Col de Frémamorte above Le Boréon

Col de Frémamorte 2615m




In Alpes-Maritimes, there are several reknowned mountain passes on the Franco-Italian border that can be reached by hiking trails, such as Baisse de Druos,  Col de Fenestre, Col de Cerise and Pas du Préfouns. This time we wanted to ascend to a lesser known pass above Le Boréon named Col de Frémamorte (2615 m).

Unfortunately, on our given day the weather was more clouds than blue skies. Nevertheless, we had good views down to Italy from the col.






From the Salèse parking (1665 m) above Le Boréon we started ascending along the GR 52 trail towards Col de Salèse (2031 m) which we reached in 1 h 10. From Col de Salèse, we descended a bit then forked right, leaving the GR52, and headed towards Lac Négre, Pas du Préfouns and Col de Frémamorte. We ascended along the popular trail in the forest. Most hikers seemed to continue to Lac Négre. At a crossroads called Camp Soubran (2270 m) and signpost 270, we forked right (east).

Heading east above the tree line, we passed several lakes (Lacs de Frémamorte). The scenery became high-alpine, and the trail rockier.

Approaching the col, we saw remains of a bunker and even an odd ibex. The last push was actually less steep than anticipated as the trail zigzagged in the incline.

In front of us, on the Italian side, we could view the western flank of the imposing Argentera Massif (at 3297 m the highest peak in the Maritime Alps), several lakes below us, and in the distance the lowlands near Cuneo that were covered with low clouds. From the col, one trail descended down to Italy, the other, looking a bit exposed, went up to the nearby summit called Cime de Frémamorte (2730 m).

We descended along the same trail back to our starting point.

Climb: 960 m

Distance: 17 km

Duration: 5h 45 active

Map: IGN 3741 0T Vallée de la Vésubie
Col de Fremamorte hike track


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Chicken thighs with plums and green olives

Chicken thighs with plums and green olives




When the plums are in season, we eat some dark plums every morning and I also use them in cooking. The following recipe can be made from pitted prunes when the plum season is over.

2 servings

3 tbsp. olive oil
4 organic chicken thighs, with skin
4 large dark plums or pitted prunes
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
100 ml white wine
2 tbsp. pitted green olives, pref. organic
1 tsp. dried Provençal herbs
Freshly ground black pepper
A glass jar of 250 g cooked white beans
Chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 200° C.

Spread 1 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Place the chicken thighs in the dish skin side up.

Arrange the onion, garlic, and olives around the chicken and pour in the wine. Add the black pepper and herbs and sprinkle with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile wash the plums, halve them and remove the stones. Rinse the white beans under running water. Add the beans and plums in the dish around the chicken and continue baking for 15 minutes.

Decorate with chopped chives.

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Ridge route to Mangiabo

Mangiabo 1821m




We have twice before tried to reach the summit of Mangiabo (1821 m) from Moulinet, but had to turn around because the weather turned bad.

Mangiabo which is situated inside the southern part of the Mercantour National Park, is only 18 km from the coast as the crow flies. It is also the southernmost major peak in the ridge that stretches south of Authion. Old military installations are omnipresent all along the route. It is possible to use the GR52 hiking trail that runs along the ridge, partly along dirt tracks, partly along good paths to reach Mangiabo. Compared with a route starting from Moulinet deep in the valley, the summit can be reached from Authion with much less vertical ascent.

On our third attempt the weather was favourable. We drove up to Col de Turini, then to Authion where we took the D68 road that circles counterclockwise the area. The road is paved but potholed, so proceed with care.  We drove past Cabanes Vieilles and a cattle shelter and parked at the second sharp bend after the shelter.






We headed straight south along a wide dirt track (GR52) as far as to signpost #151 where we continued along a path in the woods marked with white and red i.e. GR colours. We followed the path to Baisse de Ventabren, took the GR52 trail that followed the eastern flank of Pointe de Ventabren to Baisse de la Déa. The ancient military track circles along the western flank, and we took it on the way back.

From Baisse de la Déa the trail ran along the western flank of the ridge, passing several bunkers. This part of the trail under Cime de la Gonella was a bit narrower and somewhat exposed. We passed signpost #142 and 143 and soon came to #144 from where we had an easy final ascent to the grassy summit marked with a cairn.

We had a super 360° panorama of the whole region. In spite of some haze, the Mediterranean, Cap d’Antibes etc were visible in distance, and of course the still snow-capped high peaks in the north.

We used the same itinerary back apart from the dirt track circling along the western flank of Pointe de Ventabren (see our GPS track below).

Total distance: 13 km

Total climb: 576 m

Duration: 3h 50 (active)

Map: IGN 3741 ET Vallées de la Bévéra et des Paillons   


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