Want to know how out of shape you are? Hike up to Fort du Mont Alban. Your muscles will be screaming at you for days. Literally, mine were sore four days.
We ventured up to Mont Boron to experience the spectacular views & learn a little about French history. It was a pleasant 55 degrees F, and the hot French Riviera sun was somewhat tamed by the gentle sea breeze coming off the Mediterranean.
First up, one my favorite spots in Nice. Across from the Jardin Public Vigier (park) are steps leading down the cliffs where land meets sea. I could sit for hours watching the waves crash against the sun-baked rocks. Here, sun worshipers and swimmers (brrr!) soaked up the afternoon rays in bikinis and Speedo’s. Not used to seeing sunbathers in January, I was taken aback by the number of people who had shed their clothes in what I considered temperatures to cool for getting a tan.
What to See on Parc du Mont Boron:
We started our ascent up steep stone steps next to the Jardin. LuLu & I stopped every 20 steps or so to catch our breath. There is something about steps that make a climb more strenuous. I can’t even count how many times Monkey (10) exclaimed “this is so beautiful” as we climbed. After approximately 15 minutes we reached the top of the hill and spent time wandering aimlessly through the parks.
The children ran and explored, even finding a wild orchids as well as other interesting foliage.
There are 2 sides to Parc du Mont Boron. Mont Boron fortress is a bit of a let down. You can walk around the ruins of the outer wall, but it remains an overgrown jungle resembling a fort long forgotten. However, the fortress is not what makes the visit worthwhile. Stop and take in the spectacular 180 degree views.
We noticed more locals relaxing, reading or walking their dogs in this area than tourist milling about. The location is perfect to take in the beauty of France.
The main reason for our hike up Mont Boron was to see Fort du Mont Alban. It is a sight to behold standing high on the rocks, guarding the town below.
Walking up to the Fort on a Sunday afternoon you could hear children laughing and adults chatting away in rapid French. We reached the overlook and were greeted with a breathtaking view of Nice city and Villefranche bay.
Gaze around from this pristine vantage point and discover more spectacular views.
The massive Fort du Mont Alban was constructed between 1557 and 1560 with a picturesque raised drawbridge. It remains in astonishingly good condition. Most of the outer walls of the fort remain in tact including the colorful tiled watch tower. The inside of the fort is off limits, but the surroundings still have the feel of a hundred years ago.
The walk back the apartment was blissfully downhill although it didn’t do our knees any favors. We took a slightly different way down along a meandering path through the trees. Watch your step or you just might trip over a rock and topple down the side of the hill. Yes, I pictured that happening while we made our descent.
Bring water and consider packing a lunch. It’s an ideal spot of a picnic lunch.
Bus to Mt Boron:
You can walk or take the bus up to Mt Boron. We use an offline map, the Pocket Earth App during our travels. From the opposite side of the Port from Old Town, you’ll find many roads and staircases to guide you up the hillside to Mt Boron.
If you choose not walk up to Mt Boron, take bus 14 all the way to the top to see the views over the water. If you want to do the fort with views over Villefranche, get off at stop Chemin du Fort.
I’d suggest walking down to Villefrenche-Sur-Mer on the other side of the mountain. There is a parkour course on the way down if you’re looking for a workout. You can always take bus 100 or 81 back to Nice from Villefranche if you don’t want to walk back up the hillside.
Hiking to Fort du Mont Alban was a wonderful way to explore the terrain of Nice and get much needed exercise after enjoying all the exquisite Niçoise cuisine.
Have you seen the views from Fort du Mont Alban?