“Our only winter walking and snowshoeing in the exquisite Mercantour National Park, fully guided and full board, for eight days of mountain magnificence”
Mercantour NP | Saint Martin Vésubie | Vésubie valley | La Madone de Fenestre | Baisse de Cinq Lacs | Lacs des Prals | Col de Salese | Lac Negre | Utelle | Vallon des Erps | GR5 walking trail over the Brec d’Utelle.
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Moderate. Reasonable level of fitness required. Min. age 14.
Rural gîte or chambre d'hôte.
Accommodation, all meals, transport from Nice, transport to and from walks, fully qualified guide, snow shoe hire.
Solo travelers welcome. Surcharge for own room.
Responsible tourism: Winter walking & snowshoeing, France
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, already have a super "green"heat pump for hot water and central heating as well as being full of other development ideas.
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 program 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.
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 Winter walking & snowshoeing, 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
Having a great variety of walking experiences was wonderful - from full-on snowshoeing to walking over ice and snow with cleats/microspikes on our boots to gazing across from the mountain tops at the MedRead full review
Reviewed on 30 Dec 2013 by Bernadette Russo
Excellent!!!!! This vacation had so many wonderful moments...each and every moment spent there was memorableRead full review
Reviewed on 03 Mar 2013 by Anne White
Walking in the beautiful natural habitat with the chamois and finding out about the fauna and flora of the mountains was excellent. The company was great, the days well structured and organised and Liz and Mel great hosts so that made the vacation one to remember.Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Feb 2012 by Helen Moody
An excellent vacation. Mel and Liz are great hosts and the itinerary was adapted according to the weather/snow conditions to ensure that the guests enjoyed a well-balanced programme of winter walking/snow-shoeing.Read full review
Reviewed on 22 Feb 2012 by Sue Rushfirth
There were many memorable parts to the vacation. We were made very welcome by Mel and Liz who are superb and generous hosts. The walks were all well planned with care and thought to be both challenging but varied each day.Read full review
Reviewed on 18 Feb 2012 by Adrian Porter
Spending a day walking in superb mountains in the snow with a like-minded small
group, and then on the way back managing to spot five wolves (in a reserve, but
it is huge so rare to see them!) and hearing them howl - which reverberated
across the valley - spine-chilling and totally amazing!Read full review
Reviewed on 04 Jan 2012 by Rachel Spencer
There were so many 'wow' moments, but I guess the snow-shoe walking was the best, closely followed by the fabulously sunny winter walking, the great hosts, the fantastic accommodation, great locally sourced food, etc. etc. ......
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Most memorable? Stunning views from high up in the Parc National de Mercantour, well worth the effort of climbing 1000 metres. Also Liz's home cooking, delish!!!! Wonderful, would like do it all again and probably will before too long.
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Reviewed on 02 Mar 2011 by Geoffrey Cunningham
An easy going and healthy week in the sun and the mountains, just what I needed in the middle of the UK winter...Read full review
Reviewed on 21 Feb 2011 by John Dixie
The snowshoeing on the sunny days was most memorable...The vacation was everything we expected and hoped it would be.Read full review
Reviewed on 29 Dec 2010 by John Vose
Most memorable was snow shoeing in beautiful scenery and great weather.Read full review
Reviewed on 21 Apr 2009 by Jennifer Steward
A good balance of challenging physical activity in a beautiful environment with fantastic food, wine and company.Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Apr 2008 by Paul Smyth
Every day was exciting and memorable because each day we had a different activity and went to a different place. Our guides tailor made and adapted the vacation to suit us.Read full review