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Maritime Alps

Wildlife at Leisure

Tours that take the strain out of enjoying Europe’s flora and fauna! Tours under this banner will be based in one or two good quality hotels, and will have direct flights, and these at kind times of day! And most importantly field trips will be kept to a maximum of six or so hours giving you plenty of time to relax before and after. Direct flights are available from some regional airports.

Silene flos jovis, Entracque © E R Win

Just an hour and a half’s drive north of Nice the idyllic Parc National du Mercantour offers the beguiling combination of beautiful unspoilt mountains, a warm and sunny climate and one of the richest arrays of butterflies and flowers anywhere in Europe.

A dazzling show of Saxifrages, Columbines, Louseworts, Violets and Gentians adorn alpine meadows over which floats that classic alpine butterfly, the beautiful Apollo. Its rarer cousin, the Small Apollo, can also be seen amid a tremendous variety of other butterflies. About 110 species are expected, among them some of Europe’s finest – Great Sooty Satyr, Lesser Purple Emperor, Large Blue, Meleager’s Blue and Cynthia’s Fritillary. We shall search for the shy-flowering Ancient King, a rare and primitive saxifrage, as well as beauties such as Aquilegias, Phyteumas and Gentiana burseri. Secluded valleys harbour meadows and forests festooned with Geraniums, Bellflowers, yellow Foxgloves and Delphiniums. From these flowery havens

Apollo Madone du Fenestre by Bernard Dupont

Alpine Marmots whistle at us from boulders bedecked with Cobweb Houseleeks. Golden Eagles, Citril Finches and Nutcrackers add interest in the bird line, and we will see many Chamois and maybe Ibex too! Much of what we will see is within just a few miles of the hotels so if you want to enjoy a superb mountain holiday with as much time as possible amongst those wonderful alpine meadows, forests and rocky peaks, then try this one!

Golden Eagle and Raven by Fiona Dunbar

Dates and Prices

7th July - 14th July 2025 (8 days)

London - London £2,225
Nice - Turin £1,950
Single Supplement* £150
Deposit £200

* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged

or ask us a question.

Dates and Prices are provisional and will be confirmed August 2024

Tour Summary

Day 1
to Valdeblore via the Tinee Valley
Day 2
Rimplas, Valdeblore & the Col St.Martin
Day 3
Madone de Fenestre & Gordalasque Valleys
Day 4
Col de Turini
Day 5
Val Santa Anna and the Col de Lombarde
Day 6
Col de Tende, Italian and French sides
Day 7
Entracque (Gorge della Reina)
Day 8
To Turin and Departure

Tour information


Superb Butterflies and Meadow and Alpine Flowers. Also Birds and Mountain Landscapes


Paul Cardy , Stefano Doglio

Group Size

One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 12.

Included in the Price

All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in France and Italy. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included. Flower, bird and butterfly checklists are available.


The first four nights of the tour will see us based at the warmly welcoming Hotel de Valdeblore, a characterful family-run establishment situated in the peaceful hamlet of the same name. The remaining three nights will be on the Italian side of the mountains in the comfortable four-star Hotel Il Principe in lovely Limone in the Alpi Marittime Natural Park. All rooms have en suite facilities.


For the most part easy. Walks of up to three or four miles on some days but much less on others, always at a slow pace, well-suited to photographers. The slopes are sometimes quite steep.


UK direct outbound flights to Nice are available from various regional airports*. The return flight is from Torino to London Gatwick.

*These routes may incur a supplement but many don’t.


Warm and sunny. Temperatures will be in the mid to high twenties and although cloud may develop during the day we can expect little or no rain.

Tour Combinations

Why not fly out early for a weeks’ tour in the outstandingly scenic Stelvio National Park where the variety and abundance of flowers to be found has to be seen to be believed. Your leader/s will transport you between the two. Stelvio and Mercantor
Or for a three week spectacular Alps trip, add a week in the Dolomites! The Alps

How to Book

Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.

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