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The Switzerland of Nice

Standing at nearly 1000 metres above Nice, this medieval mountain village used to guard the Col de Fenestre. Nowadays however, it is one of the gateways to the Mercantour National Park and a popular summer mountaineering centre.

Switzerland Niçois

Often referred to as ‘Switzerland Niçoise’ due to being surrounded by high mountains such as the Cime du Mercantour (2772m) and the Cime de Gélas (3143m) as well as verdant alpine terrain, St-Martin itself is a very pleasant small town with an abundance of facilities (see website) and interesting architecture. The narrow main street, rue du Docteur-Cagnoli, even has a stream. Known as the ‘Gargouille’ flowing down it in addition to many fine fine stone buildings with wooden balconies.

Don’t miss the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs and the place de la Frairie. From the latter there is a great view of the Madone de Fenestre torrent and some of the surrounding high mountains.

Practical Info Practical Info icon

Département: Alpes-Maritimes.

33(0)4 93 03 21 28

Useful website

Market day: Daily

Nice Beyond: The Vésubie In-1–3-Days

High mountains, a beautiful national park & wolves!

Text © Paul Shawcross

Image by © Paul Shawcross