A French Riviera Walking tour in the Mercantour National park
Enjoying a French Riviera walking holiday, especially in the Mercantour National park, is an outstanding walking experience in what is certainly one of the most beautiful French national parks. Formerly the hunting grounds of King Victor Emmanuel II, who was the first to acknowledge the beauty of this area, but also the fragility of its fauna and flora, King Victor Emmanuel II was the first to try and reintroduce animals in the area, as he had noticed that the amount of animals was drastically reducing over the years. Today it is one of the most famous hiking grounds in the French Riviera, but also in France.
But what are the best sites in the Mercantour that you can discover during a French riviera walking tour?
The Valley of Marvels
Nestled in the valleys of the Mercantour, and located between 1900m and 2700m high, the “Vallée des Merveilles” that spans over the course of 17km, is certainly the most notorious sites of the Mercantour National Park. Located in the heart of the Valley of Fontalba, in between the “Lac Vert” – Green lake – and the “Lacs Jumeaux” – the Twin lakes – the Valley of Marvels is marvellous for several reasons:
- The paintings that date back to Neolithic and indeed, along the path – that you must not divert from as it is a strictly protected area – you will have the chance to see incredible wall paintings that date to the early ages of mankind. Witness of the change in the area, these painting of priceless archeologic value, in one of the most incredible landscape made of a chaotic display of mineral promontories, home to a rare and endemic vegetation. There are no less than 40 000 bronze age petroglyphs on the slopes of the Mount Bego. A French Riviera walking tour back to the beginning of the presence of mankind in the South of France.
- The beautiful landscape of this area, mostly made of chaotic mineral promontories, is a thing of beauty: enjoying a walking tour in this part of the French Riviera is the perfect way to enjoy one of the greatest views of the Mercantour National park, a sweet escape from the daily routine, in one of the very first protected area in Europe (1859).
The Allos Lake
The biggest natural lake located at over 2200metres above sea level, this lake is the definition of exquisite natural beauty: originating from a glacier, that has long melted, this lake is surrounded by 5 sandstone peaks and overlooked by the Mount Pelat, culminating at 3050 metres. A walking tour up to this lake is definitely worth the hassle as you will discover this high-altitude lake, nestled at the foot of one of the highest mountains in the Mercantour National park.
The Pelat Mountain
Peaking at 3000 metres,this mountain, known as one of the easiest 3000m high climb in the Alps, the mountain is the chance to experience a 360 view over the Mercantour, Alps and down to the Sainte Victoire mountain, when looking southwards. Its name comes from the fact that this mountain has a very sparse vegetation, allowing the local fauna to freely roam around it, and of course, for hikers, to enjoy an ethereal view. The perfect hiking tour climb!
Have a look at our French Riviera walking tours!