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Mercantour - Including accommodation before and after Trips - 8 days

    Regular days with
  • 10 - 15 km per day
  • 500 - 1000m ascent per day
  • T2 Trails / no difficulty markings
What's Included?
Packing List
How to Book


> Enjoy the beautiful French Alps
> Spend your nights in local mountain huts
> Don't worry about arranging the accommodation, we got that covered!

At only a stone's throw from Nice and the Mediterranean coast, you can find a mountain range with the striking name Les Alpes Maritimes. In these mountains, you can find Mercantour National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks France has to offer. With peaks of over 3000m and valleys formed by ancient glacial streams, Mercantour provides the perfect backdrop for your next mountain adventure. It's in Mercantour where hikers of all ages and abilities will be able to find an unparalleled hiking experience. Are you ready to discover one of France's best-kept secrets?

In Mercantour National Park you can do parts of the GR5 and the GR52. The GR5 will basically take you halfway across Europe, and although the GR52 is doable for most people with enough off days, it is best to craft your own itinerary together. Especially if you don't want to hike for longer than a week. We have designed a 6-day itinerary that offers a great combination of nature, the most hospitable Mercantour refuges, and quaint little towns.

Why book with us?

You can do the Mercantour fully independent and self-guided. However, stringing an itinerary including all the accommodations together can be a complicated undertaking. has warm contacts with all the huts on the Tour du Mont Blanc and we can take the load of having to book every hut yourself off your shoulders. Let us help you to make your Tour du Mont Blanc memories stress-free and enjoy free hiking advice from our trekking experts while you're at it. 


What's the Plan?

Arrival in St.-Martin-de-Vésubie
Welcome to France! Today you will arrive in St.-Martin-de-Vésubie and be expected in a pleasant Hotel in the village. Your overnight stay includes breakfast if possible.

Etappe 1: St.-Martin-de-Vésubie - Refuge de la Madonna de Fenestre
The beautiful little town of St.-Martin-de-Vésubie is the start of your hike in Mercantour National Park. In this little town, you can do your last purchases for the trails, you can find an outdoor shop, some restaurants, and numerous little grocery shops. Your hike starts with a steep ascent, bringing you out of the valley onto the higher trails. At Collet Cotignol you will find views over the pine forests and surrounding mountains. The goal for today is the cozy Refuge de la Madonna de Fenestre at 1903 meters. Although this refuge is also accessible by road, you won't regret the hike.
Ascent: 1.430 meters
Descent: 500 meters
Distance: 13,5 kilometers
Etappe 2: Refuge de la Madonna de Fenestre - Refuge de Nice
After a lovely breakfast, it's time to get back onto the trail. A steep but well-maintained trail will take you over the GR52-route to Pas du Mont Colomb, the highest point for today. It's strenuous, but you can take your time. Depending on what time you started this morning, you are likely to arrive early at the stunning Refuge de Nice. In proper Mercantour style, the caretakers only cook with local and farm produce.
Ascent: 710 meters
Descent: 370 meters
Distance: 6 kilometers

Etappe 3: Refuge de Nice - Refuge de Valmasque
From Refuge de Nice at 2,232 meters you hike in about 3 to 4 hours via Baisse du Basto to Refuge de Valmasque. You will at some point leave the GR route as long as you follow the red-white markings, you will definitely find your way. On your left you will first see Lac du Basto, then Le Lac Noir, and lastly Le Lac Vert. Right on the shore of Le Lac Vert, you will find Refuge de la Valmasque. There is an alternative way between Refuge de Nice and Refuge de Valmasque, however this route completely leaves the GR52 route. If you're keen on that, you can find more information in Refuge de Nice.
Ascent: 420 meters
Descent: 420 meters
Distance: 8.5 kilometers

Etappe 4: Refuge de Valmasque - Refuge des Merveilles
From Refuge de Valmasque back to GR52 and then over the Baisse de Valmasque in 4 hours to the Refuge des Merveilles. This is the easiest stage. On the way, you pass beautiful mountain lakes and there are famous rock etchings to view. For daredevils without a fear of heights, the ascent of Mont Bégo (2,873 meters) via a hiking trail is a great takeaway. Refuge des Merveilles is something else. The refuge is located on the shores of a lake, in the heart of the Valley of Wonders. Between Mount Bego and Devil's Peak, you will witness history by going to the scene. There, tens of thousands of rock carvings are visible at an altitude of more than 2000m
Ascent: 290 meters
Descent 380 meters
Distance: 8.5 kilometers
Etappe 5: Refuge des Merveilles - Belvédère
Today you are slowly descending back to civilization, but don't worry, it's not over yet. From the Refuge des Merveilles first via the GR 5, then via three low passes - Pas du Diable, Baisse Cavaline, and Col de Raus, in 5 to 6 hours down to the village of Belvedere (800 m). This fairytale-like town has been the backdrop of many events in history. You will either spend the night in Belvédère or in neighboring Roquebillière.

