Ubaye Valley

The Ubaye valley is located in the heart of the Southern Alps. The region is influenced by the Alps and the Mediterranean. The Ubaye valley offers idyllic landscapes: ancient churches, hamlets, fields, forests, snowy summits.

An exceptional natural space

To the north of the Mercantour National Natural Park, the Ubaye Valley is a natural area of great beauty and is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Chamois, ibexes and mouflons frolic in the steep mountain reliefs, while wild boars prefer wooded areas. In the mountain pastures, as danger approaches, marmots whistle before reaching their burrows. Wolves, who came from Italy, have regained possession of their former territories and have settled in the Ubaye valley. If you are lucky enough, you might observe one of them.

Many birds of prey can be observed in the sky such as the golden eagle or the bearded vulture. The particular climatic and geological influences of the Ubaye valley have enabled the development of an exceptional flora. In the Lauzanier valley, for example, the Eryngium blooms. It is an endemic species that has been saved from extinction at the very last moment.

The high valley of the Ubaye is partly located in the Mercantour National Natural Park, in the towns of Jausiers, Meyronnes or Larche. The fauna and flora are protected.

Numerous hiking trails

The Ubaye’s sunny climate and sumptuous landscapes attract walking enthusiasts every year. The marked trails offer numerous itineraries accessible to all: easy walks for families or more difficult day or multi-day hikes for seasoned hikers.

You can hike to the summits or to many different lakes such as the Lac des Sagnes in Jausiers, the Lac Noir in Lauzet Ubaye, the Eaux Tortes of the Vallon du Laverq in Méolans Revel. The most experienced can reach the Brec de Chambeyron, which peaks at an altitude of 3,389 meters and requires the use of a rope for rappelling.

You can buy a hiking guide or the IGN 3540OT map to discover the main marked hiking trails and itineraries around Barcelonnette and in the Ubaye valley.

Nature and outdoor activities

Hiking is not the only outdoor activity that can be enjoyed in the Ubaye valley.

When it gets sunny, cycling enthusiasts will discover the roads and passes of the Southern Alps. Peaking at 1,911 meters, the Larche pass can be ascended rather easily from Les Gleizolles with a difference in altitude of 682 meters for an average slope of 4,24%. From Les Gleizolles, cyclists can also get to the Col de Vars, which peaks at 2108 meters. A difference in altitude of 798 meters for an average slope of 5,66% requires the cyclists to have trained. The most experienced sportsmen and women can ride to the Bonette-Restefond pass, which culminates at 2,802 meters. It is the highest road pass in France and has been ridden by Tour de France champions. From Jausiers, the cyclists face a 1,589-meter difference in altitude, for an average slope of 6,62%.

Mountain biking is also very popular. In summer, several mountain resorts offer packages that allow you to take the ski lifts with your bike, for a sporty descent rich in thrills.

Saint-Vincent-les-Forts benefits from a particular aerology, which makes it THE spot to go paragliding in France and in Europe. Experience there a first flight in a tandem paraglider, with a qualified instructor. Alpine cliffs also attract climbing enthusiasts who have the choice between climbing routes or via ferrata.

Each year, whitewater sports attract a growing number of tourists who are looking for thrill and new challenges. You can practice canyoning, rafting or canoeing. You can also go swimming or practice many water activities at the Serre-Ponçon lake such as boat or stand-up paddle, towed buoy or jet-ski session.

Barcelonnette: Mexico in Ubaye

“Capital” of the Ubaye valley, Barcelonnette has a remarkable architectural heritage that testifies to its astonishing history. In the past centuries, many people left the valley for the “New World” and more precisely Mexico. When they got rich, they returned to the country where they built sumptuous Mexican-style villas.

Barcelonnette is the epicenter of the whole valley. The squares and streets are full of stores and a market takes place on Wednesday and Saturday. Every year, music is in the spotlight with the Jazz Festival in July and the Latin-Mexican festivities in August.

Located at 1,130 meters above sea level, Barcelonnette is surrounded by spectacular peaks. On the slopes, one can observe different types of alpine vegetation: cultivated fields at the bottom of the valley, forests, mountain pastures and rocky chaos at high altitude.

  • Tourism in Barcelonnette

A remarkable architectural heritage

The Mexican villas are not the only architectural treasures of the valley. Discover the mountain heritage of the hamlets and villages, home to churches and chapels with sober and elegant lines, wash houses, fountains and sundials.

On the border between France and Italy, the Ubaye has long been a disputed territory that needed to be protected. Numerous fortifications were built all along the valley. The fort of Tournoux, located in the communes of Condamine-Châtelard and Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye, is made of several remarkable works spread over 700 meters of difference in height. This tourist attraction is one of the best examples of the fortresses built in the Southern Alps in the XIXth century.

Five museums and ecomuseums are scattered throughout the Ubaye valley and allow you to meet the women and men who have lived there for centuries and have made this territory a unique and welcoming place.

Ski resorts and winter sports

The Ubaye valley is also home to several ski resorts. Snow and winter sport enthusiasts can choose between:

  • Pra Loup, one of the most famous ski resorts in the region. The “Espace Lumière” ski area offers 180 kilometers of slopes.
  • Le Sauze: 65 kilometers of slopes.
  • Sainte-Anne: 35 kilometers of slopes.
  • The small family resort of Val d’Oronaye – Larche is ideal for families.

You can also enjoy cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on the numerous marked itineraries. The Ubaye is also a perfect playground for ski touring or ice climbing.

Practical information

The best access to the Ubaye valley is from Aix-en-Provence via the A51 freeway. Two choices are available to you:

  • Take exit 20 toward Digne-les-Bains then Seyne and Barcelonnette.
  • Stay on the A51 until the Saulce-Tallard tollgate, then drive toward Barcelonnette.

We help you plan your vacations in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Are you looking for hotels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfast or camping sites? Discover a selection of accommodations on our website, on ubaye.com or contact the Tourist Office of the town or resort of your choice. You can contact the Ubaye Guide Office to plan your summer or winter activities in the mountains

Selection of natural areas in the Alps of Haute Provence :

 

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