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The National Park covers 28 townships over more than 2,000 km2. This territory is a place of harmony between protection, discovery, local development and respect for traditional activities. Everywhere, nature deserves attention and respect: it is better to admire than to pick, to observe discreetly than to disturb. The Tinée valley stretches for about 80 kilometers, from its confluence with the Var (La Mescla), to the sources of the Tinée river at the foot of the Bonette pass.

The high valley of Tinée offers vast areas of alpine lawns up to the Bonette pass, which has the highest road in Europe at more than 2,800 meters above sea level, as well as high-altitude lakes surrounded by mountain peaks amongst the highest of the Mercantour National Park.

 

Ibex, chamois and mountain sheeps cohabitate. Deer, roe deer and wild boar frequent lower woodlands. Ornithological richness: black grouse, ptarmigan, nutcracker, and large raptors such as the golden eagle and bearded vulture are the most remarkable birds that inhabit the territory.

A few packs of wolves, back since 1992, have settled on the Haute Tinée.

 

Thanks to the action of the National Park, all these symbolic animals, some of which have almost disappeared, are once again populating the Mercantour mountains, where the discreet and attentive hiker will be able to observe them.

 

More common: marmot, ermine, bats and many others enrich the diversity of environments with their presence. Thanks to multiple climatic and geological influences, composed of a mosaic of environments at various altitudes, the Mercantour can boast of having a unique flora in Europe, more than 2,000 plant species out of the 4,200 known in France. Of these, 220 are considered to be very rare, 40 of which are said to be endemic, such as the abundant Saxifrage found nowhere else in the world. The larch, tree of light, symbolizes the beauty and power of Mercantour nature.

 
 

Maximum protection

The exceptional caracteristics of the Mercantour region justified in 1979 its classification as a National Park, a label recognized worldwide as the highest level of quality and protection of natural spaces.

 

Our Italian neighbors have also created the Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime, around the Argentera massif, whose summit rises to 3,290 m, just across the border. The two parks together form a large trans-boundary protected area, which in 1993 obtained the Council of Europe diploma for exemplary management.

 

 

 

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