Walking holiday in France, Mercantour Reflections

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06 May 2017
£ 645
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20 May 2017
£ 645
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10 Jun 2017
£ 645
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17 Jun 2017
£ 645
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08 Jul 2017
£ 645
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Walking holiday in France, Mercantour Reflections

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, already have a super "green" heat pump for hot water and central heating and are working on other development plans.

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 horses who are 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 program 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 Walking holiday in France, Mercantour Reflections

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 17 Oct 2014 by

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


Our first guided walk to Col de Fenestre was the highlight of the week for me. The route was filled with outstanding mountain views and we saw chamois, ibex, marmot and mouflon during the walk.

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


Book early so you can get a spot!


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


Yes - all of the above.

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


Tres bien! Liz and Mel took good care of us and went above and beyond our expectations to ensure our holiday was great. Good value, too!

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2012 by

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


The variety of the walks and scenery - and loads of wildlife. Marmot, chamois, vultures, various birds. Level of challenge was set just right for the needs of the group. Very hospitable and friendly hosts, who did so much for us. Fantastic food cooked for us every night! Lovely, spacious gite in a tranquil location.

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


Make sure you're properly kitted out with good boots, a water bottle you can easily access and comfortable walking gear. Walking pole/s are useful for long ascents/descents when knees start to get tired. Bring a warm layer for the evening (not the sweaty fleece you've been wearing all day...) as it can get a bit chilly.

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


Yes.

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


Great - would do it again! Really good value for money.

Reviewed on 06 Sep 2012 by

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


Exploring, mainly on foot, a 'new', relatively unknown but scenically stunning corner of France on the back of excellent, welcoming accommodation and hospitality.

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


You need to be quite fit to fully appreciate walking in high Alpine scenery - but with that proviso, go there! It is far less crowded than most Alpine areas; consequently there are higher chances to observe nature.

The walking itineraries are well constructed but adaptable in response to group preferences, capabilities, the weather, etc. Each walk is well-led by a knowledgeable, informative guide.

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


It was self-evident that wherever practical, food is locally sourced, that other local associated businesses are supported, and that there is some employment of local people.

During the walks we were conscious of being in a National Park and learnt something about the way in which the French National Park system is constituted and managed; we also increased our awareness of aspects of the local ecosystems, including issues surrounding Chamois over-population and the re-introduction/reappearance in the Mercantour of the Wolf.

It was possible to do plenty of walks in this location without the need to travel long distances by car to the start/end points.

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


The arrangements for this tour were impeccable. There was a wonderful combination of fine scenery; abundant wildlife; superb food; comfortable and welcoming accommodation; brilliant hosts/guides; historical, cultural and social dimensions; memorable mountain days. A high quality experience all round.

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