Top choice in Parc National du Mercantour

The grey wolf was hunted to extinction in France by 1930, but in 1992 two 'funny-looking dogs' were spotted near Utelle, presumably having loped across the Italian border. Since then, the animals have made a comeback in the French Alps, and though they're hard to spot in the wild, you'll have a good chance of a sighting at this fascinating wolf reserve, where three packs live in semi-freedom.

Several trails wind through the reserve, where you can stop and watch the wolves from specially constructed hides. The park's mountain-top location in Le Boréon is worth a visit in its own right; you can stay overnight at one of the on-site gîtes (€350 to €600 in summer) or treehouses (€150 per night).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Parc National du Mercantour attractions

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