Conquering the summits of the French Southern Alps!

Take to the heights and revel in the breathtaking panoramas and majestic peaks of the French Southern Alps. An ode to freedom and unspoiled beauty!

The authentic Alpes de Haute Provence

Ubaye Valley and its immaculate summits

Start out from Barcelonnette and head towards the Haute Vallée via Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye . You’ll need to tackle a few rocky slopes to reach Aiguille de Chambeyron, but it’s worth it: the view over the Massif des Écrins, Vanoise and Mont Blanc from 3,412 metres is simply jaw-dropping. Continue to Brec de Chambeyron, and the captivating summit of the same name – the colours and sheer tranquillity of this spot are incredible. You’ll want to start out early to see Bric de Rubren. Roam the high-altitude lakes and ancient quarries of these sumptuous Alpine landscapes. Sunset at Rubren and sunrise at Salsa… Simply unforgettable! Sporty walkers will want to tackle the notoriously-challenging climb to La Meyna. This magnificent limestone pyramid is one of the Ubaye area’s most charismatic peaks.

Giant lakes and waterfalls at your feet

The French Southern Alps overflows with stunning natural sights and Mont Pelat is definitely one you won’t want to miss. Easy to reach, it is an ideal spot for lapping up 360° views over Europe’s largest high-altitude lake: the Lac d’Allos glacier in Parc national du Mercantour. Slip into your trainers to reach the highest point of the Haut Verdon area. And keep your eyes peeled: a marmot or chamois might just be going about its business next to you! Cross the larch forest and challenge yourself to Le Cimet, one of the Southern Alps’ most beautiful peaks. The walk is dotted with pretty waterfalls where you can pause to rest. How about conquering the source of the Verdon river? When you reach Tête de la Sestrière, the valleys of La Blanche, d’Allos and Ubaye offer a fairytale spectacle. Towards Serre-Ponçon, tackle the Dormillouse summit and immerse yourself in the view over the lake’s mythical turquoise waters.

The elegant Hautes-Alpes

Ice giants

While you’re touring the Massif des Écrins, don’t miss the emblematic Barre des Écrins rising to a height of 4,102 metres. Mountaineers set off from Pré de Madame Carle to begin the ascension. Cross the long and beautiful mountain pass overlooking La Grave and revel in the mountainscapes. It’s time to head to the Pain de Sucre – not to be confused with the Sugarloaf Mountain of Rio de Janeiro fame! This one is well-anchored in the Massif d’Escreins, in the Parc naturel régional du Queyras. Rising to 3,208 metres, it boasts breathtaking views over Mont Viso and the Queyras area. Roam the mountain lakes, ridges and crests of Cerces, soaring amid stunning scenery. Welcome to a walker’s paradise…

Blue tints and geological curiosities

Next stop: Pic de Morgon and its two circuses. The view from the top over Serre-Ponçon lake, the Massif du Dévoluy and first peaks of the Écrins, is truly awe-inspiring. Admire the flaming sunset over the lake from the top of Mont Guillaume. Explore the nearby Aiguilles de Chabrière: a series of spectacular limestone peaks standing guard over the ski resort of Reallon. Grand Ferrand is the second highest mountain in the Massif du Dévoluy. This lunar landscape dotted with geological curiosities can be explored inside and out thanks to its maze of arches and tunnels. Last but not least, connoisseurs will immediately recognize Vieux Chaillol: a benchmark standing like a lighthouse in the rejuvenating green landscapes of Champsaur.

The dazzle of the Parc national du Mercantour

Mythical ascents

Climb to Mont Ténibre to enjoy uninterrupted views over Lac de Rabuons lake. The mineral world of Vallée de la Haute Tinée is simply mesmerizing. Fearless hikers will want to tackle the « energy walk » – an 8-km trail carved into the rock between the two world wars. At Mont Pelat, sign up for a hike with a view crossing lakes and forests, with Lac d’Allos lake at your feet… Admire the charismatic Mont Mounier, the unrivalled king of this majestic mountain chain. You can reach the summit – a genuine balcony over the French Southern Alps – via Valberg or the hamlet of Roya. And of course, it would be impossible to talk about the Mercantour without mentioning Cime du Gélas, marking the highest point of the reserve. A timeless beauty…

Mineral landscapes and stone oddities

Marking the highest point of the Massif du Mercantour, Mont du Grand Capelet, offering sweeping views over Corsica in fine weather, is one of the most beautiful walks in the French Southern Alps. There’s the Cime du Diable too, with its signposted trails crossing the military fortifications of Authion: savour the vistas over the lakes of the Vallée des Merveilles and distant sea. Soaring from the heart of this extraordinary landscape, the 2,872-metre Mont Bégo embodies nature’s beauty at its finest. At the frontier of Mercantour National Park and Italy, Roche de l’Abisse is well worth a detour. This transborder summit rising to 2,700 metres boasts magnificent views over the Med and Po Valley. Enjoy a break at Fort Giaure on your way up – the military architecture of this fort erected between 1883 and 1884 is captivating. Don’t forget Cime de Pelousette, you can reach it from the road leading to Col de la Bonette. Despite its 2,800 metres, this mountain path remains accessible and the views are a feast for the eyes.