Parc national du Mercantour
With its tops of more than 3,000 m, the large number of glacial lakes and valleys of character, the national Park of Mercantour is an inspiring example of protected nature, just one hour from the sea.
Landscapes of Mercantour (3 pictures)
At the border with the Italian Piedmont, the Mercantour massif is the lowest southern promontory of the Alps, before its chain dips sharply into the Mediterranean Sea: the top of Gelas, which stands 3143 meters above sea level, is the highest in the Mercantour and it is just 50 km in a line from the sea!
It is the particular situation between the sea and the mountain that gives this park a unique and original characters. Here, you will discover landscapes, plants and animals which are impossible to find anywhere else!
The exceptional nature of this site, however, has meant that in 1979, it was classified as a Parc National, a recognized name throughout the world as a guarantee of the highest level of quality and the protection of significant natural areas.
Therefore, the Mercantour, with the Vanoise, Port-Cros, Pyranees, Cevennes, Ecrins, Guadeloup, Amazonian Park and Reunion Island, together comprise 0.8% of French territory.
One Park, six Valleys
With 150km in length, the territory covers six valleys of the Southern Alps and two departments: the Maritimes Alps, about two-thirds the area, and the Haute Provence Alps. The crystalline massif of the Mercantour, from valley to valley, offers the flavours of the Mediterranean, Provence, Alps and Italy. Verdon, Var-Cians, Ubaye, Tinée, Vésubie and Roya-Bevera: every valley expresses a definite character!
The flora of Mercantour (3 pictures)
The fauna of Mercantour (3 pictures)
A remarkable heritage
Religions building, military relic, place names, local dialects, culinary traditions, everything here echo a long common history with Italy. Harvesting terraces, pastoral farming traditions, perched villages, remind that you are in the mountains and that man had to adapt to this environment. For easier management, the park is divided into seven sectors, which correspond to the main valleys of the massif, each of which has a team of technicians and guards providing surveillance, animation and scientific and technical operations at the local level. If you do meet them, they will be glad to tell you about the curiosities of nature, and even the stories of the unusual valleys!
Cultural heritage (3 pictures)
A common asset to be protected
National Parks are common assets for us all because they contribute to our knowledge and to the conservation of biodiversity. A national Park also raises awareness of the need to respect the environnement and share the rarity of its natural and cultural heritage. As a result we are more inclined to encourage respectful discovery.
A common good to preserve (3 pictures)
For more information : www.mercantour.eu