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The Southern alps: three hikes to get close to the summits wild Mercantour

asset-Backed the Italian border, in the high country of nice, the Mercantour massif is one of the natural gems French riviera. Since 1979, its exceptional biological wealth and the remarkable diversity of its landscapes are protected within a national park namesake whose contours delimit a vast territory of about 1,800 km2. A field to escape single, just an hour and a half from the coast, that offers all type of walkers a variety of routes oxygenated to close in on the peaks. Three suggestions of routes with varied decorations for different levels.

read also : The Mercantour in running order Breakaway easy and family along the amazing trail planetary Valberg The path to be global, which imitates the solar system, calls to breaks educational and contemplative. Pierre Tardieu - Caroline Audibert

Welcome to the solar system. Throughout this hike atypical at the start of the resort of Valberg , each metre represents one million kilometres in space. By the way, in addition to the mountain scenery and the peaks looming in the distance, one crosses the Sun, Mercury, Venus, the Earth and all the planets up to Neptune, represented by sculptures inserted in nature or perched on mounds of rock. Works mineral, wood, steel as well as explanatory panels that reveal the secrets of astronomy along as the promenade, inviting to breaks educational and contemplative.

Property specified, the start of the route is located next to the ski lifts. A first path to the low elevation leads through forests and alpine meadows up to the lake of the Senator . Please do not hesitate to install you in the shade of the larch trees surrounding the lunch break. The route then continues in the balcony, with beautiful views, to reach a climax where is Uranus, and then below, the lake Anguillers , with an impressive calendar solar stone-gross.

Finally, after a stop at viewpoint of the unknown Planet , at the end of a ridge with panoramic views (partially a little more sporty), we reach the plain of Neptune to contemplate a vast panorama, punctuated by peaks rising to over 2,000 metres. Before you come back down to earth...

Duration : up to 4h30, depending on the options and breaks. A first option "discovery" of 2 hours is possible from the Sun to the lake of the Senator and back again. There is also a variant, to extend the route, the trail Nine (loop 2 km ).

Difficulty : easy, low altitude and well signposted trail.

Access: Nice, go up the valley of the Var by the RM 6202, then the RD 6202 up to Touët-sur-Var. Shortly after the village, take the road to the right of the gorge of the Cians (RD 28) and the follow up to Beuil, and then win Valberg.

More details: the route is ready for hiking snowshoeing in winter. Int. and details: www.valberg.com. Tel.: +33 (0)

Route oxygenated between waterfalls and larch trees up to the lake of TrécolpasSur the circuit Trécolpas, the path climbs gently through the trees and rocks, crossing streams and waterfalls. Franck Guigo the Mercantour national Park

green landscapes, the smell of pine trees, fresh air, trickling water, and finally, a lake soothing the familiar peaks : here are the promises of this hike in the heart of the high-Vésubie , starting from Boréon . The path climbs gently through the trees and rocks, crossing streams, natural pools and small waterfalls that you cross sometimes with the aid of wooden walkways. One then discovers the refuge de Cougourde , the name of the famous rocky peak in the shape of a pumpkin (cougourde in provençal) that dominates. From June to September, this wooden chalet set in an enchanting setting offers the cottage, the picnic and dinner on reservation. As on all the rest of the journey, we are watching the chamois and ibex, amateurs.

It must be then less than an hour before reaching the point of arrival. After a quiet way, and then a short but sporting final climb, we see the placid water and green of the lake of the Trécolpas , considered by many as one of the most beautiful in the Mercantour. You should not hesitate to bypass it to see its best profile and discover the island that is hidden. One benefits of this haven of peace nestled in the hollow of the peaks to bathe in the water (very) cool, have a picnic or basking in the sun. The more courageous can even continue the hike towards other horizons such as the refuge de la Madone de Fenestre or Not Misers .

Duration : between 4 and 5 hours. At the level of the tag 425, it is possible to reach directly the lake Trécolpas without making the loop through the refuge, or by borrowing, rather than at the back.

Difficulty : medium, difference in altitude 500 m

Access: Nice, back up the RM 6202 up to Plan-du-Var. At the exit of the village, take to the right the RM 2565 up to St-Martin-Vésubie. Continue to the lac du Boréon and follow the route of the vacheries of the Boréon, then the track which leads to the upper car park. The departure is made by the wide path that goes up the left bank of the valley (tag 420 and 421).

More details: Refuge de Cougourde : www.refugelacougourde.ffcam.fr. Tel.!: +33 (0)6 27 36 13 41. St-Martin-Vésubie : +33(0)4 93 03 21 28, www.saintmartinvesubie.fr. Detailed directions on www.randoxygene.departement06.fr

sports Tour between lunar landscapes and red rocks on the ledges of the Cians The ridges of the Cians are referred to as the 'little Colorado of nice" because of the color wine rocks that they crisscross. Eric Bouteiller national Park of Mercantour

At the edge of Mercantour, this long, leisurely reserved for more sportifs is thanks to the diversity and uniqueness of its landscapes, a veritable invitation to travel. With a few grams of imagination, the walker can believe that tower to tower in the middle of the fir trees of the Taiga in Russian, in the heart of the plains of Mongolia, on the land of the mauritian seven colours or in den canyons of the american West.

The departure is not far from Beuil , in the gorges du Cians, , dubbed the 'little Colorado of nice" because of the color wine rocks that they crisscross. One sinks first in a dense forest to climb a rather steep slope and then numerous switchbacks up to a crossing of the barns in ruins. Little by little, the wood becoming more sparse, and the horizon clears, revealing a landscape more mineral, almost lunar. We advance along these slopes and meadows are devoid of vegetation, with a feeling of vastness, before you see the first touches of red, harbingers of valleys and mountains dazzling dressed in this warm and atypical.

The rock strata cut by the sharp on some sides, the earth also made up of pigments, garnet, contrast with the green of the fir trees that come up here and there is impressive. The end of the hike stretches a little length to what you see finally, below, the road to climb about 1 km to reach the starting point. But is this not the price to pay to travel far ?

Duration : 7-8h.

Difficulty : sport, altitude 920 mr.

Access: Nice, go up the valley of the Var by the RM 6202, then the RD 6202 up to Touët-sur-Var. Shortly after the village, take the road to the right of the gorge of the Cians (RD 28) and go up to approximately 3.5 km downstream of the village of Beuil. The departure is from a place called Pré de Chaudi (parking lot of red stones). It is necessary to cross the Cians at a ford to reach a small trail on the left bank (tag 67).

practical Information: Beuil, phone: +33 (0)4 93 02 20 20, www.beuil.fr. Circuit detailed on www.randoxygene.departement06.fr

And also

To learn more about the Mercantour: http://www.mercantour-parcnational.fr

The editorial team conseilleSavoie-mont Blanc : our 10 most beautiful hikes in altitudeAuvergne : four hikes unknown in the Chain of PuysSujetsAlpes-MaritimesProvence-Alpes-Côte d AzurvoyagerandonnéeTourismeAucun comment

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