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By air - Nice has the most conveniently located airport, a short distance out of the city centre, with bus and train links.
On the Italian side of the border Torino has flights with BA, Ryanair and Easyjet. City buses and trains connect with the main station where frequent services leave for Cuneo.
By Rail – International trains serve both Nice and Torino.
The southern bounds of the Maritime Alps can be accessible to walkers as early as May, although this will depend on levels of leftover snow from the previous winter. June is the official start of the walking season, and most manned huts begin operations mid-month.
Late summer and September can be idyllic, although do be aware that the huts start closing in mid- to late September. October brings crystal-clear visibility, wonderful russet beech woods, and desterted paths. The downside is shorted days and fewer accommodation choices, but valley bases can always be used.
The Maritime Alps are renowned for their wealth of fabulous wildflowers. From late spring through the summer months, meadows and rocky surfaces are ablaze with magnificent martagon lilies, blue gentians, edelweiss, spreads of pink alpenrose shrubs, alongside dainty orchids and lavender.
The best time to view the wildflowers will depend on the preceding winter and snowfalls, but generally speaking late June through to August - the higher the altitude, the later the flowering.
Walkers who prefer to make their base in a village will be pleased to know that both sides of the border offer a selection of cosy guesthouses and hotels, as well as walkers hostels.
Once you're up on the paths, there are plenty of high and medium altitude refuges run by summer staff. These marvelous places are inevitably set in brilliant Alpine landscapes, far from roads and mod cons. The refuges provide a multi-course evening meal and breakfast, bunk bed accommodation and shared bathroom facilities.
Yes - very clearly. For keen walkers there are an estimated 600km of mapped and marked pathways. The great challenge may be choosing your route from among such riches.
I have a soft spot for the Fremamorta lakes on the Italian side visited on an old hunting track which is still paved. It is a brilliant site for admiring the Argentera massif, the highest mountain in the whole of the Maritime Alps. With its collection of 3000m-plus peaks, what more could be asked of a walk? It is such a peaceful spot and the lakes are highly photogenic.
The lakes are visited in walks 11, 12 and 14.