It is one of those countries which do not require long hours of travel, no jetlag or endless health constraints, and which nevertheless hold the promise of a change of scenery and oh so rejuvenating … , it is located here, within our beautiful Hexagon, perhaps even very close to your home, without you having ever had the opportunity or the curiosity to discover it. This territory? The Pays de Fayence , a land of nature nestled in the Var hinterland, between Draguignan and Grasse. A few dozen kilometers from the Mediterranean, which we also like to contemplate from the heights of the nine villages that make it up, this little corner of Provence stands out as an obvious playground for lovers of hiking,
Nine villages perched between sea, lakes and hills
The environment, in itself, promises a holiday under the sign of outdoor sports! To the south, the Mediterranean Sea and the Estérel massif offer you an azure sea and sumptuous red rocks as a backdrop; nautical activities, climbing and gliding could be the occasion of a beautiful escape of a day. To the north, Mont Lachens , “roof of the Var” culminating at an altitude of 1,714 meters, is located in the town of Mons, one of the nine in the Pays de Fayence. From its summit, the panorama over the Sainte-Baume and Mercantour massifs, or even Corsica on a clear day, is a pure delight! The opportunities for hiking and cycling are already promising …
And it is between sea and hills, in the immediate vicinity of the A8 motorway leading to the coveted seaside resorts of Cannes and Nice, that the lake of Saint-Cassien awaits you in complete peace.. Spread over 5 km long between the towns of Montauroux, Tanneron and Callian, it is a good time to cool off in a calm and unspoiled setting, away from the tourist hordes of the seaside beaches. The basics water sports installed on its shores are moreover entirely reserved for non-motorized leisure activities. As for the five other villages – Fayence, Tourrettes, Seillans, Saint-Paul-en-Forêt and Bagnols-en-Forêt – they will each unveil very unique charms to visitors who will come to survey them. An open-air museum, another among the “most beautiful villages in France”, yet another giving pride of place to glassmaking craftsmanship; in short, how many “heritage” opportunities to punctuate your sports excursions!
Among the major assets of the Pays de Fayence: its countless hiking trails! Walkers of all levels will indeed be spoiled for choice among the fourteen PR® (Walks and Hikes) itineraries in its territory, three of which are moreover adapted to the practice of Nordic walking. On the program: a discovery in the footsteps of the diversity of the local heritage between chapels, dolmens, castles and picturesque villages, and a dive into the Provençal flora where mimosas, pines, cork oaks and olive trees reign supreme.
No less than twenty-seven very accessible walking routes complete this already well-rounded offer, and will lead the less athletic along a waterway, in the forest or in the heart of the countryside. Finally, the territory is crossed by the GR® de Pays “Perched Villages of Haute-Siagne” route, with a 50 km loop in three to five stages starting from Seillans .
Fabulous land for cycling
If walkers have found their paradise, cyclists can rest assured: they are not left out! Indeed, the famous route of Euro Vélo 8, a cycle path that will eventually link eleven European countries from Spain to Greece, then Cyprus, passes through the Pays de Fayence! Thus, of the 5,888 km that will be recorded on the final route, the territory can already be proud of welcoming 26. Taking the old Meyrargues-Grasse railway line, it offers cyclists a discovery of the villages of Seillans , Fayence, Tourrettes, Callian and finally Montauroux. As for the lake of Saint-Cassien, it is also a beautiful invitation to pedal; between pretty points of view, opportunities for swimming and other nautical activities, remember to bring your swimsuit to take advantage of all its assets! The icing on the cake, as a number of accommodation facilities in the region have the Accueil Vélo label, it is easy to consider an itinerant stay in Pays de Fayence. And if you are neither hiking nor cycling, you will always have the choice between horseback riding, canyoning, rowing, paragliding, and even golf!
When? All year round, although hiking and cycling are optimal in spring and autumn. In summer, due to heat, these activities are not ideal. Never mind ! We will take the opportunity to tour the artists’ studios and music festivals in the nine villages of the Pays de Fayence.
Getting There. Direction the Var hinterland, between Draguignan and Grasse. By plane, Nice, Toulon or Marseille airports. By train, Saint-Raphaël Valescure station.