The Col d’Anelle
Departure from the Tourism Office in the Town of Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage
Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage, at 1500 meters above sea level, has the largest share of the French Maritime Alps. Best known for the nearby Col de la Bonette, the highest road pass in Europe, the area has a wonderful architectural heritage including a Romanesque church with a façade decorated with frescoes, a Lombard-style bell tower, built in 1718, and numerous sundials. Fractions of Pra (field in patois) and of Bousieyas show traces of an agricultural life which is still very active in the summer of the trasnhumance of thousands of sheep. The plateau and the Col d’Anelle, meaning ‘lamb’, are ancient mountain pastures with huts built in larch wood, useful for repairing the hay during the long winter months. The proposed route, wholly on a track, offers a glimpse of the meal-pluralism and traditional agriculture, along with a splendid view over the chain of Mercantour and Tinée valley peaks.
1 From the Tourism Office (sign 68), follow the GR®5 (white-red indication) which descends down next to the Romanesque church and across the bridge, then continues to the left until reaching sign 69.
2 Continue in the direction of the Col d’Anelle (GR 5): The tracks gradually climbs while winding through fields planed with hay and a beautiful forest of conifers such as larch, spruce and fir. The underwood and meadows harbour a varied flora, according to the season. For example, the Bertoloni columbine is present on shady slopes, the primula marginata grows amongst the rocks and the listera minora is a dedicated orchid within the undergrowth. You will discover a magnificent view over the village of Sant-Dalmas-le-Selvage, with its Lombard stlye bell tower, and the surrounding peaks, including Fortin de la Tête de Vinaigre. Come to the large plateau (ideal for picnics) with its chalets built in alpine larch, which are called “butières”.
3 Cross the plateau and continue the path up the hill (signs 70 and 71); from here, you can enjoy a panoramic view over the Tinée Valley. To return, follow the same route. On the way down to the village, on the opposite side (Vallon de la Combe and its vicinity), you can see flying vultures, which are the subject of a reintroduction project started in the Southern Alps in 1993. You may also see vultures in search of a carcass or golden eagles hunting for prey to feed their young. Also on this part, you can observe, with binoculars, several species of ungulates (deer, chamois, roe deer) to which can be added, in the winter, the mouflon and wild boar. The richness of fauna supports the presents of predators, specifically the wolf.
Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage Tourism Office Tel. 00 33 (0)4 93 02 46 40 www.saintdalmasleselvage.com
Parc Nazional du Mercantour House in St-Etienne-de-Tinée Tel. 00 33 (0)4 93 02 42 27 www.mercantour.eu
Regional Tourism Committee of the Côte d’Azur Riviera Tel. : 00 33 (0)4 93 37 78 78 www.tourisme-cotedazur.com
Departmental Committee of Hiking 06 Tel. : 00 33 (0)4 93 20 74 73 www.cdrp06.org
IN St-DALMAS LE SELVAGE
- Car Park near the Tourism Office
- Fitted Bathrooms in the Tourism Office
Centre de vacances Le Rabuons 06660 St-Etienne-de-Tinée Tel. 00 33 (0)4 92 02 40 07 www.rabuons-mercantour.com
Résidences de Tourisme sur Auron. Contact the Auron Tourism Office Tel. 00 33 (0)4 93 23 02 66 http://ete.auron.com
“Discovery Trail” on the theme of water, near the Mercantour National Park House and the lake for swimming activities in St-Etienne-de-Tinée.