I’ve been back and forthing with a very interesting fellow traveller recently, Carlo Roberts. She runs The Blue Walk, offering one-week guided walking tours along the French Riviera. Her walks extend along the Blue Mediterranean coast from the Italian border on the east to just beyond Cannes on the west. No hiking boots or packs required, they’re designed to bring you to the Cote d’Azur’s best-loved spots – from Antibes to Italy, Menton to Monte Carlo - around lunchtime, and give you the Riviera as your playground each afternoon.
The genesis of the idea is intriguing. Carlo was living on the French Riviera and wanted to explore more of its coastline. Great. But most people wouldn’t decide to spend two weeks walking 200 miles to Italy, following the Mediterranean through all its towns. Carlo’s secular camino was undeniably cool, but The Blue Walk is her far more accessible version of her epic journey, cherry-picking the best six half-day walks and blending them into a one-week holiday.
I’m intrigued by this concept not least because it sounds like it might work extremely well with older children. It’s hotel-based in Nice for a week, for starters. Anyone with kids would normally rule out a week long trip that involved accommodation-hopping because it’s just not worth the hassle.
Even though I can see that The Blue Walk would appeal to pretty much any age range, I am applying it to my own frequent experiences as either a lone female traveller or travelling with kids, and it ticks many boxes for both.
What’s more, much as I love shoving history down my children’s throats, the focus of the walks is nature rather than culture or sites of historical interest. Carlo has been careful to ensure that the walks are feasible across most fitness levels, including “basic”, and they are a sensible blend of seaside walking trails and urban strolls. There’s even a lazy escape route: The Blue Walk follows the Mediterranean coastline, as does the train. For those who prefer a shorter walk, there are several stations along the way and a one-week rail pass is included. Those preferring more of a challenge have the opportunity to extend their walks with further itineraries and maps for self-guided explorations.
The sights of the coastline and cities of the Riviera are intensely evocative and romantic, and this is the opportunity to take in more than you ever normally would in a structured, healthy and memorable way.