How on earth we pack everything into our France travel guide is beyond me however, pack it all in we do and if you’re looking for what we rate & what we don’t as well as Responsible Travel’s best & worst high and low lights then read on to discover France like a local, cuisses de grenouilles and all.
Mercantour National Park travel guide
Just an hour from Nice await 685km² of Alpine terrain, sandstone gorges, turquoise lakes, ancient shepherds’ trails and a handful of hamlets. Bordering Italy, Mercantour National Park protects vast swathes of the Alpes-Maritimes and the Alpes de Haute-Provence regions. The highest peak is Cime du Gélas at 3,143m, with plenty of cols to conquer, vertiginous valleys to explore, gushing glacial rivers to paddle in and lakes to lull by. All accessible on 600km of waymarked footpaths including some of the famous long distance ‘Grande Randonees’ routes that traverse Europe.
Yes, Nice is chic. But just an hour by train takes you into the Mercantour National Park, an unknown gem within the Southern Alps. Lose your money in Nice. But lose yourself in the Mercantour.
Indeed this is a region to traverse in tranquility, in all four seasons, as it is still virtually unknown by travelers, even though it has been, rightly, earmarked for UNESCO World Heritage status. So, take this tiny trek away from the coast because Nice is nice. But the Mercantour is spectacular. Our Mercantour travel guide reveals why...
Our Mercantour Vacations
Best time to go to the Mercantour
Best thing about hiking in May? When we got too hot we stripped off, stuck our clothes in the icy, glacial river, and put them back on again.
Unless you are snowshoeing in winter, the snows don’t really melt here until May but, when they do, the pastures and rocky slopes explode into a wildflower wonderland. Honeypots such as Vallée des Merveilles and Saint Martin Vesubie pack out with day trippers in summer, particularly on weekends. But a tour operator can create an itinerary that steers you away from these at peak times. Autumn is also when the trees come alive, with the sumac and larch leaves turning through the glorious gamut. Beware of lightning storms if hiking in the summer months.
If you'd like to chat about Mercantour or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.
Mercantour National Park Weather Chart
More about Mercantour
Learn more about things to do in Mercantour National Park as you check out our Mercantour map and highlights and read a few tips from our travelers and our friends in France.