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French Mountain, Diego-Suarez

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East of Diego-Suarez, on the road to Ramena, the Montagne des français or Tendrombohitr'Antsingy dominates the immense bay. The site is a protected reserve and access to it is regulated, with a guide required for any walk. It's a short walk, but well worth the detour for the 360° panoramic view from the platform: Pain de Sucre, Cap d'Ambre and Mer d'Émeraude all within sight. Also of interest are the remains of the French Foreign Legion's old fortifications from the colonial era. Access is via a gallery carved out of the rock over an interminable staircase of some 600 steps! You can also see baobab trees emerging from the bush at the foot of the cliffs. If you want to go further and really enter the Montagne des Françias and discover an Indiana Jones-style jungle trail, see Tsing'obab, or the path to the Valley of the Parrots.

vue panoramique depuis la montagne des français

Technical summary

Type ✦ Hiking

Location ✦ Diego-Suarez

Region ✦ Montagne des Français, Diana

Country ✦ Madagascar

Length ✦ 6km

Vertical rise ✦ 350m

Duration ✦ 2h to 3h

Interest ✦ ★

Access to the place

From Diego, take the road to Ramena. A few kilometers before the village, on the right, at the foot of Montagne des Français, is the parking lot and official park entrance.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 2'

Once you've paid the entrance and guide fee, the trail immediately begins on a Way of the Cross leading up to the walls.

Course 1h30 à 2h

It starts with the Stations of the Cross up the undulating bush slopes. Higher up, at the foot of the cliffs, the path becomes more incised and we skirt the walls equipped for climbing before finding the 600-step staircase. The passage literally cuts through the Tsingy limestone with a series of low tunnels.

At the top of the steps, you're in the ruined former fortification camp. The path crosses it to reach a 1st panoramic balcony overlooking the bay. Follow the path upwards to reach the summit platform, this time with a 360° view over the region.


Retrace your steps and continue along the finishing path, which passes the Commandant's house. At the next T, turn left to descend gently back to the starting point (on the right, path to the Vallée des Perroquets).

Map & topo



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