Activity vacation in France

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Activity vacation in France

Environment

Food air miles are limited here as fresh organic produce, fruit and veg, milk, cheese and honey (and now from our own bees!!) are available within walking distance. Our water comes straight from the hill. We also grow our own vegetables, which we are happy to share with our guests.

Although we are 5km from the nearest town, we do try to encourage guests to use the €1.50 Alpes-Maritimes bus, and limit our road miles as much as possible using our minibus.

We recycle as much as possible and now have a "green" heat pump for hot water and central heating.

Information is provided to our guests to enable them to enjoy the Park to the maximum while showing the utmost respect for the environment. We only use local, qualified guides who are passionate about the area that they live in. They are paid a living wage for their excellent services.

We are 100% focused on creating awareness of this magical corner of South East France. Your walking leader is a partner of the Mercantour National Park, which has a continual training programme for its leaders, to keep them abreast of developments and issues, and to enrich their local knowledge. Visitors can enjoy an unspoilt mountain environment and appreciate a traditional rural way of life. As permanent residents we are fully integrated into the community in the Vésubie valley.

Our base
As we await permission to fulfill our vision for our centuries old farm house and land, we are keen to implement as many environmentally sympathetic measures as possible. We encourage the preservation of our pure water which comes straight off the mountain and use our splendid climate for laundry drying outside.

As much waste as possible is re-cycled, including pony manure which goes straight onto our vegetable patch. We aim to be as self sufficient as possible from your own garden. Guests are welcome to help themselves to fruit and vegetables.

When meals are provided they are prepared with local produce only, often solely from the Vésubie valley. Vegetarians are willingly catered for. Energy efficient bulbs are used throughout the house. We try to minimise the use of paper in our office. Guests are encouraged to shop locally and of course to respect the integrity of the National Park.

Working relationships
We only work with qualified guides for all activities. These passionate locals create a genuine and rich experience for our visitors. They are paid the appropriate rate for professional guides. Our local accommodation partners are chosen for their warm welcome and a willingness to share their love for the region.

Business development
In the longer term we will use abundant natural resources (wood and sunshine) for heat and light as well as providing alternative accommodation on our land. We work closely with other like minded partners here in the Mercantour, and can offer other eco accommodation, plus those adapted for the less mobile. We have have our own horses who are available for riding and taking out as a companion on day walks.

Community

We have lived here in the Mercantour for 12 years and are proud to be part of the community. The area, despite its proximity to the French Riviera, is quite poor, but inhabited by people who are passionate about the area, so we are delighted to be able to make an impact on the local economy. Our guests can take advantage of our local knowledge for walks and other activities, and recommendations for fun places to eat and drink. Therefore guests don't waste a Euro or a day being disappointed, and our local suppliers who merit support, get it.

We support the active community in Roquebilliere with its local weekly market, and buy as much as possible from local producers. We are also keen to contribute to cultural events which keep the "patrimoine" of the area buoyant - these include dancing in the village square in July and August, a summer program of music and drama, an art gallery showcasing local talent, and a cost free system for bartering goods and services between inhabitants.

When using other accommodation we try to ensure that a night could be spent with a local farmer or craftsmen, providing valuable income to our hosts and also giving guests an appreciation of a typical rural life here.

Reviews of Activity vacation in France

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 30 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Too many parts to single out one! As a family we loved the Aqua Rando canyoning trip, became addicted to the summer luge at La Colmiane and our trek with Mel to the Mountain Refuge was a great way to see some of the mountains and swim in a rather chilly lake at 2000 metres!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take advantage of Liz's delicious home cooking if you are able to book a few meals with her - delivered by Mel to your veranda, where you can dine looking out of beautiful views of the mountains - who needs restaurants.....

Make use of the local outdoor eco pool in Roquebilliere - very good.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It certainly benefited local people given the focus on booking activities using local guides

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We had a great family vacation - Liz and Mel were terrific hosts - very helpful in every way and their gite is in a great spot no more than 30 mins drive to any of the outdoor activities we had booked and nearby to good restaurants too.

Reviewed on 17 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Lunch on a summit La Cime de Guilie at 2999m with 360 degree views encompassing Italy and France.
Close up views of ibex, chamois, marmots and multiple sightings of eagles and vultures.
Swimming in mountain lakes after a long, hot uphill walk.
Fireflies at night.
Canyoning in the River Vesubie.


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


French drivers take the twisting mountain corners very fast and aren't patient. There are lots of passing places. Pull in and let them past.


3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. We visited the local boulangerie every morning and bought huge numbers of croissants and baguettes. We accepted the offer of gite cleaning half way through the vacation and the fee went directly to the local cleaner. We employed the use of a local guide for mountain touring and canyoning. We recycled plastics and glass. We visited a wonderful local pizza restaurant L'abatoir Ancien in Belvedere.


4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. Liz and Mel were excellent hosts. Very thoughtful very knowledgeable about local area.

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The boys loved cayonning - jumping off of cayons into pools; I loved horse riding American style through the mountains - it was fantastic & Liz was a terrific guide. We also climbed up to some glacial lakes with Mel - which was an incredible experience. Even though I started to wish that there was a helicopter taxi service on the mountain at one point!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you have plenty of light weight outdoors type clothing - & leave yourself a few rest days at the end. Even our teenagers were exhausted.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We ate locally and all of the activities that we participated in were run by local people. We did not have to travel very far to access the activities thus reducing the use of the car.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We had a fantastic time; Liz & Mel were fantastic tour guides and it was great to have them as a reference base. Having their support meant that we could be more adventurous then we would have had the confidence to be alone. With their vast local knowledge we were able to support local businesses. I would recommend this type of vacation to any family who want to do something different to sitting on a beach or in a big resort.

Reviewed on 02 Sep 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Doing the Via Ferrata in La Colmaine... never would have tried rock climbing like this if we had known what it was like before hand but then would never have had the satisfaction of going places you can't get to any other way... just needed to avoid looking down!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Get a little fitter and you can do much much more without it hurting so much the next day!!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we went to restaurants the locals use and provided income to summer activity organisers who also look after the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fantastic, Mel and Liz are the most friendly and helpful vacation organisers I have ever met. They made everything really easy and were flexible and hardworking helping us to do all the things we wanted to. The Mercantour is a spectacular area of France and being off the tourist beaten track makes it all the more beautiful.

Reviewed on 04 Sep 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The whole "refuge" experience. The via ferrata. 5 course dinners that were an event in themselves.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't be scared - it's all safely done and hugely enjoyable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A wonderful experience. 10/10. Liz and Mel had everything covered, organised, thought out. They really do want their guests to have a great vacation, and do all they can to achieve that. I will certainly be recommending this vacation to people, and would hope to go again myself.

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


All of the trip was special, but both the Horse Riding (for the new challenge) and the Via Ferrata (for shear terror) stood out. I don’t however want to take anything from the Walk which was very very good.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Learn a bit of French, this is not Paris and a little French will go a long way!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent, DO THIS!

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