The different types of refuge to be found in the Mercantour.
There is accommodation for every desire on the Côte d’Azur.
On the upper mountain trails, and more specifically in the Mercantour valley, hikers who love climbing and a change in elevation discover mountain backdrops all year round. However, a day spent among the flora and fauna in this natural park also requires an often well-earned rest. Holiday lets, tents and refuges are the places where walkers and hikers can take a break. Sometimes simple dormitories, other times chalets offering half- or full-board (you may even be able to order a picnic lunch), you are bound to find a place in which to get your breath back. And why not enjoy local mountain products in between breathing in the pure air?
Because a refuge is not just a place to sleep, it’s also a place offering a welcome, information, warmth and friendship. In addition to the refuge guardian(s), you’ll meet other pilgrims who, like you, have come to look for a fulfilment that can only be found in the mountains.
How do I book a refuge in the Mercantour?
If you decide to set out with a guide, he/she will also take care of the booking on your hiking route. If, on the other hand, you decide to go off and admire the marmots and ibex on your own, then you will need to book your overnight stay.
All the same, bear in mind that the mountains can sometimes be challenging, and that it is always better to set off with company rather than alone. Just as for a sub-aqua driver, keep unity in mind when hiking: numbers count, and support is always welcome in the event of a problem.
Most refuges are guarded, but if not, you may be alone when staying the night. You therefore need to make all the enquiries before setting off.
You can find all the information about this here
Are the refuges open all year round?
There are refuges that are open all year round, but not all of them. In fact, some are only open in the summer, and others only partially in winter. You should therefore make enquiries before you leave in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises. The best way to not find yourself at an establishment that’s closed is to phone up. You will thus be sure to obtain reliable information, bearing in mind that some websites are not necessarily up to date. And, even more important in these interesting times, nothing is better than human contact!
Don’t forget that if your choice of mountain accommodation is not available, there are other types of accommodation awaiting you along the Côte d’Azur: unusual accommodation, Holiday lets, campsites, hotels, etc.
What are the prettiest walks around the Mercantour refuges?
“The mountain is so beautiful” sang Jean Ferrat. And he’s still right. Glaciers, craters, massive ibex, eagles, bearded vultures, and a host of other marvels are to be discovered all along the trails. Hiking is not just walking, it’s also observing, breathing in and experiencing the mountain. There are different trail levels so that everyone can find something to enjoy. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a Sunday stroller or just looking around with the family, there’s bound to be a trail suited to you.
There are a plethora of circuits, and just to list a few:
– The Prals lakes circuit, Madone de Fenestre
– Mont Pépoiri via the Millefonts lakes
– Lakes and engraved rocks in the Merveilles Valley
– The Devil’s summit by the Merveilles refuge
– The Vens lakes by the Pra and the Col du Fer
And for the braver (and hiking experts): Mont Ténibre by the Rabuons refuge.
As with the mountain accommodation, don’t hesitate to find out all the information, including (above all) the weather forecast, before setting off on a hike. Of course, that’s not forgetting the right equipment, and above all good shoes.
Happy hiking in the Mercantour Valley!