The Valley of Wonders and Fontanalba, the largest site of rock engravings in Europe

Located in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, the Valley of Wonders and Fontanalba offers a unique natural heritage.


The rock engravings and their museum

About fifty kilometres from Menton, Mount Bego is a real open-air museum of prehistory. A prehistoric art group, shaped by the ancient glaciers which, when they retreated 10,000 years ago, left behind finely polished rocks, strings of lakes and above all the history of our ancestors dating back to 3000 BC.
Nearly 40,000 engravings are unveiled in the open air in a mysterious sanctuary. It is the largest site of rock engravings in Europe.

Discovered at the end of the 19th century, the engravings are found on rocks. The elements include horned figures (cattle), weapons (daggers, halberds, axes, etc.), anthropomorphic and geometric figures (spirals, etc.). Interpretation is delicate but generally refers to religious concerns.
Most of these engravings are arranged around Mount Bego, suggesting that this mountain was sacred. The distribution is about 50% in the Valley of Wonders, and 50% in the Fontanalbe (or Fontanalba) valley, valleys located respectively west and north of Mount Bego.

The Musée des Merveilles displays the richness of the objects and documents on display, the realism of the characters giving the sensation of joining in time the men of Protohistory and then travel through the centuries with their descendants.

Place of conservation, research and exhibition of the archaeological and ethnological heritage of the Upper Roya Valley, the Musée Départemental des Merveilles is a "Museum of France". The opening of a Departmental Museum in Tende has made it possible to collect and preserve the fabulous testimonies of the rock engravings of the Vallée des Merveilles and to take a fresh look at the beliefs, daily life and culture of the peoples who lived in the area around Mount Bego.


A religious sanctuary

The engravings reflect the cult of peasants who are concerned about the abundance of crops and the profusion of livestock.


Exceptional flora and fauna

The climatic and geological originality of the park translates into a great variety of natural landscape, polished rocks, lakes..., fauna and flora.

The flora counts 2400 plant species, 220 of which are considered very rare and 40 endemic!
The fauna includes 193 species of vertebrates, chamois, ibex, marmots and can be easily observed by attentive walkers.



During the visit you must be equipped with walking shoes, drink, food, warm and waterproof clothing even in summer and respect the rules in use with regard to the environment.




Tende Tourist Office & Mercantour Park House

103, avenue du 16 septembre 1947,

06430 Tende

Tel: 04 93 04 73 71

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To go further....

Le Mercantour, vallée des Merveilles : Plus de 20 jours de randonnée

Parcourir les trois GR du présent topo-guide, de la Tinée et de la Vésubie, c'est s'immerger dans un monde de complexité. C'est passer en quelques heures des cimes de l'Argentera-Mercantour, terrain de jeux des chamois et des bouquetins, aux olivaies des collines niçoises ou encore aux luxuriants jardins tropicaux sur fond de Méditerranée. C'est découvrir comment la diversité, devenue complémentarité, est à l'origine de l'identité d'un pays, celle de l'ancien comté de Nice.
La Vallee des Merveilles

La vallée des Merveilles : Il y a 5000 ans à l'âge du cuivre

Nichée dans les Alpes du Sud, inaccessible une grande partie de l'année à cause de la neige, la Vallée des Merveilles doit son nom aux dizaines de milliers de gravures rupestres que l'on peut y admirer, et dont certaines sont vieilles de cinq mille ans. Qui vivait là ? Quelle est l'origine de ces gravures ? C'est ce qu'Olivier Melano a voulu raconter à travers les aventures de Tori et Milna.

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