10 ideas for mountain without cars

Waking up one morning and finding that the cars have disappeared. Not stolen, simply gone all together. There are only trains and busses. A dream for some, a nightmare for many others. If it is clear that such an event is the result of pure imagination, why not try and new and challenging experience by leaving for the mountain over a weekend, while the car enjoys a well-deserved rest? Where to go? Where to start? How to arrive? It is all described in a pamphlet produced with the Mercantour and Alpi Marittime Parks in partnership with the Mountain Wilderness Association that developed the web site Changez approche.
Here are 10 ideas to reach and cross the Southern Alps by public transport. It starts with day trips or journeys with zero emissions from sites served by buses and trains: only collective means and muscular strength, this is sustainable mobility.


Travel time: 3 days
Drop: G1 +400m Terme di Valdieri–rifugio Valasco G2 +1000m Rifugio Valasco–colle di Fremamorte–Le Boréon G3 +1100m Le Boréon-passo dei Ladres-colle di Finestra-San Giacomo
Difficulty: from trained to sportsmen

Public transport information
TER line Cuneo-Nice to Borgo San Dalmazzo, then bus to Terme di Valdieri (www.benese.it). Return from San Giacomo di Entracque with the shuttle service (+39 335 6531024).

Idea 1 - The real “Hunting Grounds” between the Maritime and the Mercantour

Maritime Alps - Departure from the Terme di Valdieri

A beautiful ring between the two parks across the old “Hunting Grounds” of King Vittorio Emanuele II. The tour allows you to visit the Caccia del Valasco and San Giacomo di Entracque royal palaces, but also to visit a great number of lakes.

In the 19th century, the Terme guests would take a stroll through the picturesque walks of the "Giardino degli Inglesi" in the embrace of the Gesso valley at the foot of steep granite walls. Today, right here, the Park is hosting the "Valderia" alpine botanical garden, which bears of name of a breach of the exclusive area. Another 500 species, distributed throughout 14 environment representative of Maritime ecosystems, all offered to the curious eye of the visitor.

For more information: www.camptocamp.org/routes/347959/fr


Travel time: 1 day
Drop: +300m
Difficulty: easy

Public transport information
From Cuneo by bus (www.benese.it).

Idea 2 - Gorge della Reina Ring

Maritime Alps - Departure from Entracque

Blooming meadows, cliffs, gorges and panoramic views of the highest peaks of the Maritime Alps are all characteristics of the winding ring in the foothills of the sedimentary torrent and long coastline of Monte Bussaia. The itinerary is ideal for family walks, both in summer and in the winter with snowshoes.

Entracque offers many opportunities to explore. It is particularly pleasant to stroll through the shady streets of the old town with a thousand fountains and churches rich in sacred and precious furniture and paintings. Do not miss a visit to the wildlife center, Uomini e Lupi.


Travel time: 3 days
Drop: G1 +600m Madone-Passo del Monte Colomb-rifugio Nice G2 +650m Baisse du Basto-Baisse de Valmasque–rifugio delle "Merveilles" G3 -700m Vallone della Minière
Difficulty: for sportsmen

Public transport information
Access to the Madone de Fenestre: Randobus and shuttle (line 730 in the summer, "Conseil général [CG] 06"). Return by shuttle (line 923, CG 06) and the regional train (TER) Breil-line Cuneo-Nice.

Idea 3 - Crossing from the Madone de Fenestre to Casterino

Vésubie / Roya - Departure from Madone de Fenestre

A magnificent journey easily done with public transport, at the foot of the 3000 Mercantour border (Gélas, Clapier). From Madone de Fenestre (you can see chamois and ibex!), to the larch woods of the Minière. Going through the Valley of Wonders, the route offers a condensed Mercantour.

One night in the cosy Nice refuge. The route crosses the Valley of Wonders (G2). The visit to the famous rock carvings is only permitted with a guide. The public transport service is optimal in July and August.

For more information: www.camptocamp.org/routes/299172/fr/pas-de-la-fous-traversee-madone-de-fenestre-casterino-3jours


Travel time: 1 day
Drop: +800m
Difficulty: trained

Public transport information
Access to the byres Boréon: Randobus and shuttle service St-Martin-Vacheries (line 730 in the summer, CG 06). Return the shuttle Madone-St-Martin and Randobus.

Idea 4 - Crossing from the Vacherie del Boréon to Madone de Fenestre

Vésubie - Going through the Roubines della Maïris Pass; Departure from Boréon.

An excursion full of contrasts: the first climb in the shade of the forest out onto the easy alpine ridge that Pisset. A spectacular view over Cougourde, the Nice climbing temple, and near Monte Pelago. You just have to go to the south side and slide down and increasingly fine mineral environment to reach the Madon sanctuary.

Numerous variants are possible: you can, for example, ascend the Agnellière (going off the path) and descend from the Ladres pass or from the Colle di Finestra, all for a friendly greeting to Italy.

