Mercantour Park self catering gite, France

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Responsible tourism: Mercantour Park self catering gite, France

Environment

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 and now have a super green heat pump for hot water and central heating.

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 programme 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 horse who is available for riding and taking out as a companion on day walks.

Community

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 programme 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 Mercantour Park self catering gite, 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 holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Walking up to and visiting the rock art in the Vallee des Merveilles, and the Fete du Pain in St Martin Vésubie.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?




3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not especially

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Reviewed on 24 Feb 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing the gite. Beautifully appointed and furnished with spectacular views. Owners were excellent hosts and very friendly with plenty of local knowledge and information to impart.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Shop ahead as very few shops in the area but gite has spacious kitchen area and so cooking and eating is a real treat.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Local resources will be required to keep the gite and gardens maintained. Owners have ASHP heating which has low environ impact. Visitors who are attracted to area will appreciate wildlife and conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. We travelled with young family and would certainly stay again so cannot recommend it too highly.

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There was not a single walk that disappointed us - all were photogenic with often spectacular scenery and abundant flora and fauna. The weather was generally sunny and clear. If we had to choose one walk it would be lac Trecolpas.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Book as soon as possible - it is a great opportunity to experience the Mercantour National Park.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - the business really does contribute to the local economy. The fact that we did not have to hire a car (using public transport to reach the gite) and were taken to the start of each walk (and collected) reduced environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A really worthwhile and memorable holiday: the self guided walks were well planned and gave us a great idea of the locality; the food was very good and the garden(s) excellent for relaxing on our days off. We were given a very warm welcome and a friendly stay. We would certainly recommend this holiday to anyone who loves France, enjoys walking and wants relaxing weeks away from the daily grind.

Reviewed on 23 Sep 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Amazing 360 degree views on the walks in the Maritime Alps and the relaxed but informative approach of our guide Mel. The gite is very comfortable and well equipped and the food which was prepared by Liz was delicious and varied.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Mel and Liz are very flexible with the menu and are very happy to cater for the needs of travellers with special dietary requirements - let them know in advance. Don’t be afraid to let Mel know if you have any limitations or special requests - There are many and varied options for the walking and these can be taken into account. For any days off from walking the Alpha Wolf Park is worth a visit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Food was locally sourced where possible. Our hosts clearly have good relations with other local businesses and interact with them to benefit the local area and at the same time improve the experience of their guests and example being a local offering horse riding treks.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic in very way - a must visit destination for walkers.

Reviewed on 08 Jul 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It was the trip to Col de Fenetre (mountain pass between France and Italy, ca 2400 m ab. s. l.) where we admired numerous chamoises, marmots and even ibexes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Use your own car (or rented car) as the nearest shop in walking distance is more than one hour.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Local accommodation and living style as a whole has been ecologically suitable. Various interesting places can be reached by hiking. As the holiday was connected with the work on the NP Mercantour project "Biodiversity Inventory", our stay also supported conservation of local nature.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Ideal holiday for people seeking quiet stay close to undisturbed nature. Not good for people seeking entertainment.

Reviewed on 30 May 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The kind hospitality offered by the landlords.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


A visit to the alpha park with wolves near St Martin Vesubie.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We enjoyed staying with local people who are partly dependent on tourism for a living.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent.

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