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Happy Hiker explores The Paillon Valley – Luceram

The Grand Braus Circuit vii

The Grand Braus Circuit

by Judy Churchill

This time I’m taking you to the secret Paillon Valley. Secret because so few people know of this peaceful, local beauty spot and our hike begins in one of my favourite villages – Luceram.

The Grand Braus C iii

Luceram is a typical Nice hinterland village with quaint stone houses surrounded by magnificent forest in the middle of the Paillon de L’Escarène Gorges. A tour of this picturesque, medieval village and the beautiful art work adorning its church and chapels is a must either before or after your hike.

the Grand braus circuit iv

The village of Luceram is located 28 km from Nice centre. If coming from Monaco, set your GPS and leave the A8 motorway to take the D.2204 along the Paillon valley until you reach Pointe-de-Contes. Take a right turn to reach the col de Nice and then the village of l’Escarène. Turn left shortly after the bridge and follow the D.2566 to Luceram.

The hike starts from the centre of the village at way marker 171 (650m). Take the rue de l’église and go down to cross the Paillon (604m) via the GR510. You then start going uphill and you will climb a total of 740m so this is a fairly demanding walk. It should take you about 4 hours in total to complete the circuit and the views are nothing short of spectacular. A mixture of plateau, ridges and forest will give you a 360° bird’s eye view over this amazing valley. I guarantee you will fall in love with Luceram.


The Grand braus circuit x

The best time of year for doing this particular walk is March to November as Luceram can have snowfall in the winter. As always check the weather conditions before setting off. I once thought I’d be clever and did this circuit one year on 30th November ignoring the weather warnings. Needless to say, I got caught in a snow storm and completed the circuit in 3 hours rather than 4, racing to get back with the trail disappearing before my eyes – not to be recommended!

the grand braus circuit viii

You will certainly want to take hiking sticks with this gradient as they will help you on the ascents and also guarantee you get a full body work out. You’ll need a cap and sunglasses to keep the sun off your face (the sun is a lot stronger in the mountains so don’t forget the sunscreen) and several layers of clothing that you can shed or put on as your temperature changes. Remember to take more water than you think you’ll need (at least a litre and a half per person) and protein bars for during and after the hike. I always have a high fibre, high protein breakfast before I set off which means that I don’t need to carry a large picnic with me as good protein bars are sufficient (always take a couple of extra ones). Purpose-made hiking gear, boots and a rucksack are a must and you will need lighter wear for the Spring/Summer season and heavier/warmer for the Autumn/Winter period. Last but not least you will need the TOP 25 n° 3741 ET map called “Vallée de la Bévéra et des Paillons”, and follow way markers 171, 172,173,174, 179,53,180,183 and 184. If you are a French speaker you can find the hike on this link:
Enjoy your hike and don’t forget your camera!




About the author

Judy Churchill

Judy Churchill

Judy Churchill is a British national, resident in Monaco. She a speaker of 6 languages, was educated both in Britain and Europe and holds an honours degree in modern languages (French and Spanish – University of Hull), teaching and training qualifications, is a certified translator/interpreter (Monaco law courts), winner of the 2007 JPC Citywealth award and a UK (skillfair) five star rated consultant.

Over the past 35 years Judy has set up and run her own Language and Training consultancies in three European countries, has worked with, coached and advised royalty, VIPs, HNWs, ministers of state, film, sports and TV personalities, and private individuals across the globe.

Judy has been interviewed and featured in training videos, radio, TV and Internet broadcasts. .

She has spent much of the past 20 years designing, developing and running communications and team building courses around the world for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries amongst others.
Much of Judy’s work today involves helping people to achieve their short and long-term personal or professional goals through life coaching as well as teaching French, English and Spanish.

Judy is a regular conference and motivational speaker, has written numerous articles, published both on and off line, and has published an e-book on How to Cope with Exam Stress, an on-line training tool on Emotional Intelligence and is a co-author of the MBA Women’s Guide to Success https. Her work is quoted on the University of Cambridge ESOL examiners’ reading list.

Judy’s hobbies include many outdoor pursuits, theatre and reading. She is an accomplished athlete, having competed for many years in track and field both in the UK and Monaco at a national and international level.

Judy is General Secretary of Outward Bound Monaco a charity she helped set up in Monaco and in whose programmes and events she plays an on-going active role.

In 2011 Judy set up the group New Women Networking on the Riviera to coach, support and mentor women in and around Monaco.

Email:[email protected]

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