Alpes-Maritimes (06450) Population: 489 Altitude: 88 m
Utelle is an Alpes-Maritimes mountain village perched on a ridge above the Gorges de Vésubie. Behind this perched village are even higher mountains, including the Sanctuaire de la Madone d'Utelle overlooking Utelle from the southwest.
Utelle is in a striking location, but a bit off the beaten track. The narrow, twisty road up the Gorges de Vésubie is frequented by local traffic and visitors to the villages along the way, including St Martin-Vésubie at the top end, and the Mercantour National Park with its fabulous natural attractions, and hills full of hiking trails.
From the main Vésubie road, a very twisty 9-km road goes up the side of the mountain to the west, to the village of Utelle. The road goes only to the village, so Utelle doesn't get any "through" traffic. Visitors really want to go to Utelle. The road is twisty and narrow enough that care needs to be taken, but wide enough for safety and very well surfaced.
There isn't much in the way of tourist sites in Utelle, but the village is interesting enough for a short wander through the ancient streets. The setting of the village is wonderful, the views from here great, and there are many hikes that pass through here, allowing a divers choose of loop hikes of different lengths.
History of Utelle
First record, 1150 Castri, de Utelis
Medieval: The community was raised direcly by the Counts of Provence, and later taken over by the Dukes of Savoy. In 1352, Queen Jeanne confirmed royal privlage for the village.
In 1793, Masséna won a celebrated victory over the Piedmont troups at the Brec d'Utelle, a 1500-m high pass about 3 km north of the village.
Populatioin in 1858 was 2438. Today it't just under 500, but it has grown steadily over the past few years.
• GPS: 43.917085, 7.247761
IGN (1/25,000) #3741 OT "Vallée de la Vésubie"
There are 1-day (or half-day) loop hikes. One to the northeast is described on our Utelle Hike page. Another loops southwest, via the Madone d'Utelle Sanctuary and the Col d'Ambellare; we've described a variant of this, beginning at the Cros d'Utelle on our Cros d'Utelle Hike page.
Other short loop hikes will take you down to the Vésubie river at St Jean-la-Rivière and other points. And there are many multi-day hikes into the mountains to the