Alpes-Maritimes (06710) Population: 507 Altitude: 413 m
Villars is on the Var river, about 50 km out of Nice on the RN 202. (The drive from Nice is under 30 min, or it's 1 hour on the train.) The village is actually located on a small road 2.5 km from (and 150 m above) the main road, which winds its way up the hillside through vineyards. This means that Villars is quiet, both from road noise and the more hasty tourists. But it also means that if you're traveling on the Train des Pignes, you'll have a good half-hour climb from the station up to the village.
The train station is no longer a train station (photo, 26k). There is no longer a station master and the train stops there as a flag stop, so be sure to wave it down clearly if you're out there after dark catching the last train back to Nice. The station building now houses Alp'Azur: a restaurant, as well as makers of pasta and ravioli and a small chocolate factory (their tea-flavoured chocolate is outstanding).
The village is centered around a shady square, surrounded by the Mairie, the public library, the church, the post office, and a monument-de-mort chapel, and the ever present terrace café, in this case the Café des Platanes. The square has a fountain and stone benches, but on a sunny day you'll probably see some of the old men sitting on the stone ledge along the front of the Mairie.
• GPS: 43.936632, 7.097575
A Grande Randonnée trail passes through, and some local hikes are marked with signposts by the center square. For some of the trails (Chapelle St. Jean, Sarzit, Thiery, Suyet, Baisse de St-Antoine), you go up the steep, narrow cobblestone-stepped streets between the buildings to reach the hills beyond.
For the Massoins and Circuit des Gravières trails you go out the tiny D26 road that overlooks the deep Gravières valley, where you'll hear the sound of the river rushing along far below. The near side of the valley is filled with accacia, fig, maple and poplar trees, and the far side is covered by a thick pine forest.
Have a look also at the hiking section for Touët.
Spelunking (pot-holing) is possible at the Grottes de la Mescla near the village of Malaussène, about 6 km east of Villars on the N202.
Bus Line 770 Nice - Beuil
- Bus line 770, Nice -Beuil, departs from the Nice Gare Routier, stops at the Gare SNCF (railway station), Nice airport terminal-1 and several village along the way. The full trip takes 3-1/2 hours and costs 1 euro.
Stops include Colomars gare, Plan-du-Var, Villars-sur-Var, Touët-sur-Var, Puget-Théniers, Entrevaux, Guillaumes, Valberg station, Beuil Les-Launes, Beuil syndicate-d'initiative.
An official list of Alpes-Maritimes bus lines, with links to the schedules for each line (PDF), is available on the following link:
- Web: www.cg06.fr/fr/servir-les-habitants/deplacements/transport-collectifs/lignes-et-horaires/lignes-et-horaires/