Logo Mercantour National Park

Mercantour National Park

Protected Area

Approaching map
  • Park Authority: Parc National du Mercantour
  • Administrative Offices: 23 rue d'Italie, BP 1316, 06006 NICE Cedex 1
  • Tel: (+33)
  • Area: 68,500 ha central area + 136,500 ha peripheral area
  • Altitude: 490m - 3,143m
  • Established in: 1979


Mercantour National Park is situated in the south-eastern end of France, next to Piedmont. Mercantour massif represents the southernmost spur of the alpine chain, directly diving into the Mediterranean Sea: the 3,143m of altitude of Mt. Gélas, the highest mountain of Mercantour, are only 50 km far from the sea as the crown flies! A particular position, between the sea and the mountains, giving the Park unique and original features.



Col du Vasson
The main mission of Mercantour National Park is to protect nature, the landscapes, and the biological diversity of its territory. Managing this heritage and putting it at the visitors' disposal, the Park promotes its discovery and knowledge, working hard in order to hand it down to future generations in the best possible conditions.

The Park Territory

The Park territory extends in the Southern Alps for about 150 km of length and includes two departments: the department of Alpes-Maritimes, for about two thirds of its area, and the whole department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Mercantour massif offers in its six valleys the fragrances of the Mediterranean, Provence, the Alps, and Italy... Verdon, Var-Cians, Ubaye, Tinée, Vésubie, and Roya-Bévéra: each valley has its own distinctive features.

One territory, two areas

Like all French national parks, Mercantour includes a central area (coeur) and a peripheral area (aire d'adhésion).
The heart of the Park covers an area of 68,500 ha characterized by an extraordinary naturalistic heritage: for this reason, the area has strict rules regulating the presence of visitors and forbidding most of the human activities, as well as the permanent presence of inhabitants. Only some small traditional towns are inhabited in some seasons.
The peripheral area, covering about 136,500 ha, has 18,000 residents in 28 Municipalities, out of which 22 belong to the department of Alpes-Maritimes. The Park contributes to the local economic development, constantly trying to balance the impact of human activities with the protection of the environment.

Further information: Rules (French text)

A Considerable Natural Diversity


Argentera-Mercantour massif is an area of geological, climatic, and landscape interest: its rough mountains and variegated landscapes house rich communities of vegetables and animals.
The different climatic influences (Mediterranean, Ligurian, alpine, and Provençal) and the presence of summits of considerable height near the sea are the causes of the great heterogeneity of the natural environment. Mercantour is the one and only French national mountain park where it is possible to find all the vegetation strips, from Mediterranean vegetation to the rocky desert.

Mountains without Frontiers

At the border with Mercantour massif there is Alpi Marittime Park, established in 1995. The two protected areas are not divided by physical frontiers, and form a single ecological entity: for this reason, we talk about mountains without frontiers. Throughout the centuries, the two protected areas have been linked by strong traditional economic and cultural ties.
Since 1984, Mercantour National Park has established privileged relationships with Alpi Marittime Park. This gave birth to the 1987 twinning: a collaboration enabling to better meet the need to protect and manage a common natural heritage.