Hiking in France – Granges de la Brasque

Sunday we managed to once again get out of the house and into the mountains.

Our destination was the Circuit du Tournairet. It’s a loop which begins and ends at Granges de la Brasque. It’s a fairly easy walk – a family with two kids under the age of five kept up with us pretty well. There’s 520 metres to climb, and the worst of it is in the first half an hour. It’s a summer walk. You start at 1,685 metres, which is refreshingly cool, and there’s plenty of shade all the way round. In winter, you’ll freeze, and you’d better have your snow-shoes on! It’s advertised as taking four hours (non-stop).  With lunch and whatnot, it took us nearer six.

Circuit du Tournairet
Circuit du Tournairet

If you’re planning a picnic, beware. There are a lot of cows in the area, and therefore, a heck of a lot of flies. However, don’t let that put you off. There are two things not to be missed. First the 360 degree view from 2,086 metres at the top of Mount Tournairet. You can see all the way from the high Alps that form the Italian border in the north, down to Nice, and the Mediterranean in the south. And second, the wild strawberries.

Wild strawberries are nothing like their farmed cousins. For one, they are tiny, no bigger than the end of your little finger. And second they pack one hell of a flavour punch. If you remember fizz bombs… well, they’re like that, but far, far better. We’ve often found wild strawberries on our walks. This was the first time we found so many we could fill a box and bring them home.  Yum yummm!

Granges de la Brasque is itself a bit of a special place. I always expect to see fairies there. As well as more strawberries, raspberries, and mushrooms, it has a source (spring) with the best water I’ve ever tasted. But don’t tell your friends. I like this place just the way it is.