Jogging, running, trails… Where to run in Nice Côte d’Azur?

7 February 2023

Some advice for runners… To have all the leisure to tread the ground of Nice Côte d’Azur!

Whether you are walking or running, you will have fun here in all seasons. You will discover extraordinary landscapes and breathtaking panoramas along picturesque paths.

Whether you are a jogger or an experienced runner, a runner or a fast walker, the Nice Côte d’Azur region offers you an ideal terrain to keep in shape with ease!

Put on your trainers, take a deep breath! Then open your eyes to the changing and beautiful colours of the trail ahead of you!

You don’t need to go to a gym to find a healthy lifestyle. The decor alone becomes your coach, if you know how to follow it.

The seaside as a training ground: run at any time of the day, in any season, in a stunning setting!

The Promenade des Anglais, an obvious choice…

The standard image of the region is of course the Promenade des Anglais, and it is also a must for jogging enthusiasts.

It is a generous and colourful 8 km running track. It brings together all athletes in search of oxygen and Mediterranean sea spray. It is a real postcard with exceptional sunsets in shades of orange-red or violet-blue, depending on the season. In summer, you can run around in the cool of the day, at dawn or late at night. In winter, it’s all day long, as temperatures vary from 6 to 15°.

@OTM NCA / David Sauval

Taking a little height in Nice to run

Go from sea blue to green on your way to Mont Boron. The wooded paths combine freshness and nature with one of the most extraordinary views of the coast.

Do you just want to keep up with the pace, in a very efficient way? Then head for the Gairaut canal. A fitness trail is available for all fitness enthusiasts. It’s hard to miss. Summer or winter, it remains an ideal place to go running in an enchanting setting, symbolised by the belvedere overlooking the Baie des Anges.

Of course, Nice is not the only place with wonderful trails to train on. Another very popular place for running is the Cagnes sur Mer racecourse at Rauba Capeu, used daily by hundreds of runners who love to build their jogging sessions at their own pace, splitting or not …, while taking stretching breaks on the benches overlooking the Grande Bleue.

Other spots, east of Nice 

Villefranche-sur-Mer offers 4 walking trails that can be used for sport and relaxation. Circuits of up to 380m in height difference and from 4 to 6 km will make you discover the very famous bay of Villefranche.

Cap d’Ail and its coastal path invite you to go for a walk or a run (cover photo: @BBO Studio). The walk is just sumptuous, easy and pleasant. The stairs of Cap Mala (more than 150 steps!) will not discourage the most athletic to reach the beach. Please note that for safety reasons, the path may be closed depending on the weather conditions. Do not hesitate to contact the information office or the department’s website.

The panoramic paths of the Tête de Chien (altitude 550 m) provide an opportunity to get some fresh air and admire the incredible view! Sports enthusiasts can reach “La tête de Chien”, located in the commune of La Turbie, at a run (a short trail with a 200m difference in altitude from the Espace Alain Prado). Access by bus and train from Cap d’Ail to the tête de Chien.

The Mid Country: treading the earth with the extraordinary blue of the Mediterranean as a horizon

The Grand Pré de Levens is 13 hectares of greenery which remains a favourite place for locals to picnic and play ball. Equipped with benches, fountains and a health course with 10 apparatus, the Grand Pré is the perfect place to keep fit, whatever the season.

Another interesting village for running is La Gaude. Its flowery alleys are a treat for the experienced jogger. The difference in altitude is nevertheless present.

Challenge seekers who want to flirt with the thrill of a trail will head for the Baou de la Gaude. This site is very interesting and offers a beautiful panorama, just like the Baou de Saint-Jeannet which you can discover if you are already well prepared in terms of legs (more than 400m of difference in height)

Baou de Saint-Jeannet

These first reliefs of the Alpes-Maritimes are a paradise for traileurs (nature and mountain races). They offer varied routes with breathtaking views. This is notably the case of the Baou des Blancs (Vence) where the 360° view allows you to contemplate the sea and the snow-covered Southern Alps!

Just a little higher up, the Plan des Noves circuit at the Col de Vence could be a good compromise between trail and jogging.

If you want to keep to a cross-country running pace, head back down to the Var valley. You can take the cycle path along the river and ride up to the Lac du Broc. It may lack relief but it is “very rolling” as the experienced say! And you can finish by cycling around the lake in a 3.4km loop without any difference in altitude.

Challenging the heights to push the limits: from running to trail running!

What is trail running? It is the generic term for off-road running. It is a trendy sport, practised in summer for greater safety, but sometimes in winter on terrain that is neither wet nor snowy.

In the Nice Côte d’Azur area, it is logical that you will be taken to the Mercantour or the Haut Pays to discover this very sporting discipline. Open to all, it allows you to combine sport and fast hiking with magnificent mountain landscapes. If you want to try the trail experience, nothing could be easier than to start with a workshop-type course. You can find one in Saint-Martin-Vésubie. It is a 3,200 m long loop with 290 m of ascent that can be used for several types of exercise.
On the way up from the start, this loop allows you to work on improving your aerobic capacity.

Downhill is a great approach to technical work, or used to recover between reps by slowly descending.
The objectives of such a workshop are great and develop your endurance and maximum oxygen consumption. It prepares you physically and psychologically for running speed, and improves stride efficiency by conditioning the respiratory, cardiac and muscular systems for competition practice.

The green route no. 1 – Tour du Sommet d’Auron is also a great introduction to trail running or perfect for a short training run. On the way out, a narrow path leads you to the summit of Auron. On the way back, a wider trail allows you to “unwind” easily.

The Tinée and Vésubie valleys are a paradise for trail running and offer training sessions reserved for real sportsmen.

Through this practice, it is important to respect the work of the farmers and owners who welcome you on their land, and to close the fences well to prevent the herds from escaping.

If you feel ready, put on your good shoes and set off in short strides to discover the Côte d’Azur terrain!

Annual events not to be missed

As you can see… With its grandiose landscapes, its favourable light and climate, Nice Côte d’Azur is a fabulous territory for runners and all sportsmen!

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Coordinator of the Vence Information Office