Le Parc national du Mercantour is a marvel of nature with its clear water lakes, its fauna and flora, a true parenthesis of tranquility.
One of eleven French national parks
Between the sea and the mountains, le parc national du Mercantour is a mountain area par excellence : large mountain pastures, clear water lakes, protective larch forests, very diverse flora. A bubble of oxygen, a parenthesis of tranquility far from the urban bustle, the Parc du Mercantour is home to a rich and wild fauna that will be offered to hikers who want to take their time. You are bound to love it ! Listed in 1979, the Mercantour National Park is one of eleven French national parks. Covering 1,801 km², it includes six valleys with distinct character: Verdon, Var-Cians, Ubaye, Tinée, Vésubie and Roya-Bévéra.
An incredible biodiversity
For the sake of sustainable development, the park’s main missions are to know the biotopes and ecosystems by carrying out inventories and counts of fauna and flora, to supervise tourist attendance and above all to share the richness of the natural space by creating a place of respect. Follow the park program! In the summer season, there is no shortage of entertainment proposals. Each more attractive than the other, they give the keys to the secrets of the park and its incredible biodiversity : tracking the animals of the park, observation of birds of prey or bats, screening of animal or geological films, Tales evening and legends under the stars… The youngest will enjoy observing, drawing and playing with the incredible richness offered by the park. The best? Hikes off the marked trails with the park guides, they are the only ones to open the secret doors of this preserved world to you.
In the heart of the parc national du Mercantour, the Fontanalba valley has nothing to envy to its twin, the Vallée des Merveilles. With its bucolic landscapes, its wonderful flora made of orchids, lilies, gentians or anemones, it is a paradise for lovers of wild and unspoilt nature. Imagine: the chamois and ibexes play tightrope walkers on the cut-out rocks, at the Gias des Pasteurs, the marmots point the tip of their snouts in the middle of the fritillaries. Along the Sacred Way, a vast reddish slab, the Neolithic rock engravings are exposed to the open sky. No, you’re not dreaming ! Majestic Valmasque valley with its colorful lakes ! We evolve in a setting of majestic and protective larches. In height, the landscape emerges and opens onto the Valmasque refuge in focus, totally melted into the lunar decor of the green lake.
Hiking along lakes and torrents
The etagnes, not very shy, drink in the water reservoirs often in the company of their young. And if you know how to move quietly, marmots may come to greet you. At the gateway to the Vallée des Merveilles, the hamlet of Casterino offers an exceptional setting for mountain lovers. In summer, far from the urban hustle and bustle, we enjoy hiking along lakes and torrents, wild and preserved landscapes. The incredible tree climbing of Les Merveilles seduces young and old. At Lac des Grenouilles, the nocturnal croaking lulls the most daring hikers. In winter, the landscape is adorned with its white coat and, in a stunning setting of larches and pines, offers all the pleasures of the mountains: toboggan runs, snowshoe hikes, ski touring. Authentic mountain lovers, look no further: you have found your destination!