Mercantour family hiking vacation, France

“A firm family favourite, this self-guided vacation takes you not only through the Alps but from one bed to the next, with the help of a donkey to carry your bags.”


Mercantour National Park | Villeplane village | Sauze | De la Lare plateau | The postman’s Trail from St Martin to Val Pelens | Entraunes | Glacial lakes | A donkey!

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip departs from mid-May to end-September; best time to go is springtime for the flora
Our top tip:
Bring treats to entice young ones up the inclines. And buy proper boots. It can be slippery under foot.
Trip type:
Self-guided. Min. age 5.
Activity level:
Mix of ecolodge, yurt, hotels and mountain inns.
Accommodation, all meals, donkey to carry luggage.
A family trip with family rooms.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

For travelers who want more real and authentic vacations that also benefit the environment and local people, we provide direct benefits to the local population. Our walks are a sample of sustainable development project for abandoned rural areas. We support small local accommodations and work exclusively with local partners, helping them to generate the bookings that they need to survive in a depopulating and remote area.

In 1993, the park received the European Year of the Environment label and an award for nature conservation aimed at recognising international conservation efforts. This award was renewed in 1998 by a decision of the ministerial committee of the Council of Europe.

Guests will be encouraged to respect the nature in the national Park, through ecological information. Documents and information are available, for example concerning marked walking trails or the network of mountain refuges, to facilitate the visitor's understanding of the Park territory and conservation policies.

We run guided tours to teach visitors how to interpret the landscape, for example at the Lac d'Allos. This type of activity, particularly suitable for children, contributes to a sense of eco-citizenship.

The Impacts of this Trip

Our commitments
To maintain the importance of providing an economic contribution directly to the locals of the valley who live here all year round, favouring a network of 'chez l'habitant' hosts and always choosing local products over their industrialised, cheaper versions. This has lead us to create an alternative alimentation; Picnics made up of mixed salads, crops and vegetables from the garden, organic bread, cheeses from the region, etc. With our hosts and clients alike, we are developing an alternative idea of nutrition whereby quality, natural, reasonable price, and specific tastes (especially those of children) are united.
To manage a tourism which we control, and not be tempted to delegate or to grow; To maintain the importance of quality and of improving our services.
A question of quality in response to your demands: This year, we are proposing for your last day, an alternative trek in contrast to the classic one (lac d'allos) in order to satisfy the desires of those of you who are passionate about secret and wild mountains.
To instruct visitors to the region about pastoralism, the roots of our culture, through encounters with shepherds on our guided treks.

You will share heart-warming moments with real, full-of-life people around a well-garnished table.


8 Reviews of Mercantour family hiking vacation, France

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2018 by

5* Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2018 by

I did the hike together with my daughter who is ten years and I think from this travel she could more benefit for her life than from any other materialised consumerism such as buying stuff … Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Jun 2018 by

It was fantastic. We loved it (even when it rained). Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Jun 2018 by

Traveling with a Donkey as companion - a delightful character. We were early in the season so it was very quiet . . . . and the Alpine Flowers were wonderful. Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2017 by

Our children would say Kaia, our donkey who they bonded with was the most memorable. For me, the emptiness and the views. Possibly my favourite spot of all was the Chappelle St-Barnabe near Val Pelens where we whiled away a couple of hours in glorious sunshine with spectacular views. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Aug 2015 by

Awesome, it has raised the bar for next year! Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Aug 2014 by

The whole thing was memorable! Our 6 year old and 4 year old leading "Leonidas" our donkey through the French Alps, sleeping in a beautiful yurt in an Alpine meadow, and feeling like we'd done something completely different to the typical "bucket and spade" type of vacation. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Aug 2011 by

The mountains, flora and fauna in an exceptionally beautiful and unspoilt part of the world, within and on the periphery of the Mercantour National Park in the French maritime Alps were most memorable. Read full review

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