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!!!