Time: 9h. Up: 1290m. Down: 1710m.
Distance: 20km. Difficulty: medium.

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Stage 77: Coursegoules (1035m) to Aiglun (619m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

Another long stage, with Alpine amounts of ascent and descent along the dramatic ridge of the Montagne du Cheiron. And, to add insult to injury, at the end of the day, after a steep drop into the valley of the Estéron, you finish with a most unwelcome 160m climb to the perched village of Aiglun.

Also unwelcome is that you'll probably hear a fair amount of gunfire today, and for the rest of the hike, because by now it will be hunting season, and there are many, many hunters in Provence. Come autumn, the Frenchman (almost never the French woman) seems to consider it his god-given right to blast away at every creature in the countryside.

Every creature other than hikers, of course. Although alarming, the danger is minimal: each year there are around 40 hunting-related deaths (mostly hunters shooting one another) in the whole of France (all 551,695 km2 of it), about the same number as from lightning. Nevertheless, you might want to consider wearing bright clothing along this stretch of the H2H.

From Coursegoules head north via the St.-Michel Chapelle (1134m) up to the crest of the Montagne du Cheiron. There follows an exciting ridge walk west for almost 8km reaching a maximum altitude of 1778m before dropping down to intersect the GR4. Follow the GR4 north over another ridge (1459m) near Gréolière-les-Neiges then north-east down to the Estéron River (450m), which you cross to climb to Aiglun.

Alternatives: if the weather is bad then take the lower route which avoids the long exposed section along the Montagne du Cheiron. From Coursegoules hike west to just before St.-Pons, then climb a little to the north before turning west again on a traverse to intersect the GR4 (shortens the day by about 1.5h, +/-300m). Other than that, there aren't any good ways to shorten the day.
Map: IGN-3642ET Vallée de l'Estéron.

The House to House blog... stage 77.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic, twice.
Dinner and overnight: there is only once place to stay in Aiglun -- the Auberge/Gîte le Calendal (+33-(0), several bedrooms and 21 places in three bunkrooms(6,6,9)) -- but it is closed on Thursdays during the low season, and since they have no website, who knows when they think low season is! Unfortunately, there are few other alternatives. The best thing would be to have a taxi from Roquesteron pick you up (10km away, taxi contact information here) and take you to either the village of Sigale (12 bed Gîte Communale at +33-(0), and Chambre d'Hôtes (B&B) at +33-(0) or +33-(0) or the town of Roquesteron (Hotel de la Roque at +33-(0) If all else fails, try calling the Aiglun Mairie, which doubles as the Office de Tourisme and asking them if anyone would be willing to put you up for the night (+33-(0)

Getting There and Back
Coursegoules: from Nice, where there is a regular railway station and a major airport, take a taxi the 32+km to Coursegoules (taxi information here, and for trains, see the SNCF).
Aiglun: take a taxi 30km to Puget-Théniers, from which you can catch a steam train to Nice (for taxi information, see here, and for steam train information, see here).
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Coursegoules, centered on Aiglun.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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