Thursday, 12 December 2013

Historic Berthemont les Bains - the perfect walking holiday destination!

I love these old postcards - here in France you can often find people selling old postcards - many of which have also been written on and posted!, at local town fairs.  There's also a Facebook page for the Old postcards museum in Nice.

Berthemont hasn't changed much over the years!!!

Like to come and stay?  Just an hour from Nice!

Nick Danziger - living in the Alpes-Maritimes

"I often travel to three or four continents a year, covering locations from furnace-like deserts to teeming mega-cities. I spend too much time at 30,000 feet, but once I am home I am in one of the most beautiful corners of the world. As I look out of my window in the South of France, I can see the beginning of the Mediterranean Alps. Within an hour and a half, my family can trek to unspoilt wilderness areas, walking on to picnic by a lake in an amphitheatre of mountains. Trekking along the border between France and Italy means every picnic is a feast of pain de campagne and bresaola, coated in olive oil and lemon, with olives, cheese and wine. We trek in all seasons, which offers us clear blue Mediterranean skies in summer, blankets of descending mist in autumn, snow in winter, and crisp but usually dry weather in spring. If we are lucky we will spot a chamois or ibex; they are as curious to watch us as we are to watch them. It is not just the physical beauty of this place that takes my breath away, but three elements - home, family and the mountains – that combine to give me the greatest of all possible pleasures".

Nick Danziger 

From Lonely Planet Magazine - May 2010

Your Mercantour hosts -

Image - view of Argentera - 3400m

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Mercantour walking in new Unesco Heritage site – the Maritime Alps!*

You may have thought spacebetween were exaggerating as they have been banging on about the Mercantour for the last 10 years……but finally… finally… the unique attributes of this region in SE France and NW Italy have been acknowledged, in the quest to achieve global recognition of the multi-national natural park of the Maritime Alps.

Yippy do – no doubt the machinery will turn slowly to achieve the stature of a UNESCO World Heritage Site especially as it is a large area – some 1300 km2 covering six French and Italian parks – namely the Mercantour, the Alpi Marittime plus 4 other smaller wonders including the coastal  strip of the site of the Hanbury Gardens.   

The area is populated by about 25000 people and attracts over a million people.  I’d be interested to know what the population of the French Riviera is and how many tourists visit the honey pots on the coast – answers on a postcard please!

A co-operation document was signed in June in the Mercantour and a further meeting in the Roya valley is 
planned for November 18th 2013 when the various parks will present their cases.

The rationale for this project is its geological uniqueness – a visual feast naturally, plus the great diversity of plant and animal species making it one of the 34 biodiversity "hot spots" on the planet, to say nothing of the splendid evocative site of the Vallee des Merveilles, (the Valley of Marvels) – a wonderful valley strewn with over 35K Bronze Age carvings on its rocks.

I’ll keep you posted.
*Well nearly – how could the powers that be refuse!!

More info –

Accommodation and walking and activity holidays in the Mercantour, South East France –
The perfect venue for a great walking holiday in the south of France – the Mercantour – all year round

Photos - Heading down to the Vallee des Merveilles from the Pas de L'Arpette/La Bollene Vesubie


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Cool walking in the Mercantour, France - a quick escape to Roya in the Tinee!!

Escape from the canicule - or the carnage, after yesterday's tempests - on the French Riviera!

The crazy weather this year has created extra special conditions here - the above picture was taken last year looking down on Vignols on our way over to the Refuge de Longon after a day trailing on the impressive sphinx-like Mount Mounier.

This year - and like an idiot I didn't take the camera - the landscape is just so verdant (much more so than the parched picture above! - and rich with flowers and water pouring every where.

From the Tinee valley, the village of Roya is just a short, if narrow, drive up the valley.  There's not a lot there but there is a welcoming looking gite d'etape - Ma Veille Ecole - which has been run by the same family since 2006.  We'll be giving it a try soon! 

The GR5 takes you down to a river where picnic tables in the shade looked very inviting.  The GR5 winds slowly and non aggressively up through forest so you have plenty of time to catch you breath and enjoy the Alpine flowers

You pass an area on the other side of the gurgling water, which is ideal for ice climbing in the winter - although there is now of course the artificial ice tower in Le Boreon in winter months for novices and non novices to have a trial out on before getting into big nature - and also have the security of having a bar next door!!

The path eventually comes out onto an open valley plain where marmot were scampering around giving us their best warning whistles, apparently oblivious to the 100 or so (yes a 100 or so - it's not a typo!) Griffon vultures which were leisurely circling over head.  Straight out of Lord of the Rings.

