December 2, 2011
The Maritime Alps
When one closes their eyes and thinks of the Cote d’Azur, beautiful, long sandy beaches, lapped by turquoise and crystal-clear waters, immediately spring to mind. Although these scenes of serenity are quickly followed by images of casinos, Lamborghinis with their hoods down, champagne on ice, five-star hotels, and scantily-clad people donning to-die-for bodies.
There is, however, a lesser known side of the Cote d’Azur that often goes almost overlooked.
The Maritime Alps region offers the perfect backdrop to contrast with the glam and the glitz of the Cote d’Azur coastline.
Throughout the Maritime Alps area there is more than 6,500 km of marked trails, which take walkers, nature-lovers, cyclists, or anyone wanting to exchange the glitziness of the Cote d’Azur with compelling natural beauty, though some sensational unspoilt landscapes.
A 30-minute drive will take you from the notoriously cosmopolitan cities of Nice, St-Tropez and Monaco, into the heart of the Maritime Alps, where the natural scenery diverges profoundly to the French Riviera’s towns and cities and the air becomes notably fresher.
With an abundance of lakes and rivers entwining through the forests, mountains, meadows and trails, the Maritime Alps region is home to a hub of activities for outdoor adventure seekers.
From trekking through the mountains on horseback, to white water rafting on a cascading river, to rock climbing up a precariously vertical cliff face, life in these beautiful mountains seems like a million miles away from the breath-taking extravagance of the Cote d’Azur’s towns and cities.
The art and culture this region has become renowned for is certainly not limited to the coastal areas, as the Maritime Alps is brimming with ancient treasures. The Vallee des Merveilles, for example, is home to hundreds of paintings and rock carvings that date back to the Bronze Age and are one of the most impressive ancient outdoor artefacts to still be existence.
If journeying into the past in the most striking of natural surroundings, whilst being just a ‘stone’s throw’ from the glam and glitz of the Cote d’Azur’s hottest destinations, then head for a breath of fresh air into the Maritime Alps, you won’t be disappointed.