Happiness is when you first set out on a path and start walking; to rediscover man’s natural pace; to be in touch with the soil and feel the earth beneath your feet, the slope, and the fresh air in your lungs. It is to breathe deeply, approach and observe. So what can you see? Man came early to this region, and remains testifying to the fact are sometimes hard to find: Fort-Freinet (La Garde-Freinet), Briande Bay’s Dolmen (Ramatuelle), Gallo-Roman fishponds (Sainte-Maxime), the old Pardigon Villa (La Croix Valmer) – there are more.
The 50 marked trails maintained by the municipalities will never cease to surprise you. There is nothing to prevent you pausing by the wayside to peer into a living world among the grasses, around tree trunks and water courses. In the forest, the music is everywhere – just close your eyes and listen. Depending on the season keep your ears open for birdsong, animal noises, and the sound of trees and plants rustling in the wind.
To discover the hidden treasures of the Massif des Maures and this rugged coastline, you can sign up for a tour with a naturalist guide. Every year around 200 are offered for a symbolic fee, such as discovering the protected Cap Lardier, 350 hectares of outstanding nature: or the secrets of driftwood and the life of sand, or the maquis path and coastal plant life.
Unless you prefer creating your own portrait of a bird in a forest, imagine a large canvas stretched between two trees in a corner of nature. Before seizing your brushes, pens and colours, take time to look around you and be inspired - then take up your sketchbook.
After the winter rains, the colours change. Countless little streams appear, along with a wide variety of flora and fauna. Edible or medicinal plants, a fascinating world of small mammals, and life-giving pools and rivulets on the Maures plain, our territory is an endless source of inspiration for the guides who accompany you. Unless you follow them to see how they strip the trees in the cork capital or go on one of their nocturnal excursions to see the April Moon, the tawny nights will elude you.
Over 300 million years ago, the Hercynian mountain-building movement as it formed led to the transformation of pre-existing rocks, trapping veins of minerals in the process. Over the millennia, these mountains were eroded down into the Massif des Maures as we see them today. Minerals were released and we can find them in the river beds and streams. If you know what you are doing, you may even stumble across some gold - a geological, biological and ecological meeting in our environment to seek the most precious element of all.