Thursday, 28 March 2013

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.

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