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Nice Beyond: The Vésubie In-1–3-Days

High mountains, a beautiful national park & wolves!

The Niçois, or inhabitants of Nice, often refer to the impressive, beautiful mountainous territory above the City somewhat mysteriously as the ‘Beyond’. However, it is officially known, more prosaically, as the ‘Pays Arrière Niçois’ or Nice’s Back Country.

This is part of the old County of Nice and much of it is contained within the Parc National du Mercantour. There are high mountains such as the Cime de Gélas (3143m) and Mont Bégo (2872m), picturesque mountain villages such as La Bollène Vésubie, Sospel and Saorge and, if that’s not enough, wild wolves roam the upper slopes of this wilderness. This Itinerary covers the western side of the Mercantour and the Vallée-de-la-Vésubie.

Before you begin: Get a copy of the Michelin Departmental Map 341. This drive involves negotiating some challenging roads and takes you into Nice Beyond, the amazing mountainous region just behind Nice which, surprisingly, can be reached in little over an hour from the city. Part of the itinerary can easily be accomplished in one day but an overnight stay (or two!) is recommended. A great place to stay is for a short break (or longer) is la Zourcière near St-Martin-Vésubie.

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Alpha Loup

The Time of the Wolf


Dramatic Gorges & Olive Groves

La Bollene-Vésubie

A mountain village on the route of the Monte Carlo Rally

La Colmiane

Alpine Playground

Le Boréon

Winter sports & wolves in the Mercantour

Mercantour National Park

Parc National du Mercantour


The Switzerland of Nice


Old village on the Route de Sel

Vallon de la Gordolasque

Pathway to the Merveilles


Dramatic Gorges & Olive Groves

Text © Paul Shawcross

Images by © Christian Williams, © Paul Shawcross