coast, wandering by foot or bike up the rugged mountain paths of the Esterel, discovering the joys of pétanque… The coast offers a plethora of activities to please all tastes, along with experts and specialists who will be delighted to help you explore them. Quite unlike the faceless offerings of mass tourism, these men and women promise to give you a personalised introduction to a coastal region full of history and adventures.
Learn pétanque with Christian
Christian Mentozzi, the president of the Union Bouliste d’Agay, teaches pétanque in an unmistakably Provencal accent. They called him Le Blond in his heyday, he’s lost none of his dexterity since then, and there’s nothing he loves more than generously sharing his passion with others. At his sessions in the gardens of Les Roches Rouges, he instructs guests in the rudiments of the game or helps them to hone their skills, and then holds tournaments pitting them against local players. Ask him what quality is most important to a good bouliste, and he’ll tell you: “calm”. Once you’ve acquired that, the sky’s the limit.
Alain Grau: the undersea experience
The Centre International de Plongée du Dramont offers novice and experienced divers a chance to discover a unique and carefully protected hidden underwater world. You can go and see our preferred diving partner Alain Grau in the port of Poussaï, or he’ll pick you up from the hotel. His two training centres and five boats will take you exploring any of ten different sites. Alain is most at home beneath the waves, rubbing shoulders with grouper, barracuda and lobsters, uncompromisingly committed to safety and quality of service but with a boundless passion for the amazing experience that is Mediterranean diving.
If shallower water is more your thing, he also offers thirty- to forty-minute guided snorkelling tours with mask, fins and snorkel included.
Alessandra and Jean-Christophe: Yoga for all
Alessandra and Jean-Christophe hold hatha yoga sessions for guests of all levels of experience, even beginners, hidden away among the pines in the garden of Les Roches Rouges. Yoga is their family business, and they trained together. They also run courses and seminars in Agay, between the sea and the mountains, and in their farmhouse in the Gorges du Verdon. Each session, including the choice of poses, is carefully adapted to participants’ needs and abilities.
Yoann Cenni: biking with a difference
You don’t need to be a Tour de France contender to explore the Estérel massif on two wheels. Yoann Cenni’s motorised mountain bikes spirit you away from the summer heat to a realm of fresh air and cool shade, well off the beaten track and definitely not accessible by vehicle. He’ll take you along ancient paths, past canyons, rocky peaks and waterfalls, and show you views of the Iles de Lérins, Cannes, and the southern Alps. The emphasis is always on enjoying the ride, not proving your physical prowess.
Joseph di Caro: Slow walking
Ever since ecotourism made its debut thirty years ago, Joseph has organised walking and minibus tours of the Estérel national forest’s 400 kilometres of tracks. He picnicked there with his parents when he was a child, and now he’s the Office National des Forêts’ only official guide, sharing the mountain’s secrets all year round. He’ll take you bathing in the lakes, tell you about the flora and fauna, and sit under a mimosa or cork oak recounting tales of green vegetation, blue sea, and red rocks.
Olivier Bardoux, heritage fisherman
Having noticed how his colleagues were being affected by the dwindling of coastal fish stocks, Olivier Bardoux decided to diversify his activities by sharing his passion for fishing with the public. Five years ago he was among the first to set himself up in pescatourism activities. Tourists accompany him out to sea as he lays and lifts his nets, talking with him about his work and enjoying the view of the coast. Olivier has room for up to four people in his catamaran, the “Léalisa”. He is proud to introduce them to a regional identity that is slowly disappearing, and a style of tourism that remains little known in France.