Tour of Vieux Chaillol - Stage 4 out of 5
Champoléon

4. Tour of Vieux Chaillol - Stage 4 out of 5

History and architecture
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This leg is along a south facing ledge below the beautiful Palastre rock faces and the Aiguilles de Famourou.

As well as a panoramic view of the Drac valley, you will discover a prosperous mountain, an area with a network of hedges, canals, sunken paths and its pollarded trees. There is an ongoing agro-pastoral tradition around the village resorts and in summer, most of the valleys and pastures are used for cattle and sheep.


8 points of interest

  • History

    Les Borels

    This is most important village in the Chamoléon district (no hamlet bears this name). Until towards the first world war in 1914, the valley lived in a closed circuit for all everyday items. At the Borels there was a weaver (wool and hemp), a miller-baker, an ironmonger, a mason, a breeches-maker and in the other hamlets, a cobbler, two millers, a joiner and two shoemakers. The latter worked from home.
  • Fauna

    Alpine ibex

    If you take a few minutes' walk at the end of the valley, you will be able to see some Alpine ibex. In September 1994, in Champoléon, some thirty animals from Vanoise area were released by Ecrins National Park rangers. This superb animal is heavier (100 kg) and less timid than the chamois, and is closely related to the domestic goat. It was almost extinct in the Alps. Today it is totally protected in France and is now safe extinction.

  • History

    Champoleon

    To the 24 questions asked by the attorney general of the Dauphiné in 1789, the Champoléon Council replied, "Champoléon is in the most atrocious place of the Haut-Dauphiné. The community has 16 villages, 80 families and 600 souls spread over the slopes of the mountain. All of the roofs are thatched [...] the rivers and streams cause serious damage." Indeed, on All Saints Day in 1790, the Champoléon church was destroyed by flooding. Part of the graveyard was washed away taking coffins and corpses away from Champoléon too.
  • Vernacular heritage

    Les Richards

    Perched up at an altitude of 1548 m above Pont-du-Fossé in the commune of Saint-Jean-Saint-Nicolas, the village of Les Richards is a haven of tranquillity. The view is breathtaking over the Autanes and the Champsaur woodlands. This is the starting point for a very popular hiking trail around the mountains or to the summit of the Palastre, and a take-off area for long-distance hang-gliders. It is not unusual for a hang-glider to land in Grenoble and sometimes even in Chamonix after a long day's flight from Les Richards! The record is 162 km, with a landing in Chamonix in 2002. 

  • Fauna

    Short-toed snake eagle

    This bird of prey can be recognised because of its large head, its quite impressive wingspan (1.80m) and the white plumage under its wings and body. Despite its size, it rarely eat small mammals. Its food mainly consists of lizards and snakes. When it hunts, it takes up a particular position against the wind, poised in the air with its wings fully outstretched.

  • Vernacular heritage

    Les Roranches Chapel

    Built in 1780 on the site of a former chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, the Roranches chapel is dedicated to Saint Pancras, the protector of farm animals and pets. It was built using humble architectural techniques, and is highly representative of the small places of worship in the Champsaur woodlands where, as so often in the mountains, the materials used were those that were ready to hand. Two renovation projects have been carried out on the chapel since 2013 with the support of the Ecrins National Park. The first was aimed at stabilising the barrel vault and renewing the framework and roof using the original material, slate. The second project was to restore the plasterwork inside and outside, as well as the whitewash, windows and flooring.

  • Flora

    Scots pine

    The Scots pine can be recognised by its long reddish brown trunk and sparse foliage. The needles are grey-green, slightly curved and paired. It needs a great deal of sunshine, but can make do with poor, sandy soil that is unsuited to other trees. Its wood is light and of high quality.

  • Geology and geography

    Le Vieux Chaillol

    Easily visible from Champsaur and from beyond Gap, Le Vieux Chaillol is, like the Ecrins range, made up of granite rocks originating in the bedrock of the Cambrian era and which suddenly rose up some 5 million years ago. But the rocks of Le Vieux Chaillol have undergone a particular recrystallisation and have been transformed into metamorphic conglomerates and schists.


