A circular walk of the Janas via Notre-Dame du Mai

A La Seyne-sur-Mer walk posted on 17/03/16 by rumax. Update : 03/07/18

This walk takes you through varied landscapes: undergrowth, ridges, cliffs overlooking the sea, and two hill tops with 360° views of the coast and the mountains. For the more adventurous, an optional athletic route takes you down to the foot of Cap Sicié and the sea.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 6h35[?]
Distance Distance : 9.36mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 3104ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 3100ft
Highest point Highest point : 1076ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 7ft
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : La Seyne-sur-Mer (83500)
Starting point Starting point : N 43.071057° / E 5.853342°

Description

The walk starts out at the car park in front of Janas campsite.

(D) With the track, W906 Raymond Macchi, on your left, which heads south and which the walk will bring you back along at the end, head east along the track, Les Eucalyptus, which takes you past the gate of the Maison de la Pleine Nature.
Ignore a track to the left that bears south at the corner of the Maison de la Pleine Nature (alt. 82 m) and continue alongside the CRAPA trail on your right. Then at the crossroads continue straight on, bearing left (there is a pine tree with a Blue and Orange waymark on it at this intersection: keep it on your right).
Cross the road, go through the gate (alt.131m), walk a few metres down the track, and then turn right down a path through a gully, which joins the track you left earlier a little further down.

(1) Cross the track and take the path opposite you with a yellow arrow waymark on the ground.
Further on, the path is waymarked with a picture of a yellow walker on a white background, which is often not easy to see.
Ignore the many paths off to the right and left.
When you reach a fork at a small oak tree, turn left and continue uphill.
Go past a rocky section of hillside, and when you reach a T-junction, turn left and head south.
At the next fork, turn left and then ignore a few paths off to either side that are not indicated on the map.
The path eventually joins a wide track, which you then take to the left and which winds along above Roumagnan ravine.

(2) At a hairpin bend (alt.115m), leave the track and take the path to the left leading into the undergrowth.
After about 400 metres, cross the river bed, which is very often dry, and take the path coming from the right with Red and Green waymarks (marked on the trees, but not very easy to see). Bear right, the path climbs along the bottom of the ravine to the south. Continue past two isolated rocks on your left.

(3) After the last rock, a cairn on the right indicates the path for you to follow. Climb back up to the road (D2816) which you then cross: the path is opposite you.
Continue along the path which temporarily bears west up a relatively steep slope.
At times you will see waymarks with a yellow walker on a white background again.
Go past a small marker on your left with the number 521 on it with a picture of an anchor.
At a T-junction on the ridge (alt. 272m), turn right along the path with White waymarks.

(4) About fifty metres further on, there is a fork, which is not indicated on the map, level with a rock marked with a black star. Turn left here to visit the old shooting post. Then retrace your steps and turn left down the path with White waymarks.

(5) 200 metres further on, when you reach a section of scree, take the path to the right between the rocks that climbs up to the summit of the Montjoie (alt. 259m). From the top you will have 360° views.
Return the way you came until you reach the scree, and then take a sharp right to the northwest, continuing along the path you arrived on (you will see a White waymark on a rock and an older Black and Orange waymark).
The path descends quite steeply in places.

(6) At a fork, turn left to the southeast along the coastal path (signposted - Littoral).
Shortly after the Pierre de L’Autel, there is a spring to the left of the path and a water pool hidden by some cane.
Just before the Pointe du Cap Vieux, ignore a dead-end path off to the left, which climbs up towards the cliffs (not shown on the map).
There is a signpost here indicating that the waymarks are Yellow: this is referring to the old system of waymarks, which has been replaced by the new White waymarks.
When you come level with the Pointe du Cap Vieux, ignore several paths which are not indicated on the map (one leads to the military remains of Cap Vieux below) and instead bear north.
The climb is quite steep and at the end you will need to use your hands to help you, although some steps have been built.
At a fork on the ridge, turn right and join the road toward the transmission tower and the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Mai.

