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Bicycling -- A great way to explore Ste-Maxime is on two wheels with some wind in your hair. Consider visiting Rent Bike, 13 rue Magali (tel. 04-94-43-98-07), which rents bikes and mopeds. Mountain bikes are 12€ per day, with a 150€ deposit; mopeds are 37€, with a 760€ deposit.

Hiking -- If you're a nature lover, you'll find panoramic views along many hiking trails that wind along the coast or into the mountains, reaching an altitude of 120m (400 ft.). The tourist office has maps and guides, or you can head for the Sentier du Littoral (Chemin des Douaniers), a trail that meanders along the coast toward Fréjus/Saint-Raphaël and has access to the sea at almost all points along the way.

Horseback Riding -- Set in the Massif des Maures countryside near Sainte-Maxime, Les Poneys du Verderet (tel. 06-83-34-87-66; www.leverderet.ffe.com) is a great place to go horse-back riding. Highly qualified instructor Valérie Lacaze offers pony rides and lessons for adults and kids. You'll need to wear long trousers and sturdy shoes.

A Day at the Beach

Beaches are the main attraction here in Ste-Maxime. Of the four nearby, two are an easy walk from the town center. Across the road from the casino is Plage du Centre Ville -- we advise avoiding it because of the fumes from the nearby roadway, the narrow sands, and the hordes of sunbathers. A better bet is Plage de la Croisette, a wider, nominally less congested expanse that's a 2-minute walk west of Plage du Centre Ville. The most appealing beaches are the Blue Flag Plage de la Nartelle and the adjacent Plage des Eléphants, with broad expanses of clean, fine-textured light-beige sand about 2km (1 1/4 miles) east of town. Both beaches were involved in the 1944 Provence landings, while Plage des Eléphants was immortalized in Sainte-Maxime resident Jean de Brunhoff's "Babar's Travels." To reach them, follow signs along the coastal road pointing to Les Issambres and Fréjus. Here you can rent a mattress for sunbathing from any of several concessionaires for around 10€ to 15€, depending on the beach. Another Blue Flag beach is Plage de la Garonette.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.