Local Flying :: Auron
Auron is a mountain village about 90km NNW of Nice, which is very popular as a winter ski resort. It sits in a little pocket that is not included in the Parc National du Mercantour. It is just south of the town of St Etienne de Tinée, on the D2205. La Cime de la Berchia (2270m) is the principal launch site of Auron, providing a good high-altitude launch point which can be reached by cable car in winter, or by track, with great cross country potential.
Note that paragliding and other aerial sports are banned in the National park itself (unless you are at an altitude of greater than 1000m above the ground) so be aware of its borders.
Weather information is posted in the cable car station and the St Etienne de Tinée tourist office.
Auron can be reached from Nice by taking St Isidore exit of the A8 onto the N202. Follow this north (towards Digne) until it joins the D2205 at the entrance to the Gorges de la Mescla. From here, take the D2205, signed Isola and Auron, all the way to Auron and St Etienne de Tinée.
The summit of Cime de la Bercha can be gained via a cable car from St Etienne de Tinée, or by a rough track from Auron.
Las Donnas is reachable by a cable car from Auron. It is on the south side of Auron, so in the mornings when you can launch facing N or E you can land in the Auron valley, but once it becomes thermic you’ll be on the south side of the mountain. It is easy to land in the small village of Roya, which is served by a road (the D61), but advisable to arrange a retrieve before doing so!
The cable cars work all winter, and also in July and August.
- IGN Serie Vert 1:100 000 map 61, “Nice Barcelonnette”
- Michelin Carte Routière et Touristique, 1 :200 000 map 245, ” Provence Cote d’Azur “.
- IGN ” Top 25 ” (1 :25 000) map 3639 OT.
:: Take-offs and Landings
|Name / Orientation
||Altitude (m AMSL)
|Cime de la Berchia
||44°14′12″N - 06°54′13″E
||NW of Auron, this site is most easily reached via the cable car from St Etienne. It has a top to bottom of 674m. Land either in the fields above the campsite at Auron, or in the football pitch at St Etienne.
|Las Donnas N, E (morning); s (thermic conditions)
||S of Auron town, Las Donnas is reached via the cable car from Auron. Top to bottom distance is 874m.
||Altitude (m AMSL)
||44°13′59″N - 06°56′10″E
||Landing is in the fields below the campsite at Auron.
:: Useful Numbers
||Tel / Radio frequency
||Website / Email
|Maison du Tourisme,
La Grange Cossa,
|Tel 04 93 23 02 66.
|St Etienne de Tinée Tourist Office,
06660, Saint Etienne de Tinée.
|Tel 04 93 02 41 96
Fax 04 93 02 48 50
|La Maison du Parc National du Mercantour,
St Etienne de Tinée.
|Tél. 04 93 02 42 27.
:: Other Activities
In winter, Auron is a popular downhill ski resort. There are 130km of pistes between 1600 and 2452m, served by 27 lifts (including 3 cable cars). There is also cross-country skiing, Nordic skiing, ice climbing etc.
In summer its location means that there are no end of outdoor activities:
- There are many well-signed walks in the Mercantour
- Mountain biking. (130km of marked mountain bike trails)
- Horse-riding (Centre équestre de Merens)
- Trout fishing
- Via Ferrata
- 9-hole golf course.
- Auron’s swimming pool is open in summer, or alternatively there is the Plan d’eau des Trinitaires at St Etienne de Tinée.
For the sight-seer, both Auron and St Etienne de Tinée are steeped in history. There is the roman chapel of St-Erige at Auron, with its 15th century frescos; St Etienne de Tinée is home to 15th, 16th and 17th century chapels and museums of religious art, traditions, milk and school at St Etienne de Tinée. (Guided visits offered by the tourist office).