The Mercantour National Park - a mere hour's drive from the hubbub of the Côte D'Azur.
The Mercantour is one of the least known, yet best National Parks in France, and one of the top 10 National Parks in the world – (published in Liberation.fr – based on Lonely Planet data).
The park stretches north along the Franco Italian border where the splendid landscape becomes the Parco delle Alpi Marittime, and is criss-crossed by the magic GR (grande randonnée) routes - the GR5, GR52, GR52a and the Via Alpina.
Created in 1979, the protected area covers some 685 square kilometres, consisting of a central zone comprising seven valleys - Roya, Bévéra, Vésubie, Tinée, Haut Var/Cians (in the Alpes Maritimes) plus Verdon and Ubaye (in the Alpes de Haute Provence).
The only village in the central zone is the fascinating Mollières, razed to the ground in front of the Allied advance at the end of WWII, and now being re-inhabited by humans and our lupine friends alike!!
A lover of the great outdoors however, can enjoy magnificent peaks over 3000m, including Cime du Gélas at 3143m, and a wealth of flora and fauna, rarely bettered anywhere in the world.
At the heart of the eastern side of the Mercantour is the Vallée des Merveilles. At the foot of the imposing Mont Bégo, visitors can admire some 37,000 rock carvings dating back to the Bronze Age.
Our base and the ever surprising walking holiday destination in France.
Spacebetween is based at our home in Berthemont les Bains - just outside the national park, where we have two self contained holiday gîtes.
Thanks to the only natural hot water pouring out of the earth in the Alpes-Maritimes, there's a little "boucle" around this cute little hamlet on a sunlit plain above the Vésubie valley.
There may be only fresh cheese, milk and honey available here but you won't be sorry!!!
We are total converts too - and are keen to share our knowledge of the area with our guests. The Alpes-Maritimes can fulfil just about every holiday fantasy you might ever have.
In addition - thanks to our 10 years of life here - we can share some other priceless destinations with you - just a short distance from the Mercantour.