GR52 Menton to Plan du Lion
This page describes the southern end of the GR52 from a north-to-south perspective (beginning from the Menton-Garavan railway station). It's a 2-hour uphill, from Menton-Garavan (about 20 m) to Plan du Lion (720 m).
The southern end of the GR52 begins beside the Gare SNCF Menton-Garavan, the tiny railway station about 2 km east of the center of Menton. The Gare Garavan is opposite the Port de Menton-Garavan yacht basin, east out of Menton along the seaside on the D6007 (Porte de France) to the Ave Katherine Mansfield.
The Ave Katherine Mansfield is a small street that passes beneath the railway tracks through a very narrow tunnel, a half-block east of the Garavan railway station that's on the short Rue Ellis Webb
When you pass through the narrow tunnel, Ave Katherine Mansfield makes a right-left jog, while the GR52 makes a left-right jog and goes up the steps called Raccourci des Colombières. The steep steps climb to the traverse road Boulevard de Garavan. Cross the road and continue up the opposite steps, still the Raccourci des Colombières.
Following twisty narrow roads ever upward, the GR52 crosses beneath the autoroute viaduct and finally into the hills, still very steep, along the French side of the border with Italy.
Slow uphill plodding brings you to Granges St-Paul (460 m) in a bit over an hour, at a junction with a local dirt road and "Comenii Vinum" (the first comenius vineyard in the world, according to the sign).
A few minutes later there's a great view of the coast, from Menton to Monaco (if it's not too hazy).
We had been listening to and watching a pair of golden eagles hunting the valley to the west of us on the way up, often flying below us. At the top we finally go a quick (but far-up) shot of one of them.