The magic of the Alps of the sun…
With its peaks of over 3000 m altitude, its many glacial lakes and six valleys with a strong character, the Mercantour National Park is one hour from the sea, the unique jewel of a preserved nature.
A complex mix of Mediterranean and Alpine influences contributes to the originality and variety of landscapes, natural environments, fauna and flora ! The Mercantour Massif is the last promontory of the Alps, just before it dives into the Mediterranean Sea.
Browse the Mercantour is the guarantee of a permanent wonder : every turn of the way, a new amazing show awaits you. How is such a variety of impressions, sensations and landscapes possible ?
We must combine many sciences to have elements of answer : the geological formations, of very varied natures, were modeled by the alpine uprising, then dug and eroded by the waters in narrow and deep gorges.
The valleys have been heavily worked by glaciers, which have given way, by melting, to rosaries of sparkling lakes. Climate history has left us a wide variety of species at altitudes with environments close to those present during the ice ages.
The man and the traces several thousand years of his presence add to this natural abundance ! But this story is also written in the future : this territory sees the creation of many activities geared towards the future, a sign of great vitality.
This other wealth, cultural, is also the subject of many attentions. For the following generations to share this legacy.
Wild and abundant wildlife…
Chamois, ibex and mouflon coexist in the steepest mountain ridges, while deer, deer and boar frequent woodlands at lower altitudes.
The birds are also remarkably represented !
We find, for example, the black grouse, the rock ptarmigan, also known as the snow partridge, the snapper, but also large raptors like the golden eagle and now the bearded vulture gradually reintroduced by releases. Since 1993.
An exceptional flora in Europe !
The multiple climatic, geological and geographical influences exerted on a mosaic of very varied environments and with altitudes going from 100 m to more than 3000 m, conferred on the Mercantour an exceptional vegetable wealth with the presence of more than 2000 species of plants of the 4200 known in France.
Among them, 220 are considered very rare and 40 are even said to be endemic, being found nowhere else in the world, like saxifrage with multiple flowers !
A unique place in Europe !
A National Park is a space recognized as exceptional for its biodiversity, its landscapes, its heritage. It is both a label that guarantees national and international recognition of these riches and a tool that ensures their preservation at the highest level in order to pass them on to future generations.
Created in 1979 between the Alpes Maritimes and the Alpes de Haute Provence, the Mercantour National Park's mission is to know and protect the nature, the landscapes and all the heritage that justified its classification as a National Park. Its role is also to "share the exception" by raising awareness of the need for the protection of the environment through the dissemination of its knowledge and the invitation to discovery.
Before you go on a hike in the Park, check out rules
You can also consult the Mercantour Park presentation book.