Picnicing in the mountains
Here are some ideas for high-altitude picnics, with a view that you will remember long after the final crumbs have been swept away. You’ll find grassy slopes for doing somersaults and plenty of altitude sun to help you digest the fine Oisans produce.
These picnics go particularly well with fresh local bread, goats’ cheese from the market and a blueberry tart.
1 - The Col du Sabot, 2,100m
This historic pass was once the
crossing point over to the Savoie
region (in local patois, Sabot, “Sabadia”,
means Savoie) and is now
somewhat neglected in favour of its
big brother, the Croix de Fer. It has
an amazing view over the Grandes
Rousses massif. You could also stop
off in the village of Vaujany to visit
the wildlife museum (Maison de
la Faune) and the Heritage Centre
(Espace Patrimoine) (infos page 14),
before plunging into the swimming
pool at the Espace Loisirs, going to
the ice rink or playing bowling.
2 - The Col de Sarenne, 1,999m
From the Sarenne to the Ferrand
valley, this pass embraces a large
part of Oisans. The road there is lovely
and the view from the top, majestic.
Pack your picnic basket now!
Marmots and chamois abound for
nature-lovers, with orange lilies and
gentians in abundance for flower
enthusiasts. Not forgetting amateur
crystalhunters, who may find a few
gems… Stop off at the Bergerie du
col de Sarenne, where you can buy
a range of goats’ cheeses to add to
your picnic basket (infos page 34).
3 - The Pic Blanc, 3,300m
Taking your backpack up to an altitude
of 3,000m to feast your eyes
on the astounding view from the
terrace of the Pic Blanc, now that’s
really gaining height! The 360º view,
awarded 3 stars by the Michelin guide, covers a fifth of the French
territory in clear weather. Access
is via cable car from Alpe d’Huez
(infos page 20).
4 - The Emparis plateau, 2,250m
The vast grassy area of the Emparis
plateau, with its balcony turned resolutely
towards the Meije, is definitely
one of the world’s greatest picnic
tables! Indeed, this place is a protected
area, with only birdsong and the
stubborn chomping of a thousand
sheep to disturb the tranquillity of
this haven of peace, an ideal site for
a long afternoon nap (infos page 36).
5 - On the road to Auris en Oisans, 1,550m : Park the car 1km before Auris en Oisans, at the junction with the farm track. A welcoming bench sits next to the little chapel that hangs over the road. The view over the Meije glaciers and Les 2 Alpes is superb!
6 - On the road to Le Chazelet, 1,834m : leaving the village of La Grave, take the RD 33 towards Le Chazelet. Go through Ventelon (from the chapel, you can admire the Meije from a different angle) and Les Terrasses, then on the left, in the bend, you can discover a magnificent viewpoint over the Meije massif from the Ororatoire du Chazelet, awarded 3 stars by the Michelin Green Guide. On your right, at 1,834 m, you can visit the new panoramic table, the Table d’orientation des Portes. Carry on to the village of Le Chazelet, celebrated for its lofts, chard, bread oven and sundials. On Mondays and Fridays, between 3 and 6 pm, come and listen to the former schoolteacher recounting the history of life in the village.
From 01/06 to 31/10/14 : open daily.
04 76 80 00 85
Le Plateau d’Emparis (from Mizoën)
Located on the border of the Ecrins National Park, the plateau has THE most wonderful views of the 'Queen Meije' and surrounding mountains. Not surprisingly, it's a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts and is perfect for picnics!