The Grand Tour of La Grave Villar-d'Arène
A classic cross-country route, this lovely loop takes you through all the hamlets of La Grave. On a balcony path on the south facing slopes of la grave, you have the very best view of La Meije and its glaciers.
Itinerary from the “MTB in Oisans” guide (Oisans Tourisme)
Departure / Arrival (loop): La Grave 1450 m
Time: 3 1/2 hours
Distance: 30 km
Highest point: 2069 m
Lowest point: 1438 m
Total ascent: 1109 m
Total descent: -1109 m
Map: IGN Top 25 Valloire 3435 ET and Meije Pelvoux 3436 ET.
From the Bureau des Guides in La Grave, ride down to the lower ski lift car park and take the path that goes down to the Romanche River (skiers walk up this path in winter). Cross the bridge and turn left onto the road to L'Arboretum, then Villar d'Arène via the “Sentier des Vallois” path.
Once in Villar d’Arène, from the square in front of the church (Place de l'église), ride up the right-hand street (wrong way up the one-way street), that turns into a path a few hundred metres further on. This goes to the narrow road leading to Le Pied du Col.
Once in the hamlet, you can take a detour via the Pas de l'Ane and the gravel quarry. Once back in Le Col, take the path leading up to Les Cours.
In Les Cours, turn right up the path leading to the Lac du Pontet (track for 1 km, road for a further 2.5 km and then a steep path). Ride around the lake on the left-hand side and take another steep path which turns into a magnificent single track that joins l’Aiguillon (2060 m). This marks the start of a fine downhill section to Entraigue / Valfroide.
Cross over the bridge and follow the track and then the road to Valfroide, les Hières and then Ventelon.
Once in Ventelon, take the track most to the right up to the hamlet of Les Clots. If you wish to shorten the ride, you can join up with Les Terrasses by going straight on.
From Les Clots, turn left onto a magnificent single track crossing the slate scree (take care as this is an exposed section). Carry on along the mountainside until you reach the ski runs of Le Chazelet, before gradually losing height until you reach the snack bar at Le Chazelet ski resort. Ride up 50 m to the bottom of the ski lift and then return to the village on the track that goes off to the right.
Ride through Le Chazelet and go back to La Grave by the GR 54 path via Les Terrasses.
From 01/06 to 31/10.
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Bon Repos Chapel
The Chapel Notre-Dame de Bon Repos stands on a promontory along the path connecting the Chazelet village to Les Fréaux.
Its date of construction is uncertain, but it probably dates back to the eighteenth century.
It is a place of worship and memory.
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Notre-Dame de l’Assomption church
The church was built around the 11th century. It is the oldest monument in the area and has been a listed building since 1959. With the Pentitents Chapel it forms a beautiful architectural complex at the heart of the village of La Grave.
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Beautiful lake above the hamlet of Les Cours, near Villar d'Arêne.
You can get closer by car, but the walk starting from Les Cours hamlet, across the fields by the small road, is very beautiful and you may be able to see marmots.