Ascent: 410 meters
Descent: 1,730 meters
Distance: 19 kilometers
Etappe 6: Belvédère- St.-Martin-de-Vésubie
From Belvédère we ascend back to the GR52 route. This part is known as Le Sentier Panoramique du Mercantour and panoramic it surely is. After about 4 hours you will end where you had started a few days ago. Time for a good glass of wine or a local craft beer from Brasserie du Comté.
Ascent: 860 meters
Descent: 720 meters
Distance: 16 kilometers

After breakfast, you can check out. We hope to see you again soon. Greetings!

What's Included?


 Booking the huts
We will take care of arranging accommodation for you. We will also provide you with a detailed itinerary for every stage and instructions on how to get to the trailhead. 

√ Accommodation
We will arrange your accommodation on the Mercantour in mountain huts. There are several options to choose from along the trail. We have selected the mountains huts on our trek based on the length of each stage and recommendations from trekkers who have done the Tour du Mont Blanc before us.

√ Accommodation before and after the trek
We will arrange the accommodation for you the nights before and after your Mercantour.  On those two nights, you will sleep in cozy hotels in St.-Martin-de-Vésubie. Breakfast is included if possible.

√ Half-board
Accommodation at the huts includes dinner and breakfast.  Bear in mind that lunch is not included, but it can be purchased at the huts.


× Airfare and Visa
You have to make your way to Nice. The total amount does not include flights to France. 

× Transfers
Once in France, you will have to make your way to the trailhead in St.-Martin-de-Vésubie. We will provide the instructions and assist you with how to get there. Transport to Nice is not included.

× Travel Insurance
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before your trek.

× Lunch
Half-board is included in the price of this trek. Lunch, however, is not. You can get something to eat at the mountain huts along the way.

× Breakfast at the hotel in Roquebillière
During your hotel stay in Roquebillière, you can arrange breakfast upon arrival.

× Personal expenses
Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, and other similar expenses are for your own account.



On the Mercantour the following huts and hotel are included:

Chalet de La Madone de Fenestre
In the Mercantour National Park, Chalet de La Madone de Fenestre is located in the heart of the local giant; the Gélas, the highest peak of the Alpes-Maritimes (3,143 m). The mountain hut is the starting point of a number of mountaineering activities!

Refuge de Nice
This mountain hut is located at 2232 metres altitude, in the village of Bélvédère, Alpes-Maritimes. Surrounded by the highest peaks of the Mercantour National Park, this Refuge offers you a pleasant stop on its panoramic terrace overlooking Lake la Fous.

Refuge de Valmasque
The Refuge de Valmasque is located in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, on the shores of Lac Vert, above the summit of the Valmasque valley. In a world of rocks and alpine lawns, this peaceful mountain hut, renovated in 1984, is waiting for you after a long day of hiking!

Refuge des Merveilles
The Refuge is located on the shores of Lake Long Superior, in the heart of the Valley of Wonders. Between Mount Bego and Devil's Peak. This Refuge is also known as a 'Refuge of Wonders'. This is because of the exceptional site with rock carvings, but also because of the many hiking trails in the area. 

Hotel in Roquebillière/Belvédère
In the heart of Roquebillière, a family mansion has been tastefully transformed into a charming hotel; Ostan Hôtel. You' ll find a nice and warm decoration in every room.

Packing List

Packing List

Obviously, when you are only hiking with the family for only a few days, you won't need to dress for an expedition on Kilimanjaro. Having said that, it doesn't matter where you are going trekking or for how long: Carrying the right equipment with you is paramount. For a hiking trip in Mercantour National Park you will need, first and foremost, a good backpack. The size of your backpack will depend on how many days you will be spending on the mountain, the season, and the clothes you will be taking with you. We have prepared a packing list with some essential clothing that you should include and some extras that you may find useful:


- Walking boots (worn in)
- Walking socks
- Base layer tops – ideally thermal
- Mid-layer tops (eg. fleece)
- Trekking Trousers
- Hat for warmth or shade
- Gloves
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Warm layer. 
- Casual clothes & footwear for evenings. 
- Nightwear and underwear
- Water bottle
- Sunglasses & sun cream
- Toiletries

- Small first aid kit
- Blister Plasters
- Insect repellent
- Electrical socket adapter
- Camera and charger
- Map and compass 
- Whistle
- Book to read
- Energy snacks
- Walking poles
- Buff



Where is Mercantour National Park?
It's maybe a bit hard to imagine, but Mercantour National Park is part of the French Riviera. On a stone's throw from Nice on the world-famous Côte d’Azur, you can find one of the last proper wild spots of the Alps. While the Côte d’Azur sees more than 10 milion tourists on a yearly basis, only a fraction makes the 1-hour drive to this terresauvage.Mercantour is one of the 10 French national parks and is over 40 years old. Within the park, 20,000 inhabitants are living the life you might want for yourself. Here the century-old traditions of the montagnards continue forever. Shepherds, beekeepers, cheesemakers, cows, even wolves. Did we say that Mercantour is wild?
Because the park is so close to Nice, this is a logical starting or entry point for hikes in Mercantour. From here, people make their way to Saint Martin Vésubie. From there, you have easy access on the Mercantour parts of the GR52. Because yes, just like you can find Grand Randonnée routes in all of France, even in Corsica with the GR20, you can also find these in Mercantour National Park. For the GR52, which is more than 200 kilometers long, you need more time. Some of the highlights of this GR are however right in Mercantour and allow for a shorter hut-to-hut tour.

