The Mediterranean and the Alps, two antagonistic and indivisible worlds …
We live in the Alpes-Maritimes, territory situated in the confluence of two cultures, French and Italian and where two lifestyles coexist also, the first purely townsman, exuberant, or even sometimes frantic, that of the "French Riviera", the other, much more quiet and stripped, because nature prevails there, that of the mountain. This diversity and these contrasts have always maintained our fascination for, on the one hand the Mediterranean civilization, on the other hand the world of the mountain and more specifically that of the Alps.
But can we talk about two worlds so dissimilar?
Fernand Braudel in « The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II » writes : « So the Mediterranean means more than landscapes of vines and olive trees and the urbanised villages, these are merely the fringe. Close by, looming about them, are the dense highlands, the mountain world, with its fastnesses, its isolated houses and hamlets, its "vertical norths" » according to expression of W. Strzygowski. Claude Raffestin recalls a "petrified Mediterranean".
Originally, it is the desire to escape the eventful pace from the seaside which has led us to the heights, but quickly the Alpine world has become a pole of attraction in its own right.
We gradually exceeded the limits of our uninhabited and arid Southern Alps, directing us to more northerly latitudes. We discovered most populated territories and a greener nature in the harsh climate, imposing a duty of respect to the human being. In fact, if we can only deplore the irreversible degradation of some places, victims of the excesses of mass tourism in a fragile environment, we may marvel at the spectacle of landscapes reflecting a possible harmony between man and nature.
Dolomites and their territory; a peculiar space ...
It is certainly the discovery of this Alpine region that generated our project of exploration of the Alpine world.
Indeed, subjugated by the aesthetics of the rock faces, epitome of an ideal for mountaineers in verticality, texture and color of stone, we quickly noticed that the dolomitic area was not only "beautiful" mountains.
Beyond the extraordinary appearance of the massifs, this alpine territory is characterized by the cross-roads of deeply rooted cultures ; an Ladin central identity, cultural transition zone between the latin Veneto and the germanic Tyrol worlds. Certainly, the Dolomites are a great tourist attraction, but do not seem irretrievably altered while the local population seems to have found its place.
The Alps; between modernism and tradition, a way of life for future?
The Dolomites and their region (Trentino - Alto-Adige (Südtirol) - Veneto), homeport of our Alpine world, lead us also towards other Alpine horizons, for the eastern part, Graubünden, Tyrol, Salzkammergut, Steiermark, Friuli and the slav Carniola other regions of cultural transition, and what concerns the western part, in the broad sense, in Oisans, the Trièves, Beaufortain, Oberland, Ticino, and the peculiarity of the Valais/Wallis, Verbano and Valle d'Aosta Walser communities where we have seen similar characteristics of successful integration of the "homo-alpinus" in his natural environment.
The objective of this site is therefore, through our own observations, but also those of scientists, to gather, a body of knowledge about the Alps. We will endeavour to investigate their multiple facets in order to reveal their complexity.The Alps at their level are a kind of mirror of the world, a microcosm globally, where human to survive has been able to adapt to a problematic natural environment, sometimes very rude is drawing upon resources with in return a significant economic potential. Industry and tourism complemented ancestral agriculture partly explains the current dynamic economic and demographic of the Alps, but the dangers of excessive exploitation threaten this fragile ecosystem. However, the experience of some environmentally-friendly Alpine lifestyles of a balance between man and nature, seems to bring elements of answers to the eternal and fundamental questions :
What kind of development for the Alps? What kind of development for the world?
All rubrics of the website …
But if the Alps remain the reason to be of this site, we also open our rubrics, by means of Correlates, to other territories towards which drove to us our trips, as well as some of our projects.
We draw attention to the question of the Subdivisions - Divisions of the Alps, which gave rise to a very thorough research of the subject, thanks, inter alia, to the contribution of institutes of geography, librarians, cartographers, geographers, geologists and alpine specialists.
The Gallery depict, mainly through photographs, some of our routes.
Travel in Earth space but also journey to the heart of the human being through our Blog where comments, reflections and suggestions are warmly welcomed, whatever the subject.
To enrich our modest contribution, we refer our reader to other websites through Links it finds in the eponymous column.
Notice to our readers.
We request your forgiveness …
This site has no claim to be exhaustive, but we imposed ourselves a scientific rigour which demands a big number of researches, of checks, of bets in perspective. All these exciting tasks ask for a lot of time and some rubrics still reside in waiting of substance. We apply ourselves to give them life at once with the constant worry of the accuracy of information.
« I was born to be curious. It is the best reason to be born? »
The Malaussene Saga (1995)