History and architecture
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2 points of interest

  • Know-how

    The Ornon slate mines

    Near Ornon, the route regularly unveils slate deposits. These black rock sheets are commonplace here. Slate was for a long time mined, providing a certain amount of prosperity to the village. A century ago, 9 quarries employed 250 people. The slate was used for roofs, but their quality was much in demand, and sometimes was exported. The quarries were worked in the winter, since the workers were farmers the rest of the year. Industrial materials began to compete with natural slate, and mining came to a halt in about 1950.

  • Fauna

    The black grouse

    To observe black grouse in summer, you need to get up early. In France, black grouse (or blackcocks) can only be found in the Alps. In spring, the male with its black plumage and lyre-shaped tail with white under-tails parades to attract females. In winter, they spend most of their time in igloos dug out of the snow to protect themselves from the cold. This is a particularly sensitive period because they cannot replenish the energy used up when they must leave their igloos suddenly if an off-piste skier or show-shoe hiker passes by.

Altimetric profile


Parc national des Ecrins

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