Parc National du Mercantour
France > Provence > Northeast > Parc National du Mercantour
The Parc National du Mercantour is a long, narrow band of mountainland running for 75km close to the Italian border, from south of the town of Barcelonnette almost as far as Sospel, 16km north of the Mediterranean. The area is a haven for wildlife, with colonies of chamois, mouflon, ibex and marmots, breeding pairs of golden eagles and other rare birds of prey, great spotted woodpeckers and hoopoes, blackcocks and ptarmigan. The flora too is very special, with many unique species of lilies, orchids and Alpine plants, including the rare multi-flowering saxifrage.
It's crossed by numerous paths, including the GR5 and GR52, with refuge huts providing basic food and bedding for hikers. For more detailed information, contact the Maisons du Parc in Barcelonnette, St-Étienne-de-Tinée or St-Martin-Vésubie, which provide maps and accommodation details as well as advice on footpaths and weather conditions. Camping, lighting fires, picking flowers, playing radios or doing anything that might disturb the delicate environment is strictly outlawed.