©Robert Palomba Photographe, Palomba Robert

5 insider's walks in Mercantour National Park

The last mountain range on the southern alpine arc before it plunges into the Big Blue, the Massif du Mercantour is a haven of enchanting scenery adorned with astonishing plays on light and shade. Sparkling lakes, crystal-clear springs and mysterious forests… Breathe in, relax and enjoy the show as you explore the insider’s secrets of this exceptional natural area!

Breathtaking views from Mont Mounier

Venture out from Valberg for this 6-hour loop at the heart of Mercantour National Park, leading to the unmistakeable summit of Mont Mounier standing amid high limestone ridges. Congratulate yourself when you reach the top – you did it! The knight Victor de Cessole said of this climb “I believe it would be very difficult to find another journey that is so easy in terms of walking yet so impressive in terms of altitude.” The sheer size of the king of this majestic relief never fails to impress. The highest chalky mountain in the Alpes-Maritimes area, Mont Mounier offers one of the finest belvederes over the entire Southern Alps. But don’t take our word for it! A botanist’s paradise, you’ll also come across exceptional flora on your way. A real feast for the senses.

Discover La Cime de Chamoussillon and Observatoire de la Cime de l’Aspre

This 5-hour immersive hiking loop from Châteauneuf d’Entraunes in the Haut-Var area starts out from the magnificent medieval hamlet of Tourres. The trail leads to La Cime de Chamoussillon then Cime de l’Aspre, harbouring the remains of an ancient observatory. Your first steps take you through a village now inhabited in summer only. Bedecked with larchwood roofs and stone walls, the original raw beauty of its constructions has remained untouched. Only the admirable Chapelle Saint-Jean, at the entrance to the hamlet, appears to have been abandoned. Wind up your day with a fabulous stargazing session – graced with pure, clear skies, this spot is part of the Alpes Azur Mercantour International Dark Sky Reserve.

Stroll along Canal de l’Adroit and its discovery trail with all the family

Don your backpack and walking shoes and head out with the kids from the fortified village of Colmars Les Alpes for this 2-hour walk on the discovery trail set gazing over Vauban’s daunting fortifications. The trail is dotted with information panels on the site’s history and heritage, answering all your questions about the valley’s natural and cultural treasures. But the most impressive part is yet to come: the magnificent panoramic view over Colmars before arriving at the ancient Canal de l’Adroit. Built in 1863 and abandoned in circa 1920, the canal used to run from Allos to Villars-Colmars, irrigating all of the valley’s food crops and catering to the needs of the Verdon high valley’s inhabitants. The trail continues alongside this historic construction, still perfectly visible today, before crossing abandoned fields. A genuine voyage to the edge of the world…

Appreciate the refreshing Moulinet forest near Peïra Cava valley

Promising an enchanting escape into the wild, this 5-hour walk starts out from the village of Moulinet – an ancient hamlet near Sospel founded by farmers in the 12th century to avoid the 12 km slog from town. Don’t miss the little wheat mill (“molinetto” in local dialect) that inspired the village’s name – a magnificent testimony to a bygone age. Now its time to dip into the cool depths of the magnificent pine and beech forest, redolent with serenity. Let the musical sounds of the Bévéra river guide you through Peïra Cava valley, panning out under a mount of the same name.

Take the Salt Route to Col de Cerise in Vésubie valley

Ready for a 5-hour hike on the old route running from France to Italy? Welcome to the “Sentier du Col de Cerise”! Departing from Boréon, this route was used in bygone days to transport food and salt from Nice on the coast to the Piedmont region. Connecting the villages of Saint-Martin-Vésubie and Thermes di Valdieri, it was engineered in 1430, at a time when the Nice highlands were attached to Savoie. The name “Cerise” refers to the cherry trees that used to flourish in Boréon valley. Keep your eyes peeled along the way to admire the colourful gneiss rock faces, veteran larch forests and magnificent high-altitude lakes in the distance.

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