Le Belvédère de l'homme
This is an enjoyable walk, with some lush vegetation, that it is a pleasure to follow as a means to apply knowledge gained from a visit to the Lautaret pass Alpine Botanical Garden. The high point of this short climb is the Belvedere de l'Homme. It is an invitation to contemplate the high summits of the massif and perhaps encourage us to come back another time to walk towards the Arsine pass, the Adèle mountain refuge or the Emparis plateau that we can imagine in the distance.
Pierrick Navizet - eco-tourism task officer at the Parc national
6 points of interest
A small ski resort was created in 1970 not far from the Lautaret mountain pass. Due to the risk of avalanches and new standards required, alpine skiing was moved near to the village of Villar d'Arène and Chazelet hamlet. The two obsolete ski-lifts situated in this very picturesque territory, rich in terms of biodiversity, ruin this place which has been classified since1974 as the national nature reserve of Combeynot. In 2013, dismantling was carried out by the Mixed union of ski-resorts in the Haute Romanche with the support of the National Park. In the end more than 35 tons of iron and concrete blocks were evacuated.
Alder forest and green aldersHere is a spectacular transition from the genuine forest and pastures of the north facing slopes. There is a thick grouping of shrubs made up essentially of willows and green alders. These will never reach the size of a tree. They constitute impenetrable thickets where, over time, boars, chamois and roe deer have outlined a maze to hide in. The plants provide nitrogen through their roots and fertilise the soil, as if getting their own back on the eutrophic tall herbs.
- FloraTransition zone at the upper edge of the forest, it has large plants with big leaves that seek light in order to grow. Under cover of their leaves, some animals and plants find a safe haven, particularly alternate-leaved golden saxifrage and adenostyles alpina. On the east part of the Ecrins massif, eutrophic tall herbs can be found at the edge of streams and brooks. Just after snowmelt, it raises its golden head and constitutes a lovely carpet of flowers.
Turk's cap lilyThe Turk's cap lily lodges on the grassy slopes, meadows and undergrowth. It can be seen from a distance due to it long upright flowering stalk from which stem three to ten majestic flowers. They are large, purple-pink with some crimson, and have six petals that turn upwards when they reach maturity. Six orange stamens are then visible. The flowers that bend downwards lift when the fruit is formed.
Black GrouseThe black grouse lives above 1200 m, and can only be found in the Alps. It is possible to spot the male due to its black plumage and its tail in the shape of a lyre (which is why its French name is Tétras Lyre). While it spends most of the time in winter in an igloo scooped out of the snow as protection against the cold, in the spring it performs spectacular parades to attract a female. The National park is tracking the population of the species in this zone.
View over La Meije
La Meije is the second major peak in the Massif des Ecrins. It is made up of 3 main peaks: the Doigt de Dieu (3,973 m), La Meije Orientale (3,891m), and the highest summit, the Grand Pic at 3,983 m. It is a hard summit to climb, and the first to do so, on 16 August 1877, was Emmanuel Boileau de Castelnau, together with the famous local guide, Pierre Gaspard. "Meije" comes from the Occitan word Meidjo, which means midday, because when seen from the village of La Grave, the sun passes above the summit at around noon. On the other side, before La Meije became famous, it was called the Bec des Peignes (“Comb Beak”) by the inhabitants of Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans.
From the car park below the Lautaret pass, head towards Laurichard where you will quickly come to a crossing. Leave the Laurichard footpath and turn right. Cross a footbridge and progressively walk up the hillside. The footpath crosses over several streams, eutrophic tall herbs and shrub zones and leads to a more open area - where sheep sometimes graze – before reaching the Belvedere de l'homme. Do not go over the barrier, turn back to return to the start point.
- Departure : Col du Lautaret
- Towns crossed : Villar-d'Arêne
In mountain pastures, protection dogs are there to protect the herds from predators (wolves, etc.).
When I hike I adapt my behavior by going around the herd and pausing for the dog to identify me.
Find out more about the actions to adopt with the article "Protection dogs: a context and actions to adopt".
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Information center "Col du Lautaret" (summer only)
Col du Lautaret, 05220 Le Monêtier-les-bains
04 92 24 49 74
Under the gaze of the Meije (3983 m) and surrounded by beautiful meadows celebrated in the great names of botany, the former hospice of the Lautaret called "refuge Napoleon" houses the reception and information Park center - Projections, documentation, books of the Park. Accessible to people with reduced mobility. Free admission.
Maison du Parc du Briançonnais
Place Médecin-Général Blanchard, 05100 Briançon
04 92 21 08 49
Located at the foot of the medieval town fortified by Vauban, declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2008, the Maison du Parc Briançon is a welcoming place of information exchange. Three floors of exhibition to discover : the natural and cultural heritage, the museum of the history of skiing in Briançon. Documentation, maps, guidebooks, books and products of the Park. Guided tours for groups by reservation. Free admission.
Bus route Grenoble - Briançon, via Le col du Lautaret (ligne express régionale : LER 35).
Access and parking
D1091 (Grenoble — Briançon), col du Lautaret.
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