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FRANCE

An Unforgettable Challenge: Trekking the French Maritime Alps

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Road Scholar
Program #17990RJ
12 Days | 11 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Walking elevations range from 4000-7100 feet. Most hiking at an average of about 4600 feet.

Equipment Requirements
Ankle high hiking boots and backpack.

Itinerary for Sep 6 — Sep 17, 2013

Expand all
Day One: Friday, September 06 - Overnight flight from the U.S.A. to Europe.
In Transit: Overnight flight from the U.S.A. to Europe.

Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: Charming hotel located in the center of Nice, few minutes from the train station; half-way between the famous Promenade Anglais (seaside-promenade) and the motorways; very quiet and peaceful surroundings.

Contact info:
16 avenue Durante
Nice, 06000 France
phone: +04.93.88.84.40
web: www.hotel-durante.fr

Room amenities: Private bath, AC, telephone.

Facility amenities: Breakfast room, only 24 guest rooms, garden.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: N/A
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404


Day Two: Saturday, September 07 - Orientation walk through Nice - 1.5 hours.
Arrive To: Arrival in Nice. Upon arrival at the Nice Airport the Participants will be met and transferred by private coach to the hotel, check-in and depending on the time of arrival short orientation walk through the town.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hotel or local establishment this evening.

Evening: Welcome orientation reception.

Lodging: Hotel Durante

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Other

Description: These huts are very simple, shower and toilet on floor where the sleeping quarters are located, dormitory style sleeping with one single cot or bed for each person. Dining area and outdoor area.

Contact info:
Maritime Alps
Mercantour National Park, 00000 France
phone: +41792927193
Room amenities: Dorm style sleeping quarters.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Sunday, September 08 - Dalius Gorge - trekking high above the gorge. To...
Dalius Gorge - trekking high above the gorge. Today's trekking time is approximately 4 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast transfer by local train and minibus to the starting point of today’s trek next to the impressive Dalius Gorge, famous for its red stone resulting from the oxidation of iron. Walk on a gentle trail high above the gorge to a vantage point which offers breathtaking views of the canyon hemmed in by sheer walls and the Var River.

Lunch: Picnic lunch on the trail.

Afternoon: Keep these unique shapes of nature in mind while continuing on through woods and meadows, to the first destination, “the hamlet of Villeplane” (4000 feet).

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the mountain hut.

Lodging: Mountain Hut

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: These huts are very simple, shower and toilet on floor where the sleeping quarters are located, dormitory style sleeping with one single cot or bed for each person. Dining area and outdoor area.

Contact info:
Maritime Alps
Mercantour National Park, 00000 France
phone: +41792927193
Room amenities: Dorm style sleeping quarters.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Monday, September 09 - Trekking from Villeplane to Sauze (4500 feet). A...
Trekking from Villeplane to Sauze (4500 feet). Approximate trekking time is 5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the mountain hut.

Morning: Today’s trek leads along the foot of Mt. St. Honorat with panoramic views of the Var Valley and the hills and mountains of the Haute Provence in the distance. Trek back in time while passing hamlets with abandoned fields, once the bread basket of a whole region.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at the trail.

Afternoon: End the day’s trek downhill through a forest ending at the village of Sauze, located on a high plateau with splendid views of the Var Valley and across to the mountain tops.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hut.

Lodging: Mountain Hut

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: These huts are very simple, shower and toilet on floor where the sleeping quarters are located, dormitory style sleeping with one single cot or bed for each person. Dining area and outdoor area.

Contact info:
Maritime Alps
Mercantour National Park, 00000 France
phone: +41792927193
Room amenities: Dorm style sleeping quarters.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Tuesday, September 10 - Trek from Sauze to Bouchanieres (4600 feet). App...
Trek from Sauze to Bouchanieres (4600 feet). Approximate trekking time is 6 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at the mountain hut.

Morning: After breakfast start trekking through magnificent larch and oak woods to the valley floor and cross the bridge over the river Var before climbing on a barren ridge up to the century old hamlet of Chateauneuf, and only inhabited by 25 people all year round.

Lunch: Picnic on the trail.

Afternoon: In the afternoon follow a winding trail down to a mountain stream and up again to Bouchanière. Our gîte d’étape (mountain inn) is wonderfully located at the top of the tiny village with marvelous views of rounded hills of the Haute Provence.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the mountain hut.

Lodging: Mountain Hut

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: These huts are very simple, shower and toilet on floor where the sleeping quarters are located, dormitory style sleeping with one single cot or bed for each person. Dining area and outdoor area.

Contact info:
Maritime Alps
Mercantour National Park, 00000 France
phone: +41792927193
Room amenities: Dorm style sleeping quarters.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Wednesday, September 11 - Circular trek to Col de Barels (6000 feet) back t...
Circular trek to Col de Barels (6000 feet) back to Bouchanieres. Approximate trekking time is 5.5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Morning: Again today the trail leads through typical Mediterranean forest before gradually giving way to open terrain. Pass several hamlets with houses mostly in decay and finally reach the Col de Barels.

Lunch: Today’s picnic is on a nearby peak with grand views of the Maritime Alps.

Afternoon: Descend on a circular path high above a ravine back to Bouchanières. Should you feel too tired after yesterday’s long trek, take a day off or just go for a walk in the neighborhood.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the mountain hut.

Lodging: Mountain Hut

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: These huts are very simple, shower and toilet on floor where the sleeping quarters are located, dormitory style sleeping with one single cot or bed for each person. Dining area and outdoor area.