(7) Keep going as far as the chapel. Then take the path to the east, which takes you past an oratory.
The path leads up onto a ridge, where there is a viewpoint with an orientation board. At a fork, turn right along the path leading up to the old lighthouse. The waymarks are sometimes Yellow, sometimes Blue, and sometimes Orange and Black... Walk between the old lighthouse and a ruin down below it, and keep going until you reach the tip of the headland.

(8) From the tip of the headland, you can make your way down to Cap Sicié, taking a path to the right, which descends steeply down, heading due south, and which has various waymarks: three Green dots, a Blue line, a Yellow waymark, a Blue and Red waymark...
When you reach a fork, turn right. At the fork you will see an old Navy listening post that has become overgrown with vegetation.
At a series of bends, ignore a path off to the right which descends towards the cliffs, and instead cross a horizontal section alongside a terrace and keep going until you reach a fork.

(9) At this fork, the left-hand path is the route you will take on the return journey back up again.
For now, bear right until you reach a fork, then continue south. The path to the left, which is closed off by a gate, is closed to due to a landslide, so do not take this path.
Walk down as far as the first ruin and then continue on to the second ruin. Follow the path round between the second ruin and the cliffs, and then continue down the steps until you reach a rudimentary pier (10).

(10) From the pier, climb back up as far as the fork and ignore the path off to the right (closed off by a gate). Keep going up as far as the following crossing.

(9) Take the path to the right (you arrived by the path on the left).
The following section as far as (8) is quite challenging due to the steep incline, and you will sometimes need to use your hands to help you.

(8) At the fork, take the path down to the north, keeping the lighthouse and the ruin on your left. You will reach a track, and then 20 metres further down, take the first path on the right. At the third hairpin bend, there is a viewpoint and orientation board on your right. Keep going, and then at the fifth hairpin bend, ignore a path to the right above two ruins. At the seventh hairpin bend, ignore a path on the right leading to the ruins.

(11) Ignore a path to the right that is not indicated on the map, which descends down to through some scree and which joins our path again below.
Shortly before the end of the path, you will pass a concrete slab, and then at the T-junction turn left towards the north. (To the right of this junction, there is a signpost indicating the: “Maison du Pendu”).
On the path, which continues almost horizontally, you will see some Blue/Red waymarks.
Further along, ignore a path down to the northeast and after passing a number 7 written in Red on a rock on your left, you will reach a fork (open terrain).

(12) At the fork, take the left-hand path, which climbs to the northwest and which is waymarked in Blue.
Ignore the many small paths off to the right and the left, and keep going until you reach the wire fence of the Amphitria wastewater treatment plant that runs alongside the path (the path indicated on the map does not exist).
At the end of the fence, at a fork that is not indicated on the map, take the right-hand path and join the road: turn left and keep going as far as the entrance of the factory.
Cross the road at the entrance of the factory and continue towards the picnic area.

(13) Ignore the W905 Peyras track on your right, and then, under the pine trees, cross the picnic area to the northwest. Keep going to the end of the picnic area and then cross the W905 R. Macchi track.

(14) Take the White/Blue waymarked path that leads through some oak trees. Ignore all the paths off to the right and left.

(15) Go straight on at the crossroads (you will see a Blue waymark on a pine tree). Then turn right along a track that you will take for about fifty metres, and when it reaches another track, cross over and take the path opposite you with White/Blue waymarks, which runs alongside a rugged area of landscape that is popular with mountain bikers.
Continue past a pumping station up on your left and then turn right along a downhill path that is not shown on the map.
You will reach the W905 R. Macchi track at an old well and a more recent building.
Keep going down the track until you reach the arrival point (A).

