Roubion to Rimplas

Today there were to be no high mountain passes to go up and down. Instead 2 deep valleys to go down and up.

We needed to get back to the GR5 which we could do as it passed through the village of Roure. Roure is not far away from Roubion as the crow flies- you can see it, but having no crow like advantages, we couldn’t help noticing that there was an enormous valley in between the two places.

From the map, when planning the trip, I had spotted two possible ways of doing this. One was quite direct but looked very steep. The other way took us up the valley a bit and, although longer, looked easier. It also had the advantage of being a GR route (GR52A) which meant it would have red and white way marks, making navigation easier.

But as we descended to Roubion yesterday, we saw that there had been an enormous landslide just where the easier route went. At the village we were able to confirm our suspicions that this was no longer a good way to go.

So fortified by a very good sleep and friendly breakfast, and reassurance that our plan wasn’t mad, we set off down the hill into the valley.

Saying goodbye to Roubion.

And, sure enough, it was pretty steep, requiring a bit of care. But finding the way was easy enough, especially as the GR52A had been rerouted and so there were occasional red and white markings.

Coming back up the other side was even steeper. In a few places a bit of fixed climbing rope or metal cable provided something reassuring to hang on to.

We had assumed that the village of Roure would be a bit of a disappointment after the wonders of Roubion, but we discovered another staggeringly beautiful and strangely deserted hill town.


We were able to replenish water and have a cup of coffee in the auberge, pretending that we hadn’t, half an hour earlier, been hauling ourselves up the hillside, sweating so much it looked like we had had a shower with our clothes on.

An auberge with a view. The Tinée valley behind.

After coffee it was time to descend into another valley and go up the other side. This time it was the Tinée valley, which is a major valley, up which we had travelled in the bus from Nice.

We headed down towards St Sauveur sur Tinée. Although the path didn’t follow it, this was the road side of the hill, so was far less steep than the approach. The problem was the heat- as we went down it seemed to get hotter with every step.

Approaching St Sauveur

At St Sauveur we were able to rehydrate and have lunch, which absolutely had the desired effect and made us ready for the final pull up to Rimplas.

Looking back at where we had come from, taken from the path to Rimplas. You can play ‘spot the village’. Answer: Roure is half way down the hill on the right and you can just make out Roubion half way down the the hill on the left, on the left side.

This was on a good path and mostly the gradient was pretty gentle. It’s difficult to imagine an easier 600m ascent…except for the crippling heat. But a steady plod got us to Rimplas, another ancient hill town, which after a rest at the lovely ‘eau potable’ fountain we still had energy to explore a bit.

And now we are safely in the very comfortable hostellerie.

A 21st century problem- charging up the gadgets.

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