Is hiking the Mercantour for me?
Hiking in Mercantour is slightly less Alpine than for example the Walker's Haute Route or the Peter Habeler Runde in Austria. This, and the fact that the Alpes Maritimes have a rather mild climate, allows for a lower doorstep. If you are looking for a relatively mild but unspoiled hut-to-hut trekking experience, hiking Mercantour is definitely for you. In Mercantour you can find 1.700 kilometers worth of trail. The sections that we have focused our itineraries on are designed for people who have a healthy appetite for mountains but don't want to go too extreme.
The route has no technical difficulties and is suitable for anyone with a decent physical condition. This leaves time for long picnic breaks at the mountain lakes, fantastic views from the peaks, and a drink on the terrace of a mountain hut at the end of the day. Long story short? Yes, Mercantour is most likely for you!

What Is the Best Season for Hiking in Mercantour NP?
The official season is from mid-June to mid-September, but when you hike Mercantour between mid-July and late August the chances for good weather and snow-free trails. It’s peak season, so make sure to book as much in advance as possible. If you decide to go trekking in September, you’re still in for a treat and it’s not as busy on the trail. But this could also mean that some accommodations might be closed for the season already. Also, the days are shorter, the weather is colder and, although you are close to the Med, there is a chance of snow on the trails.

How to get to and from Mercantour National Park?
The trick to getting to Mercantour National Park for your hut-to-hut tour is to get to Nice first. Nice, right? Jokes aside, it really is nice to be able to combine Mercantour with the French Riviera. You can visit epic beach towns like Cannes, Fréjus, and Saint-Tropez. Surf and turf all the way. From Nice, you have a direct line with St.-Martin-de-Vésubie, your base for any kind of adventure in Mercantour.

By plane:
Nice has its own airport under the name Nice Côte d'Azur Airport and airport code NCE. You could also fly to nearby Marseille or Genoa, on the Italian side. If you fly to Nice, you will arrive exactly at the right spot to catch a straight bus to St-Martin-de-Vésubie.
By bus:
From Grand Arénas, outside the airport of Nice, you catch line 90 towards La Bolline. The bus will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes and will cost you less than 2 euros for a ticket. You are in for a very scenic ride!
By car:
Assuming you come out of the direction of Paris or anywhere else in Western Europe, you will first want to get to the French coast. Then you can approach St-Martin-de-Vésubie from Cannes and with that Nice.


What to Do in Case of an Emergency?

A situation is defined as an emergency whenever human life (yours or someone else's) is endangered and there is nothing you can do to resolve the matter. You should call for help if there has been an accident, if there is somebody trapped, if you got lost or in trouble and are unable to continue because of the time of day or weather conditions, or if you are trapped because of technical climbing challenges that exceed your capabilities.

The most important thing to do in an emergency is to stay calm and survey the situation. Do not panic or take useless risks if the people in trouble are difficult to reach. In an emergency, first and foremost, call for assistance. When calling for help, make sure to provide your location and the number of victims and type of injuries. Then, protect the victim from cold and other environmental threats and administer first aid, if you can.
Useful emergency phone numbers:
France General Emergencies: 112
PGHM Alpes Maritimes: +33 4 93 02 01 17



The Corona pandemic has had its grip on us, and mountain huts in the Alpine region have had to take several preventive measures over the past two years. In the meantime, the first relaxations in the Alps are noticeable, yet it is definitely still a factor to take into account. Some Covid restrictions that are worth mentioning:

- Don't go to the huts if you have symptoms!

- Not all mountain huts are allowed to operate at full capacity yet, so make sure you book your stay in advance.

- To be on the safe side, always take a mouth mask with you.

- In some mountain huts it is still compulsory to bring your own sleeping bag, in others a sheet bag and pillowcase are sufficient. Your personal travel guide will tell you which rules apply to your route.

- Bring your own towel

How to Book

How to Book?

On you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking your match? In that case, you can proceed with your booking. At you make a deposit of 30% of the total amount. In the case of this trek, we will check the availability at the respective accommodations for you. There are two possible outcomes:

 There is availability 
We go ahead and make all necessary arrangements for your trip. Once confirmed, we will send you a confirmation and your personal hiking guide. The remaining 70% must be paid at least two (2) weeks before the start of the trekking.

X There is no availability 
If there is no availability, we will look for other starting dates or another trekking in agreement with you. Are there no other options for you? Then your deposit of 30% will be refunded.

Cancellation Policy
If all the accommodations of this trekking are booked and confirmed, you will lose your deposit of 30% at all times. If you cancel within 14 days of your start date, you will lose your full booking amount.

Is it not quite clear yet or do you have questions? Please contact us via We are happy to help you.


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