Description

Whilst keeping on the right bank, continue along the Drac for about 10 minutes, which will quickly take you up to the right and into a larch forest. The GR continues under large black slabs (sandstone). An hour later, you will see a footpath to the left that goes down to the hamlet of Clapier. Continue up through the forest, the path flattens out to overlook the Aiguilles de Pertuis. Go through a shale zone and leave the forest for a pasture area where you may lose the tracks in some places. Take the footpath to the right, down along the thalweg up to the mountain spur that dominates the valley. Go down the meandering path that joins the small road leading to Les Richards. Walk across the hamlet and at the junction take the route to the left. Walk past a farm, through a first gateway, along the enclosure, through a second gateway and cross the Bonnets stream. The path then heads up the right bank and enters a wood, on a forestry path that goes down to, and crosses, the Brudou stream. Whilst still in the forest, go past the Baumette Forester's house, then not long after, above the Doue water source, cross over the Peyrousse stream. Following the contours, the path continues under the aiguilles de Famourou. Go through the Aysses wood (on the left you will see a path that goes down to a track leading to to the "Marrons" rest house), then cross the Riou Mort. The GR comes to the forest again and follows an old irrigation canal just below. You will then reach the rest area of the old Chaillol mountain refuge. Follow the forestry road that goes down the right bank of the Buissard stream to get to the Chaillol resort.

  • Departure : Les Borels
  • Arrival : Chaillol 1600
  • Towns crossed : Champoléon, Saint-Jean-Saint-Nicolas, and Saint-Michel-de-Chaillol

Altimetric profile


Sensitive areas

Along your trek, you will go through sensitive areas related to the presence of a specific species or environment. In these areas, an appropriate behaviour allows to contribute to their preservation. For detailed information, specific forms are accessible for each area.

Golden eagle

Impacted practices:
Aerial, , Vertical
Sensitivity periods:
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAug
Contact:
Parc National des Écrins
Julien Charron
julien.charron@ecrins-parcnational.fr

Peregrine falcon

Impacted practices:
Aerial, Vertical
Sensitivity periods:
FebMarAprMayJun
Contact:
Parc National des Écrins
Julien Charron
julien.charron@ecrins-parcnational.fr

Black grouse - winter

Impacted practices:
, Land
Sensitivity periods:
JanFebMarAprDec
Contact:
Fédération départementale des chasseurs des Hautes-Alpes : 
Pierre-Frédéric Galvin : pierre-frederic.galvin@fdc05.com

Membre de l'Observatoire des Galliformes de montagne
Virginie Dos Santos : ogm.vds@gmail.com
Blandine Amblard : ogm.amblard@gmail.com

Black grouse - winter

Impacted practices:
, Land
Sensitivity periods:
JanFebMarAprDec
Contact:
Fédération départementale des chasseurs des Hautes-Alpes : 
Pierre-Frédéric Galvin : pierre-frederic.galvin@fdc05.com

Membre de l'Observatoire des Galliformes de montagne
Virginie Dos Santos : ogm.vds@gmail.com
Blandine Amblard : ogm.amblard@gmail.com

Recommandations

The Drac has very wide riverbed that spreads and flows in several branches. They can change direction after heavy rainfalls cutting off the cross-country ski trails in several places.


Information desks

House of Champsaur

, 05260 Pont-du-Fossé

http://www.ecrins-parcnational.fr/champsaur@ecrins-parcnational.fr04 92 55 95 44

Information and documentation, temporary exhibitions. Sale of products and works of the Park. In the same space, home office Tourist High Champsaur. Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.

Find out more

Tourisme Office of Champsaur & Valgaudemar

Les Barraques, 05500 La Fare en Champsaur

http://www.champsaur-valgaudemar.com/04 92 49 09 35
Open all year: Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm and 14pm to 18pm.
Find out more

Transport

In the summer, shuttle from Gap to Les Auberts that stops at Les Borels. Be sure to reserve 36 hours in advance at 05voyageurs.com or by calling 04 92 502 505. 


Access and parking

From the N85, take the D944 (Col de Manse) 4 km after Pont-du-Fossé, turn left onto the D944a and continue to Les Borels.

Parking :

Car park to the left when you arrive at Les Borels

More information


Source

Parc national des Ecrinshttps://www.ecrins-parcnational.fr

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