The Town of Colle
Deprture from Espaul Hill to Valberg – Town of Péone
With this route, because of the small hill village, you go back in time and discover what life was like in the mountains during the last century. Its inhabitants were farmers and breeders of sheep and goats and the ‘most rich’ also had a few cows. The crops were on terraced land, formed on the slops of the mountain. The inhabitants of Col have built their settlement in a non-arable and rocky place, but close to places of cultivation. Today, the residents have moved into town, but some flocks still follow the ancient roads for transit. With the abandonment of the mountains, the larches have begun to regain to slopes and pastures, the marmots have settled have settled on the old cultivated plains and the wild rose has gradually invaded the landscape. The fauna and flora recapture their space, with the Maculinea rebeli, or in French “Papillon azuré de la Croisette”: a fairly rare blue butterfly, which owes its name to the ‘Genziana della Croisette’ where it lays its eggs.
1 From the Espaul Hills (sign 7), take the left path that leads to the hamlet of La Colle. As you climb, a splendid panorama opens on Barres du Démant and on Mont Mounier (2812 meters above sea level). Once having arrived in the heart of the village (sign 8), you can observe the traditional mountain architecture. These houses were built with local materials and were oriented to the south to benefit from the warmth of the sun. The roofs were covered with shingles (larch wood) and the structure of the houses were made of limestone held together by lime. These were generally on three levels, with the ground floor housing the animals, the first floor the house and the last was used for the storage of hay during the winter.
2 Cross the village and continue on the path, which is now bordered on both sides with parcels, once used for the cultivation of cereals and legumes, such as lentils. These soils were formed on the terraced slops of the mountain by building walls to hold back the earth. The women had picked the soil off of the stones and piled them at the edges of the fields. It is said that, at night, these stones keep the soil warm with the heat that they have accumulated during the day. Today, these plots have become hay meadows or pastures, but also the playground for many marmots!
3 Continue to walk through the alpine meadows until you reach a junction of several streets (sign 43). From there, you can admire a splendid view over the Mercantour valleys, the Col de la Couillole and the Tête de Giarons... To return, follow the same route back.
Valberg Tourism Office (accessible and on the same floor)
Tel. 00 33 (0)4 93 23 24 25 http://www.valberg.com
House of the Mercantour National Park in Valberg Tel. 00 33 (0)4 93 02 58 23 http://www.mercantour.eu
Regional Tourism Committee of the Côte d’Azur Riviera Tel. 00 33 (0)4 93 37 78 78 http://www.tourisme-cotedazur.com
Departmental Committee of Hiking 06 Tel. 00 33 (0)4 93 20 74 73 http://www.cdrp06.org
- Reserved parking close to the Valberg Tourism Office
- Reserved parking at the Espaul Hills
- Fitted bathrooms at the Valberg Tourism Office