Tour of Vieux Chaillol - Stage 5 out of 5

Tour of Vieux Chaillol - Stage 5 out of 5

History and architecture
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Following a walk up through the larch forest, you will have beautiful viewpoints over the Champsaur valley, its mountain hedges and in the distance the Dévoluy mountain range.

In the Champsaur, there is extraordinary biological diversity and many people. This scattered lifestyle across several hamlets away from the larger towns such as Saint Bonnet, are due to an interesting past. Religious fervour has left its mark on the area by way of crosses and chapels. It was the subject of many conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, who assembled around the Duke of Lesdiguières.


From the Chaillol 1600 resort, take the stony road that links up to the Bois de la Lozière forestry road (turn left). Continue on the forestry road for another 500 m where, on the right, you will come to the footpath that leads into the larch forest. Walk past the footpath to the right that goes to the Pisse pass, and again on the right, the one that leads to the Viallet pass, and start a descent through the woods. When you leave the Lozière wood, cross the top of Les Combes. Enter the Barbeyroux wood and pick up the forestry route on the right. When you reach the roundabout, follow the road to the right that goes to the Subeyrannes forestry house and then go down to the village of Infourna Hauts. On the left at the exit of the hamlet, follow the paved road then the forestry road that leads to the Blache pass. From there head west following the wooded ridge. Cross a paved road (5 minutes to the left is the hamlet of L'Auberie and its strange chapel of the Petêtes). Go up through the Bois de Clier and as you leave it you will reach the hamlet de Charbillac along the road. Go through Charbillac and follow the road that then becomes a rough track leading to an enclosed meadow. Head down through the forest then once you have passed the Merdarel stream, go along the irrigation canal until you get to the bridge over the Séveraissette that will lead you to La Motte en Champsaur. From the post office square, the path continues up to the north-west to the hamlet of Le Collet. Go over the mountain pass of the same name, then start down on a shaded route on the paved road from Les Courts. Follow the road for 400 m, then a track to left, to 400 m of paved road, leading to Maisseret. The GR leaves the paved road by a rough track that bends until it reaches Les Costes water storage reservoir. 400 m into the forest, link up to the forestry road that heads down north-east, changes into a footpath and crosses the Costes irrigation canal. It is possible to get to Les Paris by a small footpath to the right.

  • Departure : Chaillol
  • Arrival : Les Paris
  • Towns crossed : Saint-Michel-de-Chaillol, Saint-Julien-en-Champsaur, Saint-Bonnet-en-Champsaur, Bénévent-et-Charbillac, Les Infournas, La Motte-en-Champsaur, Les Costes, Chauffayer, and Saint-Jacques-en-Valgodemard

6 points of interest

  • Architecture

    The ski resort of Chaillol 1600

    Located above the village of Chaillol, on the slopes of the Vieux Chaillol which rises to a height of 3,163 metres, the ski resort of Chaillol 1600 enjoys maximum sunshine thanks to its full south-facing orientation. A family resort opened in 1964, today it has adapted to the new snowfall conditions with a reservoir of water for artificial snow production, installed in the valley of La Pisse. In winter, the skiable area ranges between 1,450 metres and 2,000 metres and in summer the resort offers mountain activities such as hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. 

  • Architecture

    Malcros canal

    From the rocky wilds of the Vieux Chaillol to the green fields in the valley, the Malcros canal is the fruit of an extraordinary endeavour of power and precision. Built between 1873 and 1881, it was designed to supply water to the populated communities of the Champsaur valley.

    Water management has always been a crucial subject in the mountains. But although dictated by necessity, it is nevertheless true that this construction is the fruit of a Herculean effort: 61 kilometres of canals and aqueducts between the glacier of Malcros (2,818 m) and the various villages it was intended to supply... and with no power-driven machinery! The «gullies» to Saint-Bonnet were completed in 1878; those to Buissard and Bénévent-et-Charbillac were left high and dry. Avalanches and natural erosion finally got the better of the locals' determination, and they finally abandoned it in 1923.

    Today, the «Malcros 2818» association is attempting to restore this historic piece of infrastructure. The laid-out canal path from Malcros to Saint-Michel de Chaillol is a walk not to be missed!

  • Architecture

    Champsaur architecture

    Today's landscapes and the houses are no accident. They bear the trace of humans, who were less concerned with building attractive places, than with striving to find the best rigorously functional solutions for the area. In the northern part of the Drac valley, an area often faced with a cold wind, hedges were planted, buildings were close together and almost blind on the north-facing side. On the balconies to the east, as in St-Michel-de-Chaillol or St-Julien-en-Chapsaur, the aim was to find sunlight and the facade often had a large porch.
  • Flora


    Hedged landscapes were quite common in France before the war, but here, above an altitude of 1000 m, a wonderful diversity has been maintained. A patchwork of hedgerows, prairies and woods are home to an array of birds. Amongst them are many common sparrows (red-backed shrikes, stonechats, sparrows, quails and wrynecks) whose numbers are in decline in France, sometimes alarmingly so. Richness is therefore not solely due to rarity.
  • Fauna

    Ornithologial diversity

    Thirty years of careful inventories have identified 220 species of bird in the valley. This exceptional variety is not only due to the landscapes (hedges, wetlands, forests and high mountains) but also to the Champsaur's geographical position: not quite north-alpine, wide open to the south with the Manse and Bayard thresholds, ideal for exchange and for migratory birds such as herons, ducks, red-footed falcons or flycatchers.
  • Flora


    When they have not been disturbed by modern fertilisation techniques and silage, around fifty species of plant can still be found in the hayfields. The most symbolic are the poet's daffodil, alpine salsify, meadow sage, sainfoin and globeflower that punctuate the landscape with their different colours.

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.

Short-toed snake eagle

Impacted practices:
Sensitivity periods:
Parc National des Écrins
Julien Charron

Information desks

House of Champsaur

, 05260 Pont-du-Fossé 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 92 49 09 35
Open all year: Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm and 14pm to 18pm.
Find out more

Access and parking

From the N85 head towards Saint Bonnet and follow the D43 then the D143 towards Chaillol or Chaillol 1600.

Parking :

Chaillol 1600 or Les Marrons


Parc national des Ecrins

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