Time: 7.5h. Up: 970m. Down: 1440m.
Distance: 19.5km. Difficulty: easy.

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Stage 70: St.-Dalmas-Valdeblore (1290m) to Belvédère (820m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

Today you diverge from the GR5 for the last time, as it heads south for Nice while you take trails further east on your way to Monaco. After an initial descent into the ancient village of St.-Martin-Vésubie, you spend the rest of the day hiking along a pleasant balcony trail above the Vésubie River.

While in St.-Martin, why not pick up a fresh baguette and some pâté and cheese for a later picnic... because the balcony trail conceals a surprising amount of ascent and descent and you'll need the energy.

This came as a surprise to me while planning the H2H because I initially relied upon data at the otherwise superb Via Alpina website (the best hiking site for a long-distance trail on the web, IMHO), whose Blue Trail also goes from St.-Dalmas to Belvédère.

However, when I later double-checked their figures, using topographical maps, I found that they had missed the ups and downs along the balcony trail... totalling almost +/-700m. This turned out not to be an isolated error: there are many such inaccuracies. I hope that the same will not be the case for this site once I have updated it after doing the H2H this summer!

Back to the hike.... In spite of the ups and downs, these last days before Monaco will not be difficult for you, toughened as you will be by your labors in the high Alps, and you will find it easy to enjoy your surroundings, as aromatic herbs, orchards, and vineyards start to appear, heralding the softer Mediterranean clime. Your goal for the day, the hanging village of Belvédère, is two hundred meters above the valley floor... hence the name: "beautiful view".

Today's route is largely identical with the GR52A (NOT the GR5) and the Via Alpina, except for the section down the Vallon de Vernet. From St.-Dalmas head east, over the Col St.-Martin (1490m) and down the Vallon de Vernet to St.-Martin-Vésubie (927m). Next climb to a side road above the main road and walk south as the side road becomes a farm road, and the farm road becomes a trail, leading eventually via Berthemont-les-Bains (936m) to Belvédère.

Alternatives: it is possible to get into or out of a taxi at St.-Martin and at Berthemont-les-Bains (for taxi contact information, see below).
Map: IGN-3741OT Vallée de la Vésubie.

The House to House blog... stage 70.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic.
Dinner and overnight: there are only two places to stay in Belvédère -- Gîte le Belvédère (+33-(0), 12 beds), and Gîte les Condamines (+33-(0), 8 beds). If both are full, there are several places to stay and eat at in the large village of Roquebillière in the valley below Belvédère (600m). It is about 40 mins walk down, or you can call for a taxi... for a complete list, and for contact information for the taxi, see here (click on Annuaire at the bottom of the page).

Getting There and Back
St.-Dalmas-Valdeblore: from Nice, where there is a railway station and a major airport, a few times a week (sometimes once a day, sometimes twice, sometimes not at all) there is a bus to St.-Dalmas (for the bus schedule, see here, and for the train, see the SNCF). If that doesn't work, then there are also twice daily buses from Nice to St.-Martin-Vésubie (around 1.5h), from which you can either walk (2.75h, +560m, -200m, 6km) or take a taxi to St.-Dalmas (for taxi contact information see here (under Artisans...), and for the bus schedule, see here).
Belvédère: walk or take a taxi (see above) down to Roquebillière, where the bus to/from St.-Martin-Vésubie also stops.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on St.-Dalmas-Valdeblore, centered on Belvédère.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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