In the heart of the Parc National du Mercantour, the Vallée des Merveilles is as intriguing as it is dazzling. Renowned for the beauty of its natural colours and its rocky curiosities, the Vallée des Merveilles is a must-do for recharging your batteries in peace.
Wild and Snowy in Winter
Enchanting Snowshoe Walks
Winter blankets the rock engravings of the Parc National du Mercantour with a white coat. Buried under the snow, this natural jewel sparkles in the winter sun of the Southern Alps. Head off in snowshoes on the snowy paths to conquer its icy landscapes – the wild animals leading the way to great discoveries. With the enthusiastic Guide des Merveilles team, you can take part in one of their themed days to go to meet wolves. Seeing them up close, Kevin Costner’s film takes on a different dimension. But in this valley where nature is Queen, you will rediscover patience and silence, as you will often cross paths with roaming chamois and mountain goats. Finally, if there are no reindeer, don’t be surprised if you come across sled dogs towing visitors!
An Emerald Glow in Spring
On Nice Days, the Valley’s Lakes Shimmer
In spring, the Vallée des Merveilles, puts on its most beautiful colours. First, climb towards Mont Bégo in search of the finest spot to observe the Lac des Conques or the Lac de l’Huile. They offer different points of view with the same conclusion: breath-taking views! By the Baisse de Valmasque, the panorama opens up to 360°. Later, lakes appear one after the other, a gorgeous palette of radiant shades of blue. Finally, the Lac des Mesches and its emerald glow will appear, bordered by a fauna in full bloom. Moreover, this protected natural site remains a special habitat for fauna and flora. Here, you can enjoy an extraordinary wealth of plants – more than 200 species – particularly due to the diverse altitude varying from 150 to more than 3,000 metres.
Rock Carvings when Summer Comes
Engraved Stories to Decipher While You Hike
To roam across the Vallée des Merveilles via its famous Vallon Autier followed by the Les Arpettes descent, you have to climb 1310 metres! A sporting route , but a classic for experienced hikers. Rock carvings are scattered on the mountainside – there are no less than 40,000 that together provide a unique spectacle. These geological gems can also, indeed, be explored on easier guided tours . Allow three hours for the tour – the best way to immerse in this special atmosphere to the fullest. Suddenly transforming into an open-air museum, there is nothing to do but fill up on fresh air and admire the raw beauty carved in the rock and tempered by time.
Sporty Until Autumn
A 4x4 for an All-Terrain Adventure
When the leaves fall, don’t be discouraged. It’s the ideal season to traverse the roads on a 4x4 for maximum thrills on your Vallée des Merveilles visit. Whether you go for a full- or half-day outing, guides are at your service. They are available to accompany you and uncover all the secrets of the area. But for the boldest, hiking helps you enjoy the gifts of autumn up close: landscapes in flamboyant colours, the rusty leaves of the larches, and the great peace after the frenzy of the summer holidays. And, most importantly, the gentleness of autumn light during which this “Valley of Wonders” becomes utterly romantic.
PARC NATIONAL DU MERCANTOUR: AN EXCEPTIONAL LAND
Alongside the Italian border, the Parc National du Mercantour is the last stage of the Alps before they spill into the Mediterranean Sea. This exceptional setting between the sea and the mountains offers a diversity of landscapes and wildlife that is well worth the detour.