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Les Alpes-Maritimes (06)

​L ' Estérel

The last of the Mohicans

If the massif des Maures has brown skin, the Esterel, a red complexion. As a signal, beyond its volcanic origins, announcing the immediate presence behind its valleys of a Cote d'Azur urbanized oversimplification. Peeping on the foothills of the Turini, Mercantour and the Vésubie Valley, the Esterel mountains, with its red mine and its wild look a bit is the last of the Mohicans de Provence.

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Geographical situation

Burst of the Moors, the Esterel massif unfolds between Saint-Raphaël and La Napoule in Cannes entry. It bounces to his tower above Cannes with the massif of Tanneron, one of the oldest mountains in France.


The side lines up a typical landscape of coves and cliffs of red porphyry from the cliffs on which cling maritime pine (tree as a symbol to the Red trunk also) and fat ficoides which we'll let you guess the colour of the flowers. In amounting in the massif, across Cape Roux, offering one of the most beautiful views over the Mediterranean, the Walker will play in jumps-vallons in a tormented landscape. There are progresses in a maquis Arbutus and oak, tree heaths, bushes of Cistus with white flowers and the bright yellow broom.

Fauna and flora

Narcissus, tulips, snowdrops, iris... the valleys of the Esterel mountains are not stingy flowers or colors in the ambient red, one cannot miss the bright yellow of the mimosas, introduced to Australia in the 18th century and stars of the place. They are spread by dense clusters in the Esterel mountains and out of sight, especially in the massif of Tanneron, which is the largest producing region of the species in Europe.

Mal Infernet

It is one of the many ravines that characterise the Esterel. This one is accessible by car via a path which share the Bay of Agay (coming from Saint-Raphael) and which endorses a forest on the edge of the forest and then walk on the 3 km of these gorges, carpeted to a small stream and House surmounted by Red crests.Classic scents are added curiously here flora of mountain (as the Snowdrop) and along the Creek, trees of Judea that are adorned with pink flowers in May. Cool places, combined with wild and steep location, appearance make the Infernet evil instead of wildlife, small reunion in the massif (boars, herons egrets, rolliers...).

The Lérins Islands

They are two, two jewels of greenery to continue upstream the Rosary of islands of Hyères and they also stand as grains of beauty posed in the middle of the Mediterranean. They are the horizon of the massif, accessible from Cannes. 20 minutes to Sainte-Marguerite; a 1/2 hour just to rival Saint-Honorat. The first houses a forest of nearly 200 ha a botanical trail lined with immortal where species are identified at the foot of each tree, and a legend of the mysterious iron mask who was imprisoned in the Royal Fort built on the island by Richelieu. The Fort houses a small Museum of the sea featuring objects (amphoras, coins, statuettes...) discovered offshore in the shipwrecks. The île Saint-Honorat - property of the diocese - is more austere. But a trail allows to do the tour, in the shade of pine trees, the monastery and chapels that mark the place.

Mount sumac

It is nice Everest, 370 m and offers a superb panorama on the foothills of the Esterel mountains and the Bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer.
From a real estate program saved by the Conservatoire du littoral which has 25 ha, this massive brings together all types of Mediterranean vegetation (garrigue pines, Oaks...) swallowed a Warbler there flight by the urban colony of Nice. The climb is done through the "bancaous" grown in a fragrant garrigue dotted with brooms of Spain, forests of ash (which is rare on the Côte d'Azur) and Holm (the most beautiful in the region) on the shelf. 60 m from the Summit, a cyclopean wall confirmed the occupation of the site by tribes Ligurian at the dawn of our era. Set hunting reserve the area is also home to 59 species of birds including the dove, swift, the Western screech-owl, European Starling, and curious Wren. Botanical curiosity of the place to the northern boundary of the field stretches a lovely cannier.
Not to be confused with mount vinegar, highest point of the massif de L'esterel. With its 618 m it is the geographical crossroads and the theatre of a nice ride which is accessed by a forest track to the pass of Testanier, between Saint-Raphaël and Cannes.

