We did this section from east to west – Saint-Jeannet to Les Plan des Noves (474m). Then we dropped down south to the D2 road which goes into Vence. Here we caught the bus back to Saint-Jeannet.
Saint-Jeannet to Gue sur la Cagne 607m 7km
Sidepath to the summit of the Baou de St-Jeannet 802m 2km
Gué sur la Cagne to Les Plan de Noves 674m 3km
A total of 12km on the GR51, but overall 18km with the walk into Vence.
Tourist information links: Saint-Jeannet, Vence
In the FFRP GR51 guide a ‘variante’ is marked which would shorten this stage as it says in bad weather the path to the Gué is sometimes difficult. From the Castelet ruins it follows the black path marked on the 1:25 000 map but then a route which is not and apparently passes through private property. There are other paths marked in red on the map that would shorten the distance and which presumably aren’t over private property.
We stayed 2 nights in Saint-Jeannet at l’Auberge des Baou or Frog’s House. This was our solution to manage the long isolated sections from Courmes to Saint-Jeannet. This meant dropping down south from the GR51 to Vence and catching the bus (number 47, Lignes d’Azur) to Saint-Jeannet a twisty 20 minute journey. The only disadvantage was that from where we left the GR51 to Vence was 6km although there are plenty of bars for refreshment and we managed to get into the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence or Chapelle Matisse on one of the days. That was well worth the extra walk.
The limestone hills north of Saint-Jeannet and Vence are truly beautiful feeling really isolated with interesting vegetation. Even though this was April it was a very hot day after about 11am , one of our group felt that the icy clear waters of the la Cagne river were really enticing at the Gué sur la Cagne, and Kate really enjoyed it! These sections out in the wilds make a big contrast with the more urban sections, No other walkers and quite large distances from roads and civilisation. Fantastic.
We did this section on 9th April 2011.