As it was hot, we only had half a day, and no real fixed agenda we just pottered about admiring the "micro" stuff - the flowers, butterflies, stunning weird insects, scat (including wolf scat), bone remains ...... and eyeing up possible venues for wild swimming.  A delight!!!

The feel of the terrain is so different from the Vesubie, and we at spacebetween are very keen to get some short breaks together so that guests can come an enjoy the mix of some classic GR - Grande Randonnee- walking, some excellent off piste walking and of course the pleasure of being well fed and watered at the end of the day!

This is still - great walking - only an hour and a half from the Cote D'Azur - (and 50 minutes from us in Berthemont) come and de-stress in the mountains. Rejuvination in a flash.

And thanks to Leslie Frasier and friends of Les Chats du Mercantour for the lovely picnic lunch in their field following our wee randonnee.  For cat lovers, Leslie does sterling work for wild cats in the Alpes-Maritimes, running sterlisation schemes and a massive re-homing operation for all sorts of beasties.  She lives in Saint Etienne de Tinee - if you wished to visit, or foster/adopt cats needing a kind owner.

Get in touch for some ideas for day walks or much longer!!!  

Spacebetween - 00 33 493034857 - 00 33 678304929
Accommodation and walking holiday in the Mercantour National Park and beyond!!

Photos - top - Vignols from above - bottom - Mounier in the distance setting out from the Col de Couillole - in 2012 - dry grass!!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Walking in Liguria - a stone's throw from the Mercantour!

If we can only get away for a short break from the Mercantour at any one  time, there could be worse mini escapes in France or Italy, than zooting over the border into Italy!!!

While Italy is only a stone's throw as the golden eagle flies, we either have to drive down to Nice on the coast, east to Ventimiglia and then twenty minutes north into the boonies, or over to the Roya valley to the western edges of lovely Liguria.

Great value accommodation can be found in a handful of agriturismos, where, even in the summer you can get good B&B accommodation for €30-35 per person per night.

In comparison to headier prices found near to the coast on the Cote d'Azur or further west in Provence this is a good deal.  We opted for the Al Pagan, which is just outside the small village of Pigna.

There are six cutely named apartments in the house which has a lovely eyrie position with splendid views over to the village of Baiardo - the driveway is not for the faint-hearted but it's do-able.

You'll receive a hearty welcome from Roberto and Elisa and the cats and dog.  We were pleased to enjoy wine from their neighbouring vineyard and delicious fresh fruit and vegetables from their own veg patch.

We'd had a home cooked and rather belly busting lunch in La Posta in the middle of sleepy Pigna - rather overwhelmed by the delicious, but just too difficult to resist, plate of "nibbles" (ho ho!) and the home made pasta.  Regrettably (no!) we were obliged to sit and watch the sun go down from our own little garden way above Pigna (see above).

The following day we were up early and well motivated to get some calorie-burning done....while the countryside is more rolling than chez nous in the Mercantour, there are peaks over 2000m and what appeared to be a good Via Ferrata to have a play on.  The circuit around Colla Melosa  was splendid - with the most fabulous array of turban lillies that we have ever seen - we are now reaping the benefits of the wet weather we have been having (never mind the excitement of mushroom gatherers!).....but sadly after completing a fair chunk of the VF with no issue - it appeared that much of the paths have been swept away and not replaced, making a bit "hairy" to do without roping up!!!

Returning to Pigna, a swim in the clear blue waters of the thermal baths might have appeared attractive (see below) we weren't tempted to penetrate its glossy exterior - bit of a carbuncle in the midst of unspoilt countryside but there were plenty of guests there!!  We are lucky that there is not enough flat constructable for the powers that be to construct something as monstrous in Berthemont les Bains - where we are lucky enough to reside 24/7365!!!

Suitably refreshed in the morning we are keen to try out the Casa e Bottega in Dolceaqua - an offshoot off the well known Osteria dell AD!! - which is located in the central square of DA - and well worth a visit for pretty good nosh at very reasonable price in a great location.

Well worth a visit - for good quality food at very reasonable prices - before the usual assault on Italian supermarkets in the afternoon, and a calm return to France!!

 Do it - Liguria is stunning - and this article from the Guardian will offer some more advice for taking it all in.

Given the wealth of beautiful scenery, good refuges and its proximity to us - spacebetween - we are happy to offer short breaks across the border - get in touch if you need some pasta in your menu. 

