The land of the Meije (Circuit n°16)
The village of La Grave, a temple for mountaineers and ofpiste skiers, is known the world over. However, due to its particularly tortuous access, this village was only linked to the rest of the world by road during the second half of the 20th century.
This almost 85 km circuit start in Bourg d'Oisans.
As you wind your way along it, it is easy to imagine how difficult it must have been to build the road.
↘The Glaciers de La Meije cable car takes you to the heart of the ↘Girose glacier, at an altitude of 3,200m, from which you can explore the ↘ice cave. Sculptors have shaped an ephemeral world in the frozen, turquoise solitude of the glacier. Ephemeral, as the glacier shifts 24m each year, breaking all the sculptures that then have to be rebuilt the following year.
Once back down from the magical heights of the Meije, stop off at the village, where you can visit the ↘mill and the ↘church whose origins are lost in the midst of time. Made of volcanic tuff, it is actually thought to have been built in the 11th century. With its dominant position over the Romanche valley, the surrounding cemetery is particularly moving.
In Villar-d'Arène, 3km from La Grave, two buildings that mark the historical past of the village, are open to visitors; ↘the mill and the bread oven. These buildings symbolize local life, which is brought alive by the voices of inhabitants telling true tales that were passed from family to family. Visit the miller’s house and the kneading room and enjoy the 1953 film that retraces the tradition of “oven-boiled” bread.
Villar-d'Arène also offers crafts. ↘Aniram Art Couture works with fabrics from all over the world, including recycled materials, mixing styles and textures.
Shortly after La Grave, go up to Les Traverses (Le Chazelet, Terrasses, Les Hières and Ventelon) to get a better view of the glaciers. From these hamlets that seem to loom out of the past, the mountain reveals itself with all its original and primitive force. In the hamlet of Ventelon, you can visit ↘Pascale’s jewellery design studio, before going back down to La Grave, enjoying more and more of the surrounding scenery!
Throughout the year : open daily.
04 76 79 90 05
La Meije is a mountain in the Massif des Écrins, located at the border of Hautes-Alpes and Isère départements. It overlooks the nearby village of La Grave,a mountaineering centre and ski resort,well known for its off-piste and extreme skiing possibilities