Mercantour National Park self guided walking, France

“Great value 7 day self-guided walking holiday, based in same gite throughout, in Mercantour National Park, in Alpes Maritimes, just an hour from Nice. No car needed.”

Highlights

Mercantour NP | La Madone de Fenestre | Cime de l’Agnelliere | Valdeblore village | Lacs des Millefonts | Col du Barn | Téte des Margés ridge | Options for horseriding and mountain biking | Salèse valley | Téte Sud des Bresses summit | Besson lakes | La Gordolasque river | Berthemont les Bains thermal spa

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Map

Departure information

Please enquire for dates for 2016. Flexible departures - dependent on availability of accommodation
Our top tip:
Don’t even think about hiring a car for this trip. Trains and buses are amazing. And get the train all the way to Nice if you can.
Trip type:
Self-guided, centre based.
Activity level:
Flexible itineraries so level is up to you.
Accomm:
Farm gites.
Included:
Accommodation, all meals, walking itineraries, transport to and from walks.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for own room.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Mercantour National Park self guided walking, 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, already have a super "green" heat pump for hot water and central heating and are still working on other development ideas.

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 program 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 Mercantour National Park self guided walking, 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 21 May 2016 by

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


Seeing varied wildlife, including ibex, while walking in Mercantour National Park- which seemed to be virtually empty!

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


Getting there by public transport is very easy, the bus only costs Euro 1.50. Also, bring layers- we spent one day in Mediterranean type climate, and the next day negotiating a big snow bank.

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


A lot of the food provided was locally produced, in an area that largely relies on tourism for income. Our hosts also made an effort to recycle.

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


We really enjoyed this holiday, the way marking is very good, the walking is lovely, and we could be out all day and not see another soul. Mel provided clear instructions and maps, which made the whole trip very easy, and Liz cooked tasty food, and catered for vegetarians- which if often not that common in rural France.

Reviewed on 10 May 2016 by

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


Wonderful scenery, food, charming villages, friendly people and being so well
looked after.

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


Check out the current times/services for the buses and left luggage in Nice
before your trip. They seem to change quite often and this was the only part of
the trip which caused us hassle.
Pack for every kind of weather...we were literally making snowmen one day and in shorts the next!

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


We used a lot of public transport and didnt have a hire car, did some shopping
locally and visited the Alpha Wolf Centre which is a conservation organisation.

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


Super! Mel and Liz are great hosts and it is a beautiful part of France.

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks very much Karen and famiy - it was a pleasure to welcome you all here. We'll get the latest information which I sent to you by mail before your visit, added to the website. Hope to see you again - in Provence!!! You chose a good week - this week - as is often the case for the Cannes Film Festival - it is very mixed weather.

Reviewed on 05 Oct 2016 by

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


Saw a group of Chamois high in the mountains.

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?




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


Mel & Liz Jones are Brits who have made their home in France. They try hard to ensure your holiday is a success. Liz will adapt her cooking to whatever food you prefer and Mel will also modify his walks to suit whatever your walking ability.

Reviewed on 04 Nov 2014 by

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


Everything. The scenery was wonderful and despite the time of year (mid October) there were still plenty of flowers and wildlife to see. The self-guided walks were easy to follow and provided a good variety of landscape and interest. The food was exceptional: vegan plus gluten free and vegetarian diets fully catered for and different but always amazing food provided every day. The facilities provided in the gite were excellent and the hosts Mel and Liz were always friendly and helpful - nothing was too much trouble. Lastly the whole holiday represented excellent value for money. We will be booking again!

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


For anyone who is veggie or particularly vegan (or even gluten free and vegan) and wondering if it is possible to get adequate food when on holiday do not worry as Liz will provide balanced healthy meals and for once it will not be necessary to take lots of food with you just in case there is nothing to eat. For anyone who is into walking and wildlife this is a really excellent holiday.

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


Walking within the national park we felt supported conservation with little impact on the environment. We also visited small villages and the Alpha wolf sanctuary all of which will have benefited local people.

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


Excellent in all ways. One of the best holidays we have ever had.

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2014 by

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


Excellent walking in superb mountain scenery.

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


Hosts Mel and Liz very generous with sharing their knowledge and love of the Mercantour. Excellent detailed notes and maps provided. Outstanding home-cooked food.

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


Used local buses to arrive and leave.
Superb local sourcing of cheeses, meat, honey, vegetables and fruit and local wines.
Sheltered drying area.
Greater understanding of challenges of living near a National Park and close knit community spirit

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


Excellent gite-based self-guided walking holiday with exceptional company and food.

Reviewed on 23 May 2014 by

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


Walking in the beautiful Alpes Maritimes. It was great to have walks planned for us by our hosts and to be taken to our starting point and picked up at the end of the walk.

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?


We were able to travel from Scotland by train and local bus to reach our destination.

Our hosts seem to be well integrated in the local community and by living there and bringing in holiday makers they no doubt help to sustain this area of small villages.

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


Excellent. Our accommodation was good, our hosts friendly, welcoming, helpful in every way. It was wonderful to have all our meals prepared for us and we really enjoyed Liz's cooking. It felt a bit like staying with friends. We loved this part of France and would love to return.

Reviewed on 08 Apr 2014 by

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


Following the wolf tracks up through the forest to then put on our snowshoes to climb up the rest of the ridge, with views on every side and not a soul about. We could even see back down to the gite, 1500 metres below! The Mercantour is stunning and a relatively undiscovered piece of the world.

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


If staying in the centre of Nice you can catch the number 59 or 730 bus up to the mountains, from one of the bus stops on the promenade.

Absolutely everything is provided food and accommodation wise so, other than a decent pair of walking boots and clean clothes, there is very little you need to worry about bringing.

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


Yes. It benefitted local people (local purchases of honey and cheese - still enjoying very much now!) and brought us to an area with relatively little tourism at that time of year. Environmentally, we felt there could be more done on the recycling / composting side but the horses act as excellent dustbins!

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


Excellent, very relaxing. Great having our own "chauffeur" for the week, dropping us off and picking us up from each walk and lovely being able to hike in a variety of places, with the security of having local knowledge about where we were and the routes we were walking. The food was excellent and we were never left hungry - 4 course meals every evening, a different and delicious lunch every single day with never a limp lettuce sarnie in sight, and warm pastries every morning. The gite was very warm, clean and comfortable and the shower was steaming and strong (highly necessary after a day snowshoeing!). Liz and Mel are very welcoming hosts and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

Read the operator's response here:

Glad you had a great time - on the re-cycling front - of course the horses are the first repository for equine suitable stuff - after which the residue of compostables goes to the compost heap and all glass/plastics and cartons go to local rec-cycling up the road in Berthemont. Any meagre (given your wonderful appetites) "leavies" or empties were checked out before any waste disposed of.xx

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