Ciao for now!!!!!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Accommodation on GR 52/52A - Walking holidays in France

Fancy taking one of the many trail walks (Grandes Randonnees) which snake across the Alpes-Maritimes in France? If you do so, book away and come and enjoy some of the best walking in Europe if not the globe......however before you do so spare a thought for securing your accommodation before you set out on foot......

We spacebetween, have been lucky enough to be in a German guide book following a visit by a journo back in the early days of our life here........this is all well and good but the guide book talks of chambre d'hote accommodation, which we no longer do, and makes no mention of the need to book in advance, particularly in the high season. 

As a result, we have many a hopeful face arrive at our door in the early evening in July and August. 

Given that the Hotel des Thermes here in Berthemont is now closed, the Colonie de Vacances - La Semeuse rarely able to take one nighters, and there is little else, we do erect a three podded tent in our garden during the summer so at the very worst passers by can do "comfy camping" with mattresses and duvets, access to a bathroom and a home cooked dinner!!!

We have gained the reputation for being the best accommodation on the GR 52/52a and even the GR5 which is going some, given that the GR5 starts in Holland and runs south!!!

In recent years reputations have ebbed and flowed, hotels have come and gone so here is a run down of recommended places to stay in our vicinity around the Tinee and Vesubie valleys.


The Grand Chalet
Auberge des Mures - recent revamp and restaurant makeover - keen to offer veggie and gluten free menus


L'Arberc - chalet and yourtes with horses for summer rents


La Zourciere

LA BOLLENE - Hotel du Parc closing.


La Source - restaurant and chambre d'hote


Hotel Le Chamois

Gite - Peira Cava 

Otherwise many of the villages have gites communaux, or there is the Hotel Saint Sebastien and the Bar des Sports in Roquebilliere, and the La Ferme des Cartons and La Ferme chambre d'hote but these require a descent into the Vesubie valley!!!!! 

For more information always consider checking out this very useful major Vesubie website.

Saint Martin, despite being the main tourist village of the Vesubie, is rather a wasteland for lodging and eating!!

Good places to eat include Le Provencal & Hotel Saint Sebastien in Roquebilliere, L'Ancien Abbattoir in Belvedere, La Source in Lantosque.

Don't miss the Wednesday night dancing fests in Roquebilliere in July and August and the cultural events run by Les Gens d'Aqui.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Trail running in France - Mercantour Station de Trail.....

The Mercantour continues to put itself on the map with its innovations in sporting trends.  After initiating the outside ice climbing structure in Le Boreon - which becomes a summer climbing attraction in the summer months - the area has just launched a new "Station de Trail" in the Vesubie.  The new trail running centre is only the third in France - following in the footsteps - no pun intended - of the Chartreuse and Vercors regions.  

Of course the Alpes-Maritimes department has tremendous diversity, and the Mercantour is perfect for trail running.  

The centres have four objectives

1) To provide waymarked circuits which are graded in the same way as ski runs - green, blue, red and black.

2) To offer a training ground for the "die hard" devotees of the sport where they might train to take part in such events as the Vertical Kilometre - next planned for June 2013.

3) To advise interested visitors of what they may care to do on the trails.

4) To have a hub site - - which runners can become a member of, to post their times, chat to other fitness keen folks etc.

The training aspects also cater for beginners and aerobic champions alike!!!

There's plenty of information on the Station de Trail website - in German, English, Spanish and Italian no less, plus a useful brochure which I'm sure could be ordered from the Saint Martin Vesubie tourist office - 00 33 (0)4 93 21 28. 

To enjoy your holiday in the Mercantour - get in touch with spacebetween walking and adventure holidays - they don't have trail running as part of their holiday programmes as yet, but they do have great accommodation for you to stay in if you want to come and do your own thing.  Bit of a no-brainer - just an hour from Nice....and good weather!!!!

Holiday in France - you have to eat well!!! Enjoy local produce and a laugh!

Roquebillière has a busy little rural market with colourful stalls from March to November on the central square of the village.  It has become an indispensable treat for both regular or occasional visitors. Almost 100% of the produce is local and organic!!.    

Established in 2007 to meet local's demand, the market is now organised between a local association of producers - GEDAR and Vesubie Decouverte.  

It is mainly fruit and veg, with some fish, and plants and then..... local cheeses, scrummy home made syrups, olives, not forgetting some organic beauty products, and local crafts - hand made pottery and baskets.

