Roure: Mont Autcellier

 

Final push to Mont Autcellier



In search of new mid-altitude hiking trails in Alpes-Maritimes, we came across an interesting option above the village of Roure.

Although the trail to Mont Autcellier (2204 m) has been described and recommended by some French rando sites, both the trail and the mountain turned out to be less frequented than many other similar itineraries in the region.

One reason might be the access: The narrow and sinuous road which ascends from St-Sauveur sur Tinée (M30 then M130) first passing near the village of Roure then the Roure Arboretum above the village. There is a parking about 700 m from the Arboretum (La Barre; signpost #241 at 1373 m elev.).

Signpost #254 to Mont Autcellier
Signpost #254 to Mont Autcellier

View down to Tinée Valley
View down to Tinée Valley

Forêt de la Fracha Roure
Forêt de la Fracha Roure

Signpost #251 to Mont Autcellier
Signpost #251 to Mont Autcellier

Mont St-Sauveur
Mont St-Sauveur



We started along a dirt road (also part of the GR5) as far as to signpost #254 where we forked left, and ascended along a very soft forest trail. Beautiful larch forests in Alpes Maritimes are ubiquitous, but this particular forest -Forêt de la Fracha-exceeded our expectations.

The itinerary was straightforward. We passed signpost #251 showing the way to Autcellier. We reached a forested ridge (Crête de la Clouetta) and ascended along it, still heading northwest. The ridge already offered multiple great views.

View southeast from Crête de la Clouetta
View southeast from Crête de la Clouetta

Crête de la Clouetta higher up
Crête de la Clouetta higher up

Mercantour peaks seen from Autcellier southern flank
Mercantour peaks seen from Autcellier southern flank


Alpine meadow before Mont Autcellier
Alpine meadow before Mont Autcellier

Tête de Pommier and Roubion ski runs
Tête de Pommier and Roubion ski runs


Gradually, at about 2000 m elev., the forest gave way to alpine meadows, and we had Mont Autcellier in front of us. Its south-eastern flank was very easy to climb. On the grassy summit plateau, a cairn with a stick probably marked the highest point. The panorama had been praised by many hikers and they were right:  From Mont Mounier in the west to the snow-capped Mercantour summits further away in the east. The day was gorgeous but we only met one sole hiker and a few mountain bikers.  Two Canadair fire bombers flew back and forth over us. Apart from these, we were alone in the pristine nature.

We returned along the same trail.

Mounier seen from Mont Autcellier summit
Mounier seen from Mont Autcellier summit

Valberg viewed from Mont Autcellier
Valberg viewed from Mont Autcellier

Southern Tinée Valley seen from Mont Autcellier
Southern Tinée Valley seen from Mont Autcellier

Climb: 830 m

Distance: 11,6 km

Duration: 4h 30 active

Map: « Moyenne Tinée » IGN 3641 ET


Mont Autcellier hike track
Mont Autcellier hike track











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Pollock on new potatoes and fennel

 

Pollock on new potatoes and fennel


The island of Noirmoutier is famous for its new potatoes. They are gathered before their maturity, 90 days after plantation, and are known for their good taste and very fine skin. 

The following carefree recipe is adapted from a news clip on the French morning TV, Télématin. The chef cooked outdoors pollock on a bed of Noirmoutier new potatoes and fennel. Instead of pollock you could use any tasty white fish.

My recipe is for indoors cooking using a heavy Le Creuset pot but if you have an outdoor cooking stove feel free to experiment. It looked fun!

2 servings

About 8 medium size thin skinned new potatoes

½ bulb of fennel

3 tbsp. olive oil

A small bunch of dill

150 ml white wine

Freshly ground black pepper

2 nice pieces of pollock fillet

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pot. Wash the potatoes, cut them into halves or quarters and add to the pot. Stir now and again for a few minutes. Wash the ½ fennel, cut into sections and add to the pot. Stir again and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the wine, cover, and cook for about 15- 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Add the pollock on top of the potatoes and fennel and grind over some black pepper. Cover and cook for about 8- 10 minutes until the fish is done. Divide on the plates and decorate with chopped dill.


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Levens to Colla Bassa

 

Levens and Mont Vial


Levens north of Nice is a good starting point for hikes. Even the tourist office has eight suggestions on their web site. We planned to do the loop called Circuit de Péloubié but on the day of our hike there were road works in St Claire south of Levens, just where our hike itinerary would have passed on the way back.

Instead of doing the loop, we decided to start along the first part of the hike from les Grands Prés (soccer and other fields 546 m elev.) next to the M19 road. We walked to signpost #261, forked right and ascended along Chemin de la Madone, then Chemin Pré des Cavaliers, passing some nice properties. We came to signpost #265 where the public road ended. There is a small parking (Les Mulières) which we had used before. In fact, on a hot day, we recommend to drive up there instead of walking along the streets from Levens.


Les Grands Prés Levens
Les Grands Prés Levens

Path after signpost#265 Levens
Path after signpost#265 Levens

Mont Arpasse
Mont Arpasse



We continued towards Col de Travail (760 m), passing a crossroads and signpost #266. After a short descent, we crossed a small stream named Péloubié before ascending to Col de Travail (#281).

Heading to Col de Travail Levens
Heading to Col de Travail Levens

Crossing Péloubié
Crossing Péloubié

Mont Chauve and Cima
Mont Chauve and Cima

Colla Bassa
Colla Bassa

Rose bushes in Levens
Rose bushes in Levens





Just after the Col, we forked left into the woods ascending to signpost #280 near Col de Rosa and further the Colla Bassa (881 m), our turning point as we had planned to do a moderate hike.  The path from Col de Travail to Colla Bassa runs in the woods, but we had nevertheless some views down to the valley and to the mountains in the west (Mont Chauve d’Aspremont, Mont Cima). Colla Bassa too was surrounded by woods and maquis, so no views from there.
We returned to Levens along the same path.

Duration: 4 h

Distance: About 12 km

Climb: 430 m

Map: 3741 ET Vallées de la Bévéra et des Paillons

Levens to Colla Bassa track
Levens to Colla Bassa track


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