HomeRoya ValleyVoie Sacrée de Fontanalbe

July 19

The gravures of the Vallée des Merveilles have been a goal of mine for years. I finally made it!

We got an early start at balise 395: 9.10am to be exact. Although definitely warm the heat had not yet become stifling. The patches of shade made it bearable. As we climbed higher it became cooler and the alpine vegetation was cool indeed.

enroute

A little over 2 hours later we were here in cooler air:

enroute2

enroute3We reached balise 388 at 11.30 where a sign directed us to Lac Vert. It took only another 20 minutes but it was a hard 20 minutes as a park official reminded us to put the hiking poles away. The metal tips are forbidden once you enter the area of the gravures.

Then, there it was! Lac Vert de Fontanalbe:

lac-vertBy now the air was cool and refreshing. The lake was cold but swimmable I suppose once you got past the muddy bottom.

lac-vert2After a relaxing lunch, we decided to press on to check out the gravures which involved an easy climb of about 100m to an orientation table with sweeping views that included Mont Bego on one side

begoand its foothills (below) on the other.

foothillsUp here, there was a steady, cool wind and the 360° panorama of peaks made it easy to understand why this was a sacred spot for the Bronze Age peoples (3500BC) who left their mysterious engravings (or graffiti?) on 4000 rocks spread out over 17 sq km.

Not far from the orientation table was the Voie Sacrée, a rocky path with a series of gravures on the left side.

gravuresThis is just a glimpse of the splendours up here. To fully appreciate the site, it’s best to take one of the free guided tours offered by the Parc Mercantour.

On the way back, a butterfly alighted on my hat and made herself comfortable.

butterflyI view it as a good omen. I’m sure the engravers of Mount Bego would have felt the same.

The descent was lengthy but presented no special difficulty apart from the sharp stones along the track.

descentWe staggered into Casterino around 4-ish.



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