There is also a six yearly larger market which attracts people from further afield - a must for your hunting gear, crimpelene tabards (remember those?) and all manner of charcuterie and other finery.

A great opportunity to go down and browse, admire the view up to Belvedere and indulge in a load of local chit chat.  If you are staying with spacebetween in one of their gites in Berthemont les Bains get down to the village to practice your French!!!

With the summer arts festival organised by the Gens D'Aqui, and the Wednesday evenings free "hops" in the village square - where local favourites Lu Rupau Capeu will have you whirling around as you haven't done since Scottish country dancing at school!!!

Roquebilliere is coming into its own and over shadowing its "big sister" Saint-Martin-Vesubie.  

Bravo Eric, Annie, Jerome et al......


Non-exhaustive list of exhibitors

Annie and Gerard SIC (Sheep; Goat Cheese)
Lily Creation (pottery ceramic art)
Philippe RAYMONDO (jams, syrups, eggs)
MICHEL - fish (shark, whale  ;-)
Angele CORNILLION (Tome)
Alex ACTIS (organic vegetables)
Gilles & Hassina AUBURTIN (organic vegetables)
Joel CORNIGLION (fruits and vegetables)
Elise (syrups and jams, gift basket ..)
Jérôme Payen (mountain honey)
Vizzone Giuseppe (Italian specialties)
Isa (fruits and vegetables)
Sylvain (olives, olive oil &
; olive puree)
Allari Véronique (beads and Murano glass jewelry)
Audrey (dry grocery organic cosmetics)
Mauro (Plants and Plant seasons

In French/en francais

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Seen a wolf in France - what to do.....

Hey you have been very lucky - usually you can be sure of a wolf in the Alpha Wolf Park in Le Boreon, but you can see wild wolves as our friends have recently on the Col de Turini - alerted to the presence of their lupine "friends" by their patou dog - who only barks at wolves - never at dogs!!!

If you do have the chance to observe a wolf in the wild, take pictures if you can or at least photograph hair, scat, footprints or evidence of kills or their lairs.

Use the size reference of your hand to provide a guideline, and if you are equipped with a plastic bag do take samples with you for presentation to either the National Park office here in the Mercantour, or to the Ferus site.

We space-between once had a horse riding customer, who was sure he had seen wolves in the mid distance, when out doing the Transhumance, but said nothing because he thought it was a regular occurence!!

Please be vigilant and report any useful sightings to those who are lucky enough to earn a living working with these fabulous animals!!

The picture is of Christian Lorenzetti - local wolf enthusiast and friend who runs a lovely gite in Valdeblore,

Or you could also stay next to the Alpha wolf park at Denis the Horse's chalet and enjoy great food at O a la Bouche!!! 

Monday, 1 April 2013

A little chi chi anyone???

After this rather mixed bag of weather over Easter - here in Berthemont les Bains in the Mercantour it started out warm and sunny and now there is cloud and a nasty Northern blast to the wind - you may well be starting to think about your next walking holiday in France or Italy.

Don't delay if you wish to come and visit your chums Liz & Mel - as their accommodation is already getting pretty full.....but don't forget that over and above the delights of the Mercantour National Park, there is much fun to be had on the coast.  You may wish to avoid July and August in Nice but for most of the time you can enjoy the Alpes-Maritimes without the revenue of Prince Albert of Monaco.   There are plenty of good value hotels and restaurants - ask for more information by all means, and it is always possible to fill up on pizza and icecream if you must!!!!  The Saint Exupery hostels comes highly recommended, plus the €1 bus anywhere* in the Alpes-Maritimes means that your dollar/pound, whatever, can go a long way!!!   * Note that to get a €1 ticket from the airport to town, all you need to do is take a 5 minute walk onto the Prom des Anglais.....otherwise it is €4 for a day pass!

A nice way of wiling (not sure about the spelling of that!!) a morning is to take a glass of rose in the Nice flower market - lots of scrummy things to buy but if you have the opportunity to cook for yourself get to the section where local growers are selling their freshly pulled produce.....and thank heavens it is not UK supermarket beautiful - but the fruit and veg taste great.

With your rose, enjoy a plate of socca if you can......if you've never heard of it - go for it - it's a chick pea flour type pancake which is cooked on a flat griddle pan and then served with enough freshly ground salt and pepper to make you really want to get your face into it!!

