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The Most Beautiful Villages in the Alps

If you’re tempted by a taste of Southern Alps authenticity, chill out in the charming and typical villages tucked away in such remarkable natural areas as the Écrins National Park, Massif du Mercantour hills or Baronnies Provençales. Pure pleasure!

Taste la Dolce Vita in Tende

Situated just a stone’s throw from the Italian border, the little town of Tende is instilled with a delicious atmosphere. You will love its colourful frontages and picturesque little Mediterranean-style squares. As soon as the warmer weather comes around, head off for a hike in the aptly-named Vallée des Merveilles (Valley of Marvels) at the heart of Parc National du Mercantour, or enjoy a family tour of the Musée des Merveilles, showcasing the Côte d’Azur’s prehistoric marvels.

 

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Recharge your batteries in Breil-sur-Roya

Don’t miss a visit to the « Pays des Oliviers » in Breil-sur-Roya – a genuine haven of peace with a climate as gentle as the character of the locals. Reminders of the town’s medieval past – ramparts, ancient ovens and watchtowers – await around every corner. Keep your eyes peeled! Breil-sur-Roya is also a hub of traditional trades and crafts. Push open the doors to a local workshop to find out all about olive oil or flour making.

Discover the Switzerland of Nice in Saint-Martin-Vésubie

 Saint-Martin-Vésubie resembles a little Swiss village, so it’s no coincidence that it’s nicknamed the Switzerland of Nice. After an exhilarating excursion to the nearby Parc National du Mercantour, top up your tanks with some delicious local specialities at one of the village restaurants. To end your day in style, head out to meet the inhabitants of Saint-Martin-Vésubie: they will love showing you around their village!

Admire Le Boréon and its stunning scenery

Fancy a shot of adrenaline? Head to the hamlet of Boréon to get your fill of climbing, mountaineering, skiing  or snowshoeing. Thrills and spills guaranteed! If walking is more your cup of tea, a host of footpaths allow you to observe the local plant and animal life. Take along a picnic for a well-earned rest on the banks of Lac de Boréon, with its blissfully pure, turquoise waters.

Explore the Heart of the Parc National des Écrins

The village of Champoléon and its valley, located in the Haute-Vallée du Champsaur, will charm you with their calm, their mountain huts (refuges) and their chapels. At the foot of the surrounding mountains that slice into a pure blue sky, time seems to stand still. You can also find this tranquillity a bit further east, in Dormillouse, the only inhabited hamlet in the Parc National des Écrins. Consisting of several small houses of wood and exposed stone, this typical village seduces with its completely preserved look.

Shoot for the stars in les Baronnies Provençales

Step into the Baronnies Provençales Regional Nature Reserve at Sisteron. The town’s ancient citadel offers 360° views spanning the Alps and Provence, together with medieval gates, covered passageways, a 13th-century Saracen tower and charm to spare… Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the fortified town of Rosans, then head on to Moydans to penetrate the secret of the stars at the observatory. A little lower down, don’t miss the aptly-named village of Orpierre (gold stone) – stone reigns here and climbers are sovereign.

 

HeadING SOUTH

A medieval town built as a fortress by Vauban, Entrevaux is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages in the Alps. Stroll through its winding little streets bordered by narrow houses or walk along the ramparts and you will go back in time. Then head off to Sainte-Agnès, the highest coastal village in Europe located near the Italian border. Here, too, narrow passages, a maze of little streets, and stone houses will plunge you into the past.

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