Le patrimoine de La Grave et Villar d'Arène

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The Villar d'Arène grain mill

The Villar d'Arène grain mill, the last of its time still in working order, is a long, solid building dating from the beginning of the 18th century. It still has the systems that allowed it to operate at the time.


In those days, the mill ran non-stop from October to December, and the miller had to be on hand day and night for his mill.

In fact, it's not just one mill but 3 that you'll discover on your visit. They have all been restored by Maurice Mathonnet, and still have the systems that enabled them to operate in their day.
The first two mills were powered by the tumultuous waters of the River Romanche, and the last one is a blood mill, meaning that the mill is powered by a person or an animal. In this case, it was a human being who turned the millstone to crush the grain.

The mill is also home to a host of period artifacts, making it a veritable ecomuseum of Faranchine life. You'll learn how cheese and dairy products were processed, what a typical miller wore and how the machines were operated. Did you know that Villar d'Arène produced hemp in those days? Hemp was collected in the village, then sent to Briançon to be woven into sturdy garments and flour sacks.

How can you plan your visit? Jean-Pierre takes Faranchine values and traditions to heart, and shares everything he knows about the creation of the mills, how they were put into operation, and the different tools and objects that were used in the past. We discover a timeless building, where the history of mountain villages is rich in memories and anecdotes. To find out more, you'll have to see it to believe it...


Overtures :

From 01/06 to 30/09, daily.
Visit by appointment.



L'extérieur du 3eme moulin - © OTHV

05480 Villar-d'Arêne


Phone : 04 76 79 90 05

From fountain to fountain

Au Fil des Fontaines - Villar d'Arène - La Grave - © @Frederic D


04 76 79 90 05

From fountain to fountain

The municipality of Villar d'Arène is built on a land crossed by several streams. The first inhabitants created catchments and pipelines Seven fountains supply the village with water.

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The land of the Meije (Circuit n°16)

La Meije domine La Grave - © Bertrand Boone

La Grave

04 76 79 90 05

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.

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Journées Européennes du Patrimoine - Visites commentées au fil des fontaines de Villar d'Arène

Come and discover the history of the village, its fountains and its peculiarities

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