Contact info:
Maritime Alps
Mercantour National Park, 00000 France
phone: +41792927193
Room amenities: Dorm style sleeping quarters.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Seven: Thursday, September 12 - Trek from Bouchanieres to Peone (4000 feet). App...
Trek from Bouchanieres to Peone (4000 feet). Approximate trekking time is 6 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the mountain hut.

Morning: Today’s goal and certainly one of the absolute highlights of this trek is the “Tête de Méric” (6800 feet). Steadily uphill, first through woods, later in open and rocky terrain, it takes approximately 3 hours to conquer this peak. Savor the extensive sweeping views while eating picnicking. Only 800 feet higher than yesterday, but the surrounding peaks seem to have doubled, as if risen from the Mediterranean Sea lover night.

Lunch: Picnic on the trail.

Afternoon: In the afternoon descend on a different trail to the charming village of Péone protected by “the ladies of Péone”, a group of rugged needle shaped Dolomite rock.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the mountain hut.

Lodging: Mountain Hut

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: These huts are very simple, shower and toilet on floor where the sleeping quarters are located, dormitory style sleeping with one single cot or bed for each person. Dining area and outdoor area.

Contact info:
Maritime Alps
Mercantour National Park, 00000 France
phone: +41792927193
Room amenities: Dorm style sleeping quarters.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eight: Friday, September 13 - Trek today from Peone to Estenc (6100 feet). App...
Trek today from Peone to Estenc (6100 feet). Approximate trekking time is 4.5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast served at the mountain hut.

Morning: This morning transfer by minibus to the village of Entraunes (4200 feet). A well-kept trail with nice switchbacks ascends to a balcony high above the Var Valley, then follow a gentle path with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains marking the limits of the Mercantour National Park. This is a remote area and is highly unlikely to meet any other trekkers during the day.

Lunch: Picnic on the trail.

Afternoon: Cross beautiful larch forests before descending on a winding trail to the hamlet of Estenc, tonight’s refuge is located in the upper Var Valley in the midst of lush meadows.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the mountain hut.

Lodging: Mountain Hut

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: These huts are very simple, shower and toilet on floor where the sleeping quarters are located, dormitory style sleeping with one single cot or bed for each person. Dining area and outdoor area.

Contact info:
Maritime Alps
Mercantour National Park, 00000 France
phone: +41792927193
Room amenities: Dorm style sleeping quarters.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Nine: Saturday, September 14 - Trek from Estenc to Col de la Cayolle (7500 feet)...
Trek from Estenc to Col de la Cayolle (7500 feet). Approximate trekking time is 5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at the mountain hut.

Morning: Today’s hike combines all the attractive elements of mountain environment, pine and larch forests, barren ravines, high plateaus scattered with huge rocks and mountain peaks. A well-kept trail leads steadily uphill to the Col de la Boucharde (8400 feet).

Lunch: Picnic on the trail.

Afternoon: Continue trekking down the eastern slope on a partly steep trail. The last hour is uphill again to the Refuge de la Cayolle, just below the pass of the same name.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hut.

Lodging: Mountain Hut

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: These huts are very simple, shower and toilet on floor where the sleeping quarters are located, dormitory style sleeping with one single cot or bed for each person. Dining area and outdoor area.

Contact info:
Maritime Alps
Mercantour National Park, 00000 France
phone: +41792927193
Room amenities: Dorm style sleeping quarters.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Ten: Sunday, September 15 - Trekking from Col de la Cayolle to Estenc (6100 f...
Trekking from Col de la Cayolle to Estenc (6100 feet). Approximate trekking time is 5.5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the mountain hut.

Morning: The best for last! Once more we trek in this geological battle ground, where the emerging Alps pushed back the sea some 60 million years ago. A winding path leads up to the Cayolle pass (7600 feet). Continue trekking on a high barren plateau past Lake Garrets and along a crest with spectacular views of the Maritime Alps including Mont Pelat, (10,000 feet) the highest of the region.

Lunch: Picnic on the trail.

Afternoon: In the afternoon descend from Col de Lausson to Estenc.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the mountain hut.

Lodging: Mountain Hut

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: Charming hotel located in the center of Nice, few minutes from the train station; half-way between the famous Promenade Anglais (seaside-promenade) and the motorways; very quiet and peaceful surroundings.

Contact info:
16 avenue Durante
Nice, 06000 France
phone: +04.93.88.84.40
web: www.hotel-durante.fr

Room amenities: Private bath, AC, telephone.

Facility amenities: Breakfast room, only 24 guest rooms, garden.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: N/A
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404


Day Eleven: Monday, September 16 - Estenc to Nice (65 feet). Approximate trekking t...
Breakfast: Breakfast is served at the mountain hut.

Morning: After breakfast follow an undemanding trail along the Var River between towering cliffs and gushing waterfalls to the village of Entraunes. Transfer by minibus and train back to Nice. Check-in at the hotel.

Lunch: Picnic on the trail or at a local establishment in Entraunes.

Afternoon: Independent time - group leader will be able to extend ideas for sightseeing.

Dinner: Independent in the city of Nice.

Lodging: Hotel Durante

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Twelve: Tuesday, September 17 - Departure day back to the U.S.A.
Breakfast: Buffet breafkfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer by private coach to the Nice airport...program ends.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Included
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10 nights of accommodations
28 meals: 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
12 Expert-led lectures
16 Field trips

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