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Plaine des Maures Natural Park, La Garde Freinet

Remarkable Provençal natural site home to the Hermann's tortoise

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La Plaine des Maures is the first natural park in the Var department, to the north west of Saint Tropez. It is renowned for it's umbrella pines and cork oak trees, and is rich in fauna and flora.

Forming a geographical entity with the Massif des Maures, it is bordered by limestone hills in the north and west. This magnificent landscape is often compared to the African savannah and is unique in France. Parasol pines amid pink sandstone outcrops and sparse cork oak scrubland are set against the blue background of the Massif des Maures. The unusual Permian geomorphology and climatic conditions within the Plaine des Maures have formed a unique collection of ecosystems which are home to a rich array of fauna and flora.

La Plaine des Maures is home to many Hermann's tortoise and is subject of a national action plan to preserve their natural habitat. 

There are several trails available for hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders. Note that these trails are not overly managed so may be a little rocky or sparse in places. Sign posts are placed at the main junctions. Some trails you like like to explore include

Les Vallons des Escarcets : a hike of 6.2 km.
La Dernière Plaine Sauvage : a hike of 13.1 km.
Les Drailles des Escarcets : a mountain bike trail of 14.2 km.
La Ronde des Escarcets : horse ride 17.8 km.  

Worth knowing

The Lac des Escarcets is a good place to start to explore this Natural Park, on foot, by mountain bike or on horse back. Access is by La Tire track which comes off the D558 from La Garde Freinet.

Facilities

  • Accessibility
  • Car advisable