France // The Côte d’Azur //

The Massif des Maures

Between Hyères and Fréjus the coast’s bewitching hinterland is the wooded, hilly Massif des Maures. The highest point of these hills stops short of 800m, but the quick succession of ridges, the sudden drops and views, and the curling, looping roads, are pervasively mountainous. In spring, the sombre forest is enlivened by millions of wild flowers and the roads are busy with cyclists; in winter, this is the haunt of hunters. Amid the brush crawl the last of the Hermann’s tortoises, once found along the entire northern Mediterranean coast.