©Isabelle Fabre
Adventure 3Small hikes & big ears

Donkey trekking around hilltop villages

Do you like hiking and animals? Marius, Nautilus and Roméo have been brought up to cuddle and are now proud to act as guides. These docile, intelligent and affectionate donkeys will take you on a hike along the trails of the Menton hinterland. Granges Saint-Paul, Chapelle Saint-Bernard, Plan du Lion, Mont Carpano… to the rhythm of their four legs, we can’t count the little wonders hidden in the heights of Castellar. And what about Sainte-Agnès, Europe’s highest coastal village?

DurationStartLevelIdeal season
1 dayCastellarAccessibleBetween June and October

Why do we love it?

A hike like no other, in contact with donkeys

A natural and ecological way to discover the mountains

Discover Europe’s highest coastal village

Discover the mountains from the sea

Stage 1

Drive to the village of Castellar. On the road to Les Granges de Saint-Paul, Marius, Nautilus and Romeo, hiking companions like no others, await you with firm hooves. On this lovely family estate, donkeys are king and the terraces dotted with olive trees offer a breathtaking view of the sea.

Stage 2

A quick briefing from the donkey driver and off we go for the ride. Freed from the weight of their bags, the children walk freely alongside the donkeys and are carried along at the slightest sign of fatigue. Between the sea and the mountains, on little forest paths at altitude, the view of the coast is exceptional. Olive trees, arbutus, cypresses, Aleppo pines, then broom, ash, Scots pine… the vegetation, initially Mediterranean, gradually becomes Alpine. After a short break, the donkeys take you back down to the village.

Stage 3

Take the car back to Europe’s highest coastal village: Sainte-Agnès, one of France’s most beautiful villages. A belvedere overlooking the Mediterranean, it offers incredible panoramic views of the Grande Bleue. Lose yourself in its medieval streets, push open the doors of artists’ studios and craftsmen’s workshops, taste artisanal jams at the Cavette d’Agnès, step back in time in the medieval garden – in short, enjoy the moment.

Stage 4

And to finish on a high note, plan to have lunch between sea views and the snow-capped peaks of the Mercantour, to enjoy local cuisine.

Small gestures and good reflexes

My child wears a helmet and I stay beside him when he’s on the donkey.

If the donkey gets scared and runs away from me, I don’t chase it.

With a donkey, the first 10 minutes count. From the very first steps, be gentle but firm, and don’t let him nibble every blade of grass.

I take a 20-30 minute break every 2 or 3 hours of walking.

I remember to take off my saddlebags during the break!

Not to be missed!

The fort of Sainte-Agnès is a true underground city, dug into the depths of the rock. It is still fully equipped and can be visited. A well-documented museography and a guided tour allow visitors to discover the military installations of the Second World War.

Our good addresses

Restaurant le Saint Yves

76 Rue des Sarrasins,

06500 Sainte-Agnès

04 93 35 91 45

Restaurant le Righi

1 Place du Fort,

06500 Sainte-Agnès

04 92 10 90 88


From the Menton interchange, take the route de Sospel, pass Monti and shortly after turn right towards Castellar. After the Saint-Sébastien chapel, turn left onto the Granges Saint-Paul road, pass the St Roch chapel and stop at 1164. From Menton, join Castellar via route départementale 24 or route des Ciappes (towards camping St Michel).