If you really want to observe nature, better understand its subtleties and immerse yourself in its full beauty, take your time! Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur’s regional nature reserves are magnificent wide open spaces, perfect for getting a taste of the slow trend and green tourism. Slow and steady wins the day – your new motto!
Follow the guide
Saddle up and ride your pony… or donkey!
Criss-cross the towpaths of the Alpilles Regional Nature Reserve from Saint-Rémy courtesy of Ptits Ânes. After a bit of nuzzling to make friends, your new travel companion will be ready to carry your bags while you tag along and admire the scenery. In the Camargue Regional Nature Reserve, Laure Vadon from Mas Saint Germain offers visitors a dip into her daily life in Camargue. In Étang de Vaccarès, you can help get the horses ready before saddling up against a backdrop of bulls and rice fields! Wind up in style at Provence Hipposervice for a relaxing horse and cart ride around the Luberon Regional Nature Reserve. Olivier Augier hosts day tours of Provence, or 2-hour forays along ochre trails into the region’s natural and cultural heritage.
A shot of adrenalin…
How about a mountain bike tour delving into the secrets of black truffles during your weekend at the Verdon Regional Nature Reserve? The picture-postcard Haut-Var area is a hub of the region’s pride and joy: our aptly-nicknamed “black gold”. If you’re touring the Baronnies Provençales Regional Nature Reserve, your adventure is set to go skywards. The wide and gentle valleys of Buëch and Durance offer ideal flying conditions for budding paragliders, plus a variety of courses for all levels. Thrills and spills guaranteed!
… Or just chillin’ on an electrically-assisted bike
Less sporty but just as idyllic, explore the hills and dales of the Queyras Regional Nature Reserve on an electrically-assisted bike courtesy of Guil-e-bike, an official Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional service provider. Tackle the notorious Col d’Izoard and Col d’Agnel and admire the 360° vistas over authentic villages nestling in flowering meadows from the peaks. Alternatively, the Mont Ventoux Regional Nature Reserve boasts 120 km of cycle paths also open to electrically-assisted bikes so you can make the most of the marvels of Le Ventoux: picturesque hilltop villages, Nesque gorge, Toulourenc valley and the sublime ragged lacy peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail… Simply dazzling!
Across the national parks
Roam Écrins National Park at your own pace – the tour lasts 2 to 15 days and features an incredible choice of no less than 17 itineraries: a slow and steady adventure ideal for nature and wild scenery fans. And there’s no need for a car for your Grand Tour des Écrins eco tour: you can easily reach the park thanks to the local trains and buses. Just down the road, Mercantour National Park is the perfect place for a 100% sustainable mobility trek spanning the Alpes de Haute Provence and Alpes-Maritimes areas.
New surprises await you every day on the Grande Traversée du Mercantour as you head into the valleys of the Haut-Verdon, Haut-Var, Tinée, Vésubie, Roya and Bévéra. As you head down to Menton after your stunningly wild and beautiful odyssey, the high peaks finally give way to the Big Blue…
Pick your path
Take to the pathways of the Préalpes d’Azur Regional Nature Reserve for a 5-day trek starting out from St-Auban and ending in Grasse or Vence on the Maralpine trail. This 75-km itinerary leads across iconic little gorges (“clues”) from the highlands of Grasse to impressive coastal cliffs as you follow one of Europe’s wildest rivers – the Estéron – and immerse yourself in the reserve’s natural and cultural heritage. Further West, the Marais du Vigueirat wetlands reserve is home to a novel tour itinerary on piles introducing visitors to the reserve’s exciting ecological awareness project. Hop onto a Camargue horse and cart, slip into your trainers or even slide into a kayak for an exciting new angle on this watery world.