French Riviera Secrets

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Ilonse and surrounding hamlets

Hamlet of Pous, near Ilonse Hamlet of Pous, near Ilonse

This walk takes you through tiny hamlets, the peaceful village of Ilonse and through the green mountainous landscapes of the Tinée river valley.
I did this walk in late June; due to thunderstorms of the day before, it was not too hot, and the sky was swept clean by the Mistral wind.
The walk takes about 5hours to complete, which (for me at least) includes many photo stops and a 30 minute stroll through the village of Ilonse.
Total altitude difference is 750m , which is a lot, but thanks to the gentle slope you don't really notice you've climbed that much.
The walk starts in the tiny village of Irougne, about 50km from Nice, off the M2205 road that runs parallel to the Tinée river (turn right just after the village of La Bollinnete).
The walk takes you past the hamlet (hameau in French) of Pous; people are actually living here, even though there is no access by car.
The walk then continues across the Loirins plateau, which is agricultural land (sheep farming), and you can already glimpse the church of Ilonse, perched high on top of the hill to your right.
The village of Ilonse is a typical Provençal village, built on a hilltop, with a chapel overseeing the village.A very picturesque village, very calm, with very friendly people, enjoying their surroundings, sitting on one of the numerous wooden benches scattered around the tiny cobblestone streets.
Next to the church is a tiny graveyard, and a bit further is a viewing point with a colourful stone plaque giving an 360 degree overview of your viewing point.
The descent, away and down from Ilonse initially follows the M59 road, and then you can shortcut the many bends in the road by following a cross-country track, which eventually leads you back to the M59 road; a short walk uphill again takes you close to the hamlet of Pous, and from there back the same way you came, to the car park.

The tiny hamlet of Pous The tiny hamlet of Pous
Ilonse The church of Ilonse is visible long before you reach the village
The village of Ilonse The village of Ilonse
View from the village of Ilonse View from the village of Ilonse
The church of Ilonse, and an old remnant of a fortified wall The church of Ilonse, and an old remnant of a fortified wall
View on the way down from Ilonse View on the way down from Ilonse

Maps

Overview of the Ilsone hike (map (c) randoxygene.departement06.fr) This is where you can park your car [44.041504N , 7.123995E]
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