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0
1 : mi 0.64 - alt. mi 0.64 - Cross the track - Yellow arrow on the ground
2 : mi 2.34 - alt. mi 2.34 - Leave the track, take the left-hand path
3 : mi 2.54 - alt. mi 2.54 - A cairn on the right indicates the path to follow
4 : mi 3.08 - alt. mi 3.08 - Black Star on the ground - Turn left
5 : mi 3.24 - alt. mi 3.24 - Path to Montjoie
6 : mi 3.85 - alt. mi 3.85 - Take a sharp left
7 : mi 5.2 - alt. mi 5.2 - Chapel of Notre-Dame du Mai
8 : mi 5.76 - alt. mi 5.76 - Departure for the athletic option to Cap Sicié
9 : mi 6.1 - alt. mi 6.1 - Crossing
10 : mi 6.38 - alt. mi 6.38 - Pier, turn around point
11 : mi 7.58 - alt. mi 7.58 - Ignore the path to the right
12 : mi 8.02 - alt. mi 8.02 - Open terrain, take the left-hand path
13 : mi 8.28 - alt. mi 8.28 - Cross the picnic area
14 : mi 8.42 - alt. mi 8.42 - End of picnic area, take the path
15 : mi 8.72 - alt. mi 8.72 - Straight on at the crossroads
D/A : mi 9.36 - alt. mi 9.36

Useful Information

- There are many former waymarks along the route, please stick to the walk description.
- The old shooting post can serve as a shelter in case of rain (it is often erroneously referred to as a bunker).
- The first section along the cliffs has been much degraded in places by wild boar: take extra care to avoid falling.
- When you climb back up from the cliff to the ridge in the direction of the chapel, there is a section where you will sometimes need to use your hands to help you. It can be slippery in wet weather.

- (8) An athletic variant takes you down to Cap Sicié and the sea, but you can avoid it by continuing to the left at the crossing (11). Because it is the most exposed section of the walk, it is advisable to do this section in dry weather when there is little wind. The additional vertical drop and kilometres are: - 330 m/+ 330 m and +/- 1.1 km. If you choose to do this extra section, the difficulty level of the hike goes from medium to difficult due to the steep incline between (8) and (10).

- If there is an easterly wind along the R. Macchi track, the nauseating smells from the pumping station can ruin the charm of this section: it is better to do the walk on a day when there is a westerly wind!

We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 3346OT.

Click here to see how to reach the starting point.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Download sheet and map

During the walk or to do/see around

As you walk along in the direction of the description you will see:

An old French shooting post:
- Built on 3 levels, it was reused by the Germans during the occupation in the Second World War. There are beautiful views over the Embiez islands.

From the summit of the Montjoie, there are 360° views, and to the west you can see:
- The Embiez islands,
- The Bec de l'Aigle in La Ciotat,
- The Calanques de Cassis and the Grande Candelle,
- Riou island.

A spring with a water pool:
- Located just after the Pierre de l’Autel, although it is often dried up.

The Military remains in Cap Vieux
- A battery was built here in 1794 by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was equipped with three canons, two of which can be seen at the Balaguier museum in La Seyne Sur Mer.

At the summit of Notre-Dame du Mai you will find:
- A fire control tower dating back to 1352 and rebuilt in 1589,
- The Chapel of Notre-Dame du Mai built in 1625, also known as the Chapel of Notre-Dame de la Garde,
- An orientation table,
- A radio and television transmission tower.

From Notre Dame du Mai, from north to south/east, you can see:
- The Sainte Baume,
- The Gros Cervau
- The battery of Peyras, built in 1879,
- Toulon harbour,
- Mont Caume, Mont Faron, and Mont Coudon
- Giens peninsula and the Hyères islands,
- The old Cap Sicié lighthouse, built in 1821, which also served as a Chappe telegraph station,
- Amphitria, the wastewater treatment plant located by the sea between Cap Vieux and Cap Sicié.

Below the old lighthouse you can see:
- An unfinished ruin built during the occupation in the Second World War (barracks)
- An old Navy listening post, that has become overgrown with vegetation,
- An old photoelectric post that once lit the firing range of Peyras battery,
- Cap Sicié,
- The Deux Frères rocks.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.