The high mountain scenery of snow or glaciers, wind or silence is always spectacular. Coming from Briançon after Col du Lautaret you discover an impressive valley dominated by one of the most illustrious summits of the Alps : La Meije. This is an extraordinary place for mountaineering enthusiasts who set their sights on the Dôme des Ecrins, Pic Gaspard or even the Barre des Ecrins. For those who prefer to discover things in a less adventurous fashion, a gentle trip in a cable car takes you to the top of Col des Ruillans (3,200m) and the Glacier de la Girose where you can enjoy the unique panorama of Oisans and Massif des Ecrins.
Numerous routes and trails have been created for you to explore the wonderful attractions of the valley in sporting fashion or on a peaceful family outing. All the trails lead through preserved mountain scenery with enchanting flora and fauna to charming places of interest : the hamlet of Valfroide, Lac de Goléon, Lac du Pontet, the Plateau d’Emparis, to name but a few. More than 2,000 plant species have been recorded in the valley and its surrounding area - a paradise for nature lovers !
The village of La Grave – one of the Loveliest Villages in France
The Villages of La Grave and Villar d’Arêne are administrative centres for the villages of this high valley of Hautes-Alpes. La Grave is classed among the Loveliest Villages in France. Its charm is linked to its typical architecture, its delightful parish church initially built in the 11th century and its wonderful setting. Villar-d’Arène, situated a little higher up the valley is a traditional village with narrow cobbled streets and stone-built houses. It is extremely proud of its traditional ""pain bouilli"".
The two villages are overlooked to the north by a string of hamlets in a superb position facing the impressive mountains whose sparkling appearance changes from day to day and from hour to hour. The constantly changing scenery is a ceaseless ballet of glaciers, intertwined rocks, seracs and patches of mist. The hamlets overlook pastures which have been transformed over the centuries into terraces, meadows and fields of crops. The first is Le Chazelet, the most sheltered and one of the busiest with its family ski resort and charming narrow streets. It is followed by Les Terrasses, Ventelon, Les Hières, Les Cours… and others which are only inhabited in summer : Valfroide, Les Clos, Puy Golèfre, Clos Raffin, Les Rivets…you are sure to find their history and typical architecture enchanting.