Mercantour reflections

Walking holiday in the Mercantour National Park

In a nutshell

  • How many lakes???  More than enough – but they are cold!!!
  • Superb non-scarey walking for guests used to mountain terrain
  • Wildlife and flora abound
  • Duration : 8 days, 7 nights

What's it all about?

Enjoy the wealth of the Mercantour's pristine turquoise lakes which mirror the Park's summits.

Rich, varied, and equally as stunning as anywhere else in the whole of the Alpine chain, the area boasts a unique combination. That of rugged soaring peaks and ridges rising to over 3000 metres on the Italian border, from which the valleys drop down and culminate in typical Provençal countryside – witness the change in eco-systems from Alpine to Mediterranean, all within a radius of 30km!

The Mercantour is blessed with more than 100 lakes at high altitude. These glittering lakes are the remnants of glacial activity eons ago. The turquoise colour of the lakes and the reflection of the surrounding mountains are a sight to behold.

In the spring when the high passes are clear of snow you can walk from valley to valley admiring the shimmering water, among carpets of alpine flowers. In the autumn the scenery changes its mantle as the larches turn to brown creating a mini New England in the South of France.

Chamois, and ibex are a regular sight, as are the noisiest creatures in the Park, the marmots, best enjoyed in the spring when they awaken from their winter slumbers. The increasingly rare mouflon can also be seen with a little luck and patience.

In the air, golden eagles are regularly seen, and occasionally the magnificent Lammergeier vulture.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Pick up in Nice and transfer to your accommodation in Berthemont les Bains, or Valdeblore.
  • Day 2 - Enjoy one of the three valley systems which grace the Vésubie - La Madone de Fenestre with its fascinating church sanctuary, before heading off to Cime de l’Agnellière via Pas de Ladres. En route you will have a well deserved break at the Arthurian Lac Trécolpas – the lake of the Three Thieves – ask your guide about the myth!!!
  • Day 3 - Hop over the Col Saint Martin and down into the more Swiss feeling valley of Valdeblore. Enjoy the Lacs des Millefonts and the atmospheric Col du Barn, before swinging up to the Téte des Margés ridge, where if you are very lucky you might see Ibex at rest down below or even a lone wolf on the prowl.
  • Day 4 - Free day. Excursions to Nice can be arranged, or there are short day walks starting at St Martin Vésubie or Berthemont.
  • Day 5 - From Le Boréon wind your way slowly up to the Col de Salèse, before pushing on up to the Tête Sud des Bresses, giving some boulder fields some welly, and then enjoy your lunch with magnificent views of the Alps to the North.
  • Day 6 - Once more to Le Boréon but in a different direction, taking in chamois alley before hitting the stunning Lacs Besson – imagining clear blue water and sky with craggy granite cliffs in the middle distance, and the Haute Boréon. Should conditions allow, Cime Guilié is the target where you can enjoy views down to the Piedmont plain and Cuneo in the distance.
  • Day 7 - The third and most beautiful local valley - La Gordolasque – where a good day out will lead you to the imposing Lac Autier, and the Baisse du Basto. A super last day out – well until your next time here!!
  • Day 8 - Depart from Berthemont or Valdeblore to Nice.

What's included

  • Full board accommodation.
  • Berthemont – Gîte based - provisions and hot pastries provided for breakfast, picnic lunch, home cooked dinners – 2 meals enjoyed with your hosts, the balance delivered to your door ready to eat, or together with fellow guests. Wine and beer provided
  • Valdeblore - Chambre d'hôte : All meals, inclusive of packed lunches.  Dinners around communal table. Table wine with meals
  • Transport : To and from all venues. To and from Nice airport
  • Activities : Five days guided walking with a qualified International Mountain Leader

Dates :

2014 : Apr 11; May3,24,31; Jun 28; Jul 5

Grade :

Walking - Moderate - suitable for adults and children of age 14 or over

See our grades explained here

Pricing :

Gîte based : £615 pp

Chambre d'hôte based : £725 pp

Single supplement : £125 for the week