The Vallée des Merveilles, or Valley of Wonders, boasts the largest amount of open-air Copper and Bronze Age petroglyphs in Europe. Richard, an UIMLA Mountain Leader,takes you on this guided hiking tour in the Mercantour National Park.
Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct
If there is a place that fascinates both archeology enthusiasts and naturalists, it is the Vallée des Merveilles. The beautiful Valley of Wonders -its English name- is located in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, in the south of France, and it has the largest amount of open-air Copper and Bronze Age petroglyphs in Europe.
On rocks colored and polished by glaciers, we can see these enigmatic engravings, left by our ancestors about 4000 years ago. More than 35.000 of these enigmatic figures, symbols of the beginnings of a form of writing, mark smooth slabs in a grandiose setting. Here the chaos of rocks fractured by erosion contrasts with the silence of the place.
Many interpretations of these engravings have emerged in recent decades, and I will not fail to share them with you. I am authorized by the Mercantour National Park to guide you through this archaeological area classified as a Historic Monument.
The Vallée des Merveilles is also an exceptional place to observe wildlife. We can see marmots, chamois and ibex sharing the site while the shadow bearded vulture or golden eagle hover in the sky.
It is strongly recommended to make this hike on 2 days, with a half-board night at the refuge des Merveilles. This will allow you to soak up more of the magic of the place. I remain at your disposal for more details on a route in 2 days or more with a loop of 3 or 4 days. The altitude difference is 7oo meters.
You need to add a hiking distance of 2.30 hours and and altitude difference of 700 mto a guided tour of the site. Therefore it is strongly recommended to make this hike on 2 days, with a half-board night at the refuge des Merveilles. This will allow you to soak up more of the magic of the place. It is also possible to make a loop, doing it in 3 or 4 days.
If you want to visit this unique valley, send me a request. I will be happy to guide you on a great tour in the Vallée des Merveilles. If you are looking for more hiking options in France, you can check my profile page.
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- Guiding fee
Refuge des Marveilles
Nature is for me a fabulous field of investigation . Colors, scents, sounds are always present and reveal us so many sensations.
My hometown is Nice on the French Riviera and I explore my region from the Mediterranean shores to the highest peaks of the Mercantour National Park. In the summer time on foot, and in the winter with snowshoeing.
I am looking forward to guiding you in my region, sharing the vision of chamois, marmots and ibexes, on the tracks of wolves, and with a golden eagle in the sky.
French | English
Richard delivered exactly what I was hoping for. The choice of route suited me perfectly; he fitted in with my timelines which was important to me and the cherry on top was that he was a delight to walk with and chat to for 3 hours. If I was here a little longer, I’d do another one and definitely will when I come back. Thank you ☺️
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