If your planning on exploring the tracks around the Maritime Alps on the French / Italian border, you'll need a few maps of the area. The best single retailer for maps in the UK is Stanford maps in London. They have three floors of travel books and maps. This is where I got our maps months prior to departing. Of course you can try online also.
You don't have to buy the maps before you leave, they are sold locally in France. You will need something with some detail though, equivalent to the UK Ordnance Survey (OS) map, which is 1:25k or 1:50k depending on the series you go for. In France the equivalent is the Institut Geographique National (IGN) they do a 1:25k map series which covers the whole of France. Where ever you go in France you can normally by IGN maps of the local area. So you could buy on arrival.
In addition to the IGN maps, we also used the Italian equivalent as we found the IGN maps loose detail on shortly after the border. These maps are Istituto Geografico Centrale (IGC). At Stanfords they had these in 1:50k. They have a slightly vintage feel in the style of printing, but they are very clear. Interestingly they also show prohibited routes.
One thing I should also mention is that Garmin maps have a lot of the tracks we used, well certainly in the European City Navigator 2012. Not all though.
Here are some pictures of the maps we used.
- IGC 8 Alpi Marittime E Liguri (ISBN 9788896455081)
- IGC 1 Valli Di Susi Chisone E Germanasca (ISBN 9788896455012)
- IGN 3841 OT Vallée De La Roya, Vallée Des Merveilles, Parc National Du Mercantour (ISBN 3282113841030)
- IGN 3741 ET Vallées De La Bévéra Et Des Paillons, Parc National Du Mercantour (ISBN 9782758524083)
And in case you are interested the back of the first one.
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