Located on the Franco-Colombian border, in the valley of Roya almost small towns appear by magic hanging from the mountain. They belong to the fief of the Grimaldi-Lascaris. They are villages full of charm that rise next to the river that gives its name to the valley. Let's meet them. Can you come with us?
In addition to the beauty of its urban center and its location, the religious buildings that can be found there are especially striking. There are beautiful convents, Renaissance chapels and Baroque-style churches whose altars, for the most part, were funded by wealthy families in the area.
Today we ride in the car and we cross the winding road that runs along the river. It is a small watercourse that gives its name to the valley and runs 60 kilometers through the Maritime Alps to flow into the Mediterranean.
On the banks of that river, which crosses again and again the border between France and Italy, there are three wonderful villages that we will visit.
Tende, a jewel in the Roya ValleyTende View
Tende is the first town in which we stop. It is integrated into the Mercantour National Park and right next to another valley of great beauty: the Valley of Wonders.
This municipality it is a mixture of alpine, french and italian influences. There are corners that you can not miss on your visit to this small medieval city, such as its chapels, the collegiate church and the remains of the old town castle.
In Tende you can take a guided tour (Yes, they are only offered in French or Italian), go to a heritage workshop, attend one of the concerts organized here, ride a donkey around ...
And a very special recommendation: visit the valley of wonders that we mentioned It is one of the largest open-air museums that exist. In it you can see more than 30,000 rock engravings from the Bronze Age.
Saorge, back to the Middle AgesSaorge Street
The second stop on our tour of the Roya Valley is Saorge. Declared monumental people, It is a clear example of medieval town. Because of its location, it served as a defense for the rest of the valley and was reputed to be a strong and hard people.
Do not miss the church of Saint-Sauveur, dating from the fifteenth century, Madone del Poggio or the convent of the Franciscans. Do not forget the chapels of Saint-Jacques and Saint-Sébastien. And, of course, enjoy wonderful views of the town and the valley as a whole from the old castle of Mallemort.
If you have time left, nothing like doing a walking route through the municipality or its surroundings. And if you are also passionate about fishing, here you can find large specimens of trout.
Fontan, the happiest town in the Roya ValleyFontan
The last town we visited is Fontan, in the heart of the valley. Many They say that this municipality is "the joy of trout fishermen". It may be that their stone mansions or colorful plasters are the reason.
Actually, Fontan is not just Fontan, but it is the union of two small towns: Upper and Lower Bergue. They are located at more than 800 meters of altitude. To get there there is a small path somewhat complicated, surrounded by bushes and varied vegetation that gives the place a special atmosphere.
If you are lucky enough to visit the area in spring and autumn, you will see how the colors of the landscape change completely and the atmosphere in Fontan is totally different.
What you cannot miss in Fontan is the church of Our Lady of the Visitation, in the Baroque style, and the Causéga castle. And look at the facades of the houses, which are decorated with the technique of trompel'oeil or, what is the same, the trapntojo.
What do you think of this little tour of the Franco-Italian border? If you want to enjoy a space route and little known, the Roya Valley will love it.