The Tinée river begins at the Col de la Bonette, 2802 m high, in the Parc du Mercantour and runs south-southeast down through beautiful forested valleys and canyons to the Var river, where the Var bends to the south just above Plan-du-Var, only 25 km from Nice.
Distances. We're using this junction with the N202 at the Pont de las Mescla to measure distances up the valley.
La Vallée de la Tinée (the Tinée Valley) is the home of some of the well-known perched villages (Ilonse, Marie, Rimplas), famous ski-station towns (Auron, Isola). Other lovely towns and villages are often perched on top of peaks or on the sides of mountain slopes, and accessible by narrow winding roads. The scenery is all outstanding.
The lower part of the valley is forested with Scots pine and horse chestnut, and the higher altitudes with larch. As you approach the turn-off for La Tour, you can see a chapel perched high up on the left (west of the road). That marks the location of Tournefort, hidden behind that peak at 610 m.
About 10 km up the valley you can see Bariols perched high on the left (west), at about 800 m. Just past the left turning to Bariols (at the Pont-de-Clans), the narrow D55 road turns off to the right and winds its way up to Clans, at 680 m.
Looking straight up the valley, Marie is perched on an outcrop at 600 m, overlooking the valley to the south. Opposite Marie, to the west, the perched village of Ilonse is hidden behind mount Coucouluche, 1210 m up after a 11-km drive on the D59.
21 km up the valley, the D2565 turns right towards St. Dalmas, La Colmiane and St Martin-Vésubie. The village of Rimplas is also up that road, perched out where it can look back down the Tinée Valley.
Keep left and continue on up the D2205 towards St. Sauveur. Just past the junction the scenery suddenly changes: the valley walls are deep, dark red, and contrast beautifully with the green forests and vegetation.
• GPS: 44.130583, 7.097608
Beside the service station, a wooden sign-post (Balise #161, Moyenne Tinée) marks a trail that goes up the side of the mountain on switch-back steps. Paths are marked for:
- La Pinéa
- Rimplas (the village perched about 620 m higher)
St. Sauveur-sur-Tinée is 25 km up the valley, at 497 m. At a junction just north of the town, you can continue on up the valley, or turn left on the D30 (Route de Roubion). The D30 winds up through a series of steep switch-backs and heads west towards Beuil, Valberg and Guillaumes. At Beuil you can drop south through the Gorges du Cians. Further West at Guillaumes, the road goes south through the Gorges de Daluis.
Transportation Tinée Valley
If you're low on fuel, there's a service station just up the road open on Sundays. The Relais des Amis is also a good place to stop for a look down into the river valley and inspect the red rock.