Circuit in the "vallée des Merveilles"
A great idea for a weekend getaway, with friends, family or even alone is to make the tour of the Valley of Wonders in the Alpes Maritimes. It is a fairly long but historically interesting route, through the ancient engravings on the rock, and also presenting a fabulous natural attraction as the places are beautiful and the fauna varied and rich, especially in ungulates.
Hiking at the Merveilles valley
About 90 minutes drive will bring you from Nice, unless you opt for the train of Wonders and then transport by bus. The Lac des Mesches departure from the route is about 750 meters of altitude under the shelter of Wonders, count three good hours to reach the refuge for a first stage of a night. The second day will allow you to reach the refuge of Valmasque by the pass of the same name (down the Valmasque) with about 500 meters of climb. Watch out for the distance between the two shelters and the arrival in the area of Casterino. It takes a full day for this part of the trip except to gallop like a traileur! To note the possibility to realize the turn in the other direction while sleeping at the refuge of the Valmasque.
Richness of nature
The ride takes place in the Mercantour National Park, a bridge between the Alps and the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
The animals approach quite easily especially in the spring and autumn but climb higher in the summer to avoid heats and hikers too urgent. You will surely come across chamois or ibex just a few meters away, as the pictures on this web page attest.
The marmots, not very fierce either, will whistle you in passing, unless it is to be alerted to the aerial presence of some predators feather.
The vegetation exhibits its luxuriance throughout the year even if the end of spring is naturally dressed in more vivid and colorful colors than the rest of the year and seems to be the best time for this hike.
Explanatory signs of the Mercantour National Park will give you all kinds of indications on the spot as well concerning the fauna, the flora, the engravings but also the geology of the places.
The area of Mount Bego has a fantastic archaeological and human attraction because many protohistoric rock carvings adorn the rocks. There were more than 100,000 dating from the Bronze and Copper Age, so between 5000 years and 1500 BC. Period that the book "Sapiens", which we recommend reading describes a cognitive revolution. We offer you a small summary on this site.
The engravings of the Mercantour represent tools, human faces, as well as geometric shapes. Impossible, under pain of a fine to leave the path of more than a few meters, except to be accompanied by a guard or guide sworn.
We recommend visiting the Museum of Wonders in Tende after your hike to better understand the place.
Few french links
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