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What we do International Dark Sky Places

Alpes Azur Mercantour

Allos Mercantour Paysage nocturne. Photo credit, © Anthony Turpaud.


Located at the SouthWest end of the Alps, where the mountains plunge to the Mediterranean Sea, the Alpes Azur Mercantour – Mont Mounier 2,817m IDSR/RICE is characterized by exceptional natural heritage. It has grand landscapes, shaped by a long geological history still visible today, a great richness of biodiversity thanks to the mix of Alpine and Mediterranean influences, and a climate which has made it a favored tourist destination since the 19th century. The presence of a natural frontier made up of 3,000meter peaks close to the coast favored the development of unique cultural, military, religious, and linguistic heritage.

Astronomy occupies a singular place in the character of the region. The geographical location interested astronomers at the end of the 19th century, and Mont Mounier (2,817m) was one of the first mountain observatories. This interest continued throughout the 20th century, and the Calern plateau observatory is still active. The reserve is equally good for amateur astronomers to observe the unspoiled night sky.




International Dark Sky Reserve


Beuil, France
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Sterenn Poupard

Land Area

2300 km2


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IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille in September 2021, featuring 3 French IDSRs (Pic du Midi, Alpes Azur Mercantour and Cévennes National Park), with partners from the two other French IDSRs and the support of French Office of Biodiversity and the Museum of Natural History of Paris.
World Conservation Congress: Conference Cycle Light Pollution, September 4-11, 2021

Flyer promoting the IUCN Light Pollution Conference.