The Mercantour: in the land of wonders

Originality: this high mountain Park is near the Mediterranean where its wide variety of landscapes. Add to that nearly 600 km of hiking, a quarantine of plants that you see nowhere else, 30 000 rock carvings dating back almost 3,000 years listed in even the mountains and thousands of chamois, and you'll still an imprecise mercantour idea.

Geographical situation

The national park of Mercantour is straddling the departments of Alpes-Maritimes and the Provence. It forms a diagonal that starts from Barcelonnette to the Northeast, passing through Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée, Saint-Martin-de-Vésubie finally South-West at Breil-sur-Roya. A diagonal that plays to neck with the natural park of Argentera, along the Franco-Italian border.


Valleys, glacial cirques dotted with Lakes of deep blue, impressive waterfalls, vast lawns of altitude... as many decorations, colors, landforms contrasted and promising of thrills for those traversing them.

Fauna and flora

Flora has almost 2 00 species - including a quarantine that are found nowhere else! -on the 4,200 known in France, including saxifrage A'lentu flora that blooms once every twenty years, but also the lilies, troll, Dryads, gentians, orchids, anemones, campions, digitales, rhododendrons.
The fauna is very rich from insects, raptors (buzzard, short-toed eagle, Eagle royal and since 1993, the bearded vulture), passing by the black grouse, the the neigee Partridge, Partridge, without forgetting the ermine, marmots and other deer, deer, chamois, Mouflon sheep and ibex. And the Wolf which was announced the grand return? It is there, in fact, but unless you have a huge fluke, you you contenterez know that it is there, somewhere...

To discover

The Valley of marvels

In the heart of the massif du mercantour, over 2,000 m altitude in a universe shredded, holed by 36 glacial lakes and furrowed by torrents 130 km the Valley of marvels deserves its name. It is a grandiose, wild and mysterious site. Boasting a dual climate, Alpine and Mediterranean flora is glowing, including summer. It also holds one of the richest sets of carvings in the open air in Europe. More than 12 km² around Mount Bego, which culminates at 2,873 m, is thus seen 30,000 engravings made by priests of the age of Bronze (1800-1500 BC). Strange inscriptions (weapons, tools, figures.. geometric) classified historical monuments to the glory of this mountain deified because of the violent storms that erupt there! Access is regulated, and those who want to discover them must get there in the company of guides approved by the Park. Tours are available daily from June to September. To get there, the Valley is accessible from Saint Dalmas de Tende.Attention as any mountain trip plan good shoes, warm clothes and learn weather conditions.
•    The cascade of le Boréon
A few kilometres from Saint-Martin-de-Vésubie Le Boréon, Mecca of climbing with the summits of the Cougourde, is the starting point for many hikes in forests, summits or mountain lakes. One of them leads to the beautiful waterfall of le Boréon who falls 40 m high, at over 1,500 m altitude. From there, several possible walking routes: first, that of the high Valley to the walls, very-faults and Ladres pitch, which allows the passage in the neighbouring Valley of the Madonna of Fenestre. then the Vallon de Salese which gives access via the col of the same name to the top vallon de Mollières and the Negro Lake.
•    The land of Lakes
The beauty of the peaks of Mercantour may have come from the fact that they can watch in clear mirrors: Park has indeed nearly 100 high-altitude Lakes inherited from glacial periods. Many trails, lead to these bluish troughs conducive to reverie. Easy trails to the Lakes of the Garrets in the confines of the ubaye Valley and Verdon, sports walks in Haute Tinée destined for the Lakes Vens azure waters and welcoming lawns (6 h) or Rabuons Lake, the largest of the Park perched at 2,500 m (6 h 30). Family hike will provide advice to the chain of Lakes of Millefonts departing from Saint-Dalmas. Because it is given 3 h, it can stand as a training and leave time to enjoy the magic of the place. But mostly because the walk crosses a multitude of scopes blue like the mount Pepoiri for example (2 674 m). Is accessed from Saint-Dalmas by Colmiane road, then the Millefont vacheries road to parking that crosses the competitors (white and red). It will guide you to the col of watches. Continuing on a mountainside, you plunge towards the Lakes.

hiking - Verdon Gorge
hiking- Castellane
hiking - Verdon gorge
hiking - Roc Castellane

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