REPLAY. The upper valley of the Ubaye, its hikes, its unusual accommodation and its sled dogs in Chroniques Méditerranéennes [NATURE]

The Ubaye valley, like many, takes its name from a river that rises at altitude near the Italian border, before flowing into the Durance 2,000 meters below. This valley of glacial origin, on the border between Dauphiné and Provence, is surrounded by high peaks which culminate at more than 3,000 m in altitude.

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The valley is now part of the Mercantour National Park, but you will see that its inhabitants did not wait for the creation of a park to take care of it and protect it!

To begin her journey, Nathalie has an appointment with Chantal, a pure child of the country, who did not see himself doing anything other than “working outside, in the mountains”. Chantal has become mountain guide at 16 years old, cross-country ski and mountain bike instructor.

She now offers snowshoeing or cross-country skiing throughout the valley and what she loves above all is reconnecting people with nature and the environment, raising awareness of fragility of these magnificent landscapes that they often discover with amazed eyes

After observing chamois with a telescope in the Parpaillon valley, a particularly well-preserved small valley, Chantal takes Nathalie to Carolwho set up camp unusual accommodation near the river, close to cross-country ski routes. Carole welcomes them with a little tea to warm them up. His camp offers wooden barrels and a real yurt from Mongolia.

Carole was not born here, she spent one day in the Ubaye valley and never left again, falling in love with its wild beauty. Carole tells Nathalie what she likes about this mountain, its authenticity, its roughness too and the fact that it is a little unknown.

After a moment of relaxation in Carole’s sauna and a good night’s sleep in her yurt, Nathalie resumes her journey.

A few kilometers further, the four-season trail in the village of Maljasset offers a playful discovery of the valley. The passable path in summer and winter hides a series of caches. Inside these, small explanatory leaflets tell anecdotes, events in the history of the valley or suggest challenges to be met.

Below the Col de Maljasset, Nathalie finds Eric, a passionate musher settled in the valley for ten years and who maintains a very strong bond with his large family. Eric offers dog sledding in the mountains. He made the deliberate choice to settle in a “wild, somewhat lost” place because he did not want to work in the context of mass tourism. He takes the time to explain to his clients the mountain in which he takes them, the wild animals that inhabit it and his life with his dogs.

His 80 dogs live all winter with him in the kennel which has built them in complete energy autonomy. For Eric, the welfare of his animals is paramount over all other considerations. The old dogs who can no longer work with the sleds stay with the pack until their death, “it’s the least we can do after everything they gave me and everything we shared together” concludes he with emotion.

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A 26-minute program produced by Nicolas Mastras
A France Télévisions / Amda Production co-production
Broadcast Sunday, February 20 at 12:55 p.m.

For further

► Mercantour National Park
► Ubaye Tourism
Unusual accommodation – Chez Carole
The sled dogs
The village of Maljasset

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