To make it at home is simple - it's a mix of chick pea flour (farine pois chiche) 250g, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 500ml of water - all beaten together, left to rest for 30 minutes and then cooked in a heavy bottomed pan to achieve a crispy base - and (at home at least) easiest to finish it off under a hot grill.....  French style is thin and crispy - Italian style a bit thicker and more stodgy - I'm saying NOTHING!!!

It's easy but you have to stand sentinel over the grill but it's a perfect tear and share type nibble with your early evening apero whilst admiring the sunset or playing boules!!!  and of course it's perfect for vegetarians.

Ask spacebetween to make you some when you are having a break in the Mercantour.....a bit of spice may be thrown in - but that's not unusual......

Holidays in the South of France - rarely disappointing!!!

Bonne fin de Paques.....

Thanks to Lindsey of Sinclair Exposed for the images....

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Easter in the Mountains in the South of France?!!

Need a last minute holiday in France? - Easter is VERY early this year for sure - in Northern Europe we all seems to have suffered a severe dousing of rain and snow - and once the sun does come out we are looking for a bummer crop of grass for our hungry horses!

However one thing at a time - while it might have been raining here at 861m - up higher - and we do have higher! - the snow is astonishing - which has lead most of our ski resorts here - including La Colmiane, Auron, Isola 2000 etc and of course Le Boreon - for the wolf park and cross country skiing - never mind the perfect untrodden opportunities for snow shoeing in the Mercantour!! - staying open for the Easter weekend,

It seems as if people both here and in the UK have rather been hedging their bets - and there does appear to be accommodation available at this late stage in the game - including for our gites in Berthemont les Bains ......

We're also running a snow shoeing week from April 6th - once the holiday flights prices have subsided...this was meant to be a Mercantour Reflections week - but hey ho - let's not put those snow shoes away as's perfect - as when the sun does come out it has been close to 20 degrees in the midday sun - just about okay to enjoy a tartiflette in the sunshine......

A last minute walking break in France - get it booked - fly to Nice and let us do the rest!!!

Vegetarians are very welcome......

Hope to see you soon.....


Wolves in the wild in the Mercantour

Mollières – the only village in the central core of the Mercantour.  It remains a magic place accessible on foot by the Tinée valley – or from Millefonts via the Col de Barn or Col Ferier.   

The “authorised” – those who live in the village may take the 15km untarmaced road from Le Boreon in the summer months – in the winter it is strictly snow shoe or ski mountaineering access for the hardy.   

The village opted to be Italian in the 19th century and regained its “Frenchness” after WWII, at the end of which the village was razed to the ground by the Germans.  Imagine then that the village isn’t Alpine pretty but its isolated location make it magic.  

 It is one of the areas in the Mercantour where wild wolves are most often seen, and if you are not lucky enough to see a wolf you are almost guaranteed to see deer and chamois.

The experience is heightened by a stay in the private refuge which is run by local piano and professional pianist Fred Chauvel – he and his wife Sarah are always delighted to share their passion for the village from their house here – the former presbytery.   

Don’t expect luxury – there’s no mains electric  but you can expect a hot shower and a home cooked delicious meal – followed by a glorious nights sleep….aided by a glass of genepy!!!

Descendants of the original house owners are gradually drifting back to the village to renovate their homes and to fish, nurture a veggie patch – plus if you go there - look out for a garden with a beautiful English style flower border which is alive with insects and even a hummingbird moth since once or twice.

To stay in the refuge you need to call Fred or Sarah – they will arrange to welcome you if you are say more than 6 people – the refuge sleeps about 16 in total. Contact spacebetween for more details.

Spacebetween walking holidays in the Mercantour – include a stay in Mollieres as part of their wolf holiday short breaks, or it can be an overnight stay on a horse trek.

The other side of the Mercantour

Thank heavens there seems to be more of a willingness to co-operate – between the French and Italian side of the “Mercantour” that is!!  The Mercantour spills over into the Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime ...which even on cross border maps has been a big “void” the other side of the border.  The PNAM was created in 1995, thanks to the merger of the Argentera Natural Park (1980) and the Riserva del Bosco dei Laghi di e Palanfré (1979 ).

It is a parc sans frontières for sure which shares many economic and cultural ties. Since 1984 there have been efforts to work together across the 35km border to jointly protect and develop the beautiful mass of over 100,000 hectares.  It is one of the largest National Parks in Italy with of course the same natural beauty and richness of flora and fauna that is found in the Mercantour, and climbing Argentera at just under 3300m is not to be sniffed at. 

