A mountain Park overlooking the sea
Parc national du Mercantour
A mountain Park overlooking the sea The Park is in the extreme south-east corner of France, on the border with Italy: the two Parks touch for over 30km. The protected area takes its name from the Mercantour massif, the last promontory of the southern Alps, just before they dive swiftly into the sea: Mt. Gelas standing 3,143m high is the tallest in Mercantour Park, as the crow flies it is only 50km from the sea! This particular situation between sea and mountains, lends a unique and original character to this Park. Here you will discover scenery, plants and animals you won't find elsewhere!
The exceptional character of this area is, after all, what led it to be made a National Park in 1979, a classification recognised world-wide as being a guarantee of the highest levels of quality and protection of important natural areas. Mercantour, therefore, with Vanoise, Port-Cros, Pyrénées, Cévennes, Écrins, Guadeloupe, Guiana Amazonian and Réunion, is one of the nine French National Parks that together cover 0.8% of the French territory.
Six valleys, seven sectors
This territory is 150km long and stretches over seven valleys of the Southern Alps, covering two départements: Alpes Maritimes for about two thirds of the area and Alpes de Haute Provence. Down through the Mercantour crystalline massif the valleys have a different flavour, of the Mediterranean, of Provence, of the Alps and Italy. Verdon, Var-Cians, Ubaye, Tinée, Vésubie and Roya-Bevera: each valley has a precise character! For management purposes, the Park is divided into seven sectors, corresponding to the main valleys of the massif, each of these has a technical team and rangers who are responsible for guarding, working with the public, carrying out scientific and technical operations at a local level. If you meet them, they will be happy to tell you interesting facts about wildlife and the flora and even unusual stories about the valleys.
One territory, two zones Like all French National Parks, Mercantour Park has a "core" and a "buffer" zone. The core covers 68,500 hectares. In this the main role of the park is understanding and protecting nature. Only a few of the hamlets contained in this area are inhabited seasonally. It has an exceptional wealth of heritage which we must all respect to be part of its conservation. The buffer zone spreads over 2,000 km2, taking in all the territories of the 28 municipalities of the Park (outside the core). Here the Park encourages economic development, providing that the effect of these human activities is compatible with nature protection .
Go to the official Mercantour Park website Mercantour National Park.