For more information: www.camptocamp.org/routes/346193/fr/cime-du-pisset-traversee-des-vacheries-du-boreon-a-la-madone-de-fenestre


Travel time: 1 day
Drop: +200m
Difficulty: easy

Public transport information
Return Nice to Sospel: TER Nice-Breil-Cuneo

Idea 5 - Botanical trail towards Olivetta

Roya / Bévéra - Departure from Sospel

Easily accessible all year round, this area is particularly recommended in spring and autumn. The nature trail follows along the Bévéra gorge and goes along an old Roman road. Do not miss a visit to the medieval village of Sospel.

You can continue until Piene Haute, a lovely little town on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Roya Valley.


Travel time: 1 day
Drop: +300m
Difficulty: from easy to trained

Public transport information
Access to Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage: Randobus (line 740 in the summer, CG 06)

Idea 6 - Crossing from Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage to Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée

Haut Tinée - Passing through the Anelle hill – Departure from Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage

This journey begins on the north side; the route lies through huts of alpine larch wood and offers a panorama of the highest peaks for the High Tinée. The descent towards Sainte-Etienne is through an arid area before reaching the sunny and irrigated countryside of Ublan.

You can do a variation on the "roche Iglière" gallery of the Ublan canal to get some fresh air while going south towards Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée.

For more information: www.camptocamp.org/routes/349225/fr/col-d-anelle-traversee-de-saint-dalmas-le-selvage-a-saint-etienne-de-tinee


Travel time: 1 day
Drop: +500m
Difficulty: easy

Public transport information
Access Beuil: Randobus (line 770 in the summer, CG 06)

Idea 7 - Garnier Head and Beuil Lake

Haut Var / Cians - Departure from Beuil

This route is a summary of the specificities of the Cians sector: rolling hills, beautiful meadows and splendid larch forests, under the omnipresent gaze of Mount Mounier, presiding over the entire area.

The bus ride allows you to peacefully enjoy the famous red gorges of Cian. Take a seat on the right!

For more information: www.camptocamp.org/routes/349236/fr/tete-du-garnier-tour-et-sommet-du-garnier-par-le-lac-de-beuil


Travel time: 1 o 2 days
Drop: n.a.
Difficulty: from easy to expert

Public transport information
"Train des Pignes" (Nice-Digne) and the shuttle to the Val d'Allos (Colmars-Allos) Station Thorame.

Idea 8 - Hiking in the Upper Verdon

Haut Verdon - Departure from Colmars-les-Alpes and Allos

From Nice, the picturesque path of the "train des Pignes" constitutes a half in itself! On the spot, the paths (With signs) can be chained on one or two days (a stopping place for Gassendi a Colmars). Beautiful landscapes, forests, waterfalls, (Lance cascades, Adriot canale, the Coletta, Vacheresse, Piche cascades...).

A privileged site for an authentic mountain walk. This calls for a visit to the walled city of Colmars and its "casa museo"...


Travel time: 2 days
Drop: G1 +450m G2 +580 m
Difficoltà: from easy to trained

Public transport information
G1: departure from Barcelonnette. G2: free shuttle between Barcelonnette and Jausiers (www.ubaye.com/venir/horaires-navettes-gratuites-inter-villages)

Idea 9 - Itinerary from Puy Bas to Barcelonnette

Ubaye - Trail of the three "bélières" from Jausiers Partenze to Barcelonnette and Jausiers

The Puy Bas walk allows you to discover the heritage landscape of Barcelonnette with a ring of three hours through the meadows and forests. From the nearby Jausiers, domainted by peaks rising over 3000m, begins a tour of its towns along the ancient "bélières" (irrigation canals). The easy path is a six hour walk.

Historic and gastronomic patrimony are the Ubaye Valley’s strength. Do not miss a visit to the museum of Barcelonnette dedicated to the emigration of the valley’s inhabitants to Mexico, then enjoy a tasty stop at the Maison des produits de pays di Jausiers to discover the diversity of local specialities.


Travel time: 2 days
Drop: G1 +800m Vernante - Palanfrè G2 +900m da Palanfrè a Limonetto per il passo di Ciotto Mien
Difficulty: from trained to sportsmen

Public transport information
TER line Cuneo-Nice-Breil up to Vernante. Return: bus from Limonetto to Limone (www.limonepiemonte.it), then by train

Idea 10 - Vernante-Limonetto Crossing

Maritime Alps - Departure from Vernante

A route between culture and nature. A "journey into the past” through ancient villages of stone houses, surrounded by marks left by human presence (drainage, terracing...) before the depopulation of the valleys. In the second part of the path, you walk between steep cliffs, karst valleys, and gorges, all to reach the crystal waters of the Arbergh lake.

In Palanfrè, in the Arbergh shelter, you can enjoy special cheeses produced locally (about a dozen in quality, ranging from fresh to aged), to then taste with craft beers at the nearby Troll brewery.

For more information: www.camptocamp.org/routes/117312/it/monte-creusa-traversata-limonetto-vernante


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