Those looking for an outdoor experience on the Cote d'Azur will find what they're looking for in the Massif des Maures. This mountain range sits back from the coast and runs from east of Toulon to west of Cannes; the peninsula on which St-Tropez lies, roughly halfway between, is also a part of the Massif. Even casual hikers find its forests, vineyards, and rolling plains yielding wild orchids and strawberries a welcome change from the sometimes frenetic energy of the Riviera in high season.
The Massif des Maures roughly translates to “the Moorish Mountains,” and its highest point (2,559 feet; 780 meters) is called Le Signal de la Sauvette. While its steep contours and isolated pockets leave much of the mountain range pristine, the villages of La Garde Freinet and Collobrieres can show visitors what life is like here. They're known mostly for their cork tree harvests and a wide variety of food made from local chestnuts; autumn sees several festivals in the area celebrating these longtime traditions.
La Garde Freinet is about 8 miles north of St-Tropez via the D558. It is accessible by train via Arcs-Draguignan and a taxi; from Saint Raphaël, there is a bus that arrives in town. Hikers can access the GR9, GR51, and GR90 hiking routes, depending on ability and available time, to explore the Massif des Maures.