The Mountain Railway: Train des Pignes
Zipping between mountains and sea, the narrow-gauge Train des Pignes is one of Provence’s most picturesque trips. Conceived in 1861 and opened in 1911, the line was originally served by steam locomotives: a vintage train still puffs a few stops around Puget-Théniers on Sunday between spring and autumn.
Rising to 1000m in altitude, the 151km track passes through 50 tunnels and over 16 viaducts and 15 metal bridges along its cliff-hugging journey to Digne-les-Bains, stopping at nearly 50 villages en route. The mountain views on all sides are magnificent.
The entire trip from Nice to Digne-les-Bains takes 3¼ hours. There are usually five trains a day; if you don’t have time for the whole journey, hop off at Entrevaux, 1½ hours from Nice (€11.80 one way), have a wander around the village, then catch the train back a couple of hours later.
Schedules are available at Chemins de Fer de Provence.