Time: 8.5h. Up: 860m. Down: 2120m.
Distance: 20km. Difficulty: easy.

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Stage 72: Col de Turini (1607m) to Sospel (350m)

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

A long hike today, with the most downhill of any stage on the H2H, ending in the medieval town of Sospel. If the air feels thick tonight, there's a reason: Sospel is only 350m above sea-level and you have not been this low since... well, before the H2H started. Even Montreux was higher.

Another thing you will notice is the many ruined and abandoned buildings along the way, more evidence of the radical depopulation of the southern Alps that is only now being reversed. Although close to the Mediterranean, the winters here are still fairly harsh and the land infertile, so the area was and remains extremely poor (the "cash crop" of Moulinet was, until the advent of refrigerators, ice made in pits in winter and carried down to the Riviera in the summer).

Furthermore, the region suffered greatly during WW II, particularly during the American-led invasion which came up from the south in 1944, when even small villages like Moulinet were evacuated and partially or completely destroyed in the fighting. Some places, as you will see today, are only now being rebuilt. Monaco and the palaces of the Côte d'Azur are only one and half days hike away... but here is a different world.

Today's hike is again for the most part identical with the GR52A, and uses the same trails as the Via Alpina until Moulinet. From Col de Turini head south up to and along a ridge then descend to the east down to Moulinet (801m). From there go once more south and up, traversing until you meet the descending Crête de Mandine at the Pas de la Capelette (1000m). Diverge here for a short distance from the GR52A, which makes a loop to the west, and go over the Cime de Codolis (1022m) before descending steeply down to meet up with the GR52A again (for safety, however, if the day is wet then follow the loop of the GR52A). Now east once more, descending to cross the Bévéra River at St. Vincent (400m), before one last climb to a side road along which you go the last 3.5km into Sospel.

Alternatives: it is possible to get into or out of a taxi at Moulinet (saves around 3.25h, +190m, -1000m, 8km from Col de Turini, and for taxi contact information, see here).
Map: IGN-3741ET Vallées de la Bévéra et des Paillons.

The House to House blog... stage 72.

<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, because, unless you start much later than you should, you will probably get to Moulinet too early for lunch.
Dinner and overnight: there are several places to stayand eat at in Sospel (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Col de Turini: from Sospel you can take a taxi the 10km to Col de Turini (for taxi contact information, see here).
Sospel: amazingly, there is a railway station here (for the first time since... Briançon?), so for train schedule information, see the SNCF.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Col de Turini, centered on Sospel.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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