The Park was given a slightly different flavour thanks to the hunting exploits of King Victor Emanuel II, with much of the terrain criss-crossed with mule tracks.  These mules carrying the “support” team of up to 200-300 trackers - the entourage of the King.  

In later times, the old paths of the Salt Route were bolstered with military installations as Italy sought to beef up its border prior to WWII.  The legacy of this is not pretty but interesting in military history terms. 
The frontier is easily reached from the French side via the Col de Fenestre and you can be rewarded for your exploits in reaching the “divide” by dropping down for a well deserved dip in thermal baths at Termi di Valdieri, or enjoy the wolf park at Entraque.

Spacebetween run short break holidays on horse and on foot across the border into Italy.

Website -

Templar in the Mercantour

Whatever your religion, I’m not sure that I know anyone who doesn’t get a little “frisson” when the Knight’s Templar are mentioned – we may well all have been over “hollywood’ed” thanks to Raiders of the Lost Ark and the DaVinci Code.  
Never fear however there is of course a serious and interesting cultural history! Whether or not the first Friday 13th was on Friday 13th1307 when many of the Knights were arrested is debatable of course!!
Not keen to be outdone by the likes of Rennes-Le-Chateau we here in the Alpes-Maritimes also have our Templar history - thank you very much.
In our lovely part of the world in the South of France the Templars were stationed in old Roman townships, including Vence where the Templars enjoyed life in the Commanderie in Saint-Martin de Vence which is to the North of the town.  There is a legend that there is “booty” buried in the area – which investigations over the centuries have failed to locate – makes for a nice tale of course and has doubtless had many scurrying for their metal detectors.
Saint-Martin-de-Vence managed the route north of Vence, as the Templar Chateau in La Gaude protected the area above the Var.
Further North of course and into the Vésubie valley, many fine looking hanging villages stand guard over the valley which was an important conduit for the Salt Route, the salt starting out its life in Marseille, to then be shipped along the coast, and hence inland by mule, and over the border into Italy.
One of the finest of these villages is Utelle which had strategic importance due to its elevated position.  Today it has the most stunning views of the Massif of the Mercantour to the North,and down to the Mediterranean to the South.  It used to be an important centre with a hospital and schools and still maintains its handsome 17th century houses, which include several with engraved lintels – featuring symbols of the House of Savoy as well as other more mysterious ones linked to the Templars.  The Saint-Véran church dominates the village centre.  A further 15 minutes drive the Madone D’Utelle sanctuary is reached – this has its own legend – of course.  Visitors can enjoy the special atmosphere of the plateau, browse the church and the local produce shop as well as staying overnight!
Roquebillière boasts a fine Templar church, and your resident expert on Templars inSainte-Martin Vésubie is Eric Gilli – who has studied the history of the area in great detail.  He runs the local museum, as well as running an Association called AMONT which runs fascinating seminars on local history.
If you’d like to know more contact spacebetween who are based in the Mercantour and offer accommodation plus walking and activity holidays in France and Italy.

The “old Salt” in the Alpes-Maritimes

It’s hard to imagine that humble salt has been transported around the South of France for over two thousand years.  This white gold was produced on the salt flats around Marseille, transported East along the coast of the Med and then taken North with the assistance of mule packs. In its hey day up to 35000 mule trips were made in SE France and on the Italian border.
One route leads from Nice and up towards the Vésubie and the head of the valley. The other major route started from Ventimiglia, up the Roya Valley, to the col deTende and then down into Piedmont.  If you are a keen mountain biker you can even cycle this route these days!!
As you can imagine the history this transport has always been hot – with much danger from marauding hoards and super greedy powers that be, with the Savoyards creating a new route between Nice and Turin via the Haute Vésubie – all within the Savoy territory. 
The Col de Fenestre however was not the most practical solution as the high passes could not be tackled during the winter, so the Roya remained an important route.  Many of the fine hanging villages which dominant the Roya were heavily fortified.
Various shenanigans over the centuries lead to the routes being diverted over the Col de Brouis and via Berghe, being extended towards Menton – all in the cause of protectionism!!
From the 15th Century up to the French Revolution in 1789 the Gabelle (salt tax) was a controversial measure, perhaps due to the fact that the clergy and nobility were exempt from it!  It is said in fact that the Gabelle was a significant factor in igniting the French way back when.
Think on when you are flavouring up your dinner this evening!!!
Various stretches of the Salt Route in the South of France form part of the itinerary of spacebetween’s walking holidays in France.

Image - Sospel village centre