Les Plagnes via Les Clots
Granaries, terraces, oratories... all the magic of Meije country. Here, hiking is a chance to enjoy the architecture and traditions of Le Chazelet, as well as the unique plant life all around.
Chazelet Cattle Fair
This an old market that still exists and gives local farmers the opportunity to sell young "Abondance" or "Tarine" cows, that are needed to make Beaufort and Reblochon cheeses, to farmers from Savoie, Haute Savoie and Italy. The traders, who are easy to identify with their hats and black cloaks, and the worried-looking breeders barter, whilst stalls of bells and other objects lend a festive feel to the event.
Sainte-Anne du Chazelet oratory
Although it stands beside an ordinary road, the Chazelet oratory is famous for one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Alps and the Meije mountains. Built in dry stone, the edifice is at 1 834 m and overlooks the valley and the Ecrins and Meije mountains. It has been sketched, photographed and painted many times, including in the famous Meije by the Japanese painter Foujita.
Recently a new orientation table was placed a few metres above the oratory. In two parts, it shows the northern slope of the Meije and the southern slope in the direction of Chazelet and Savoie.
To test your head for heights, there is nothing like this new, life-size game played facing the Meije a steel walkway suspended over empty space. The first few steps are daunting, but reaching the end of the walkway – or rather, empty space – calls for even more courage! Beneath your feet, all the way down below is the village of Les Fréaux, nestling against the Romanche, and above you, the giants of ice. If you add in the element of air, with gusts of wind blowing all around you, then strong sensations are guaranteed!
From the car park, walk up the tarmac road passing above the village for about 200 m. Take the left-hand fork in the road before the first houses and follow the Chemin des Plagnes. After about 200 m, go up to the right along a small path leading to a cross. Follow the path upwards across the hay meadows to the second hairpin bend, and there take the small path (in the locality of Founcato), which goes up to the button lift, then runs alongside it as far as the wooden cross (locality of Jacques Mathonet). Continue along the path that crosses the Plagnes button lift, and rejoin the path that makes its way towards the Martignare valley. Head right and make for the “Col des Plagnes” (2106 m), following the markings, along the edge of the Chazelet forest. Go down the narrow path leading to the village of Les Clots (1916 m) (don’t take the path on the left leading to La Celle des Juges). Cross the upper part of the village and turn right onto a mountainside path. After crossing the small slate mines (cables), you come to a wide track that runs below the forest. Go down towards the oratory, passing the orientation table. You arrive at a road, which you follow for 300 m towards Le Chazelet. Walk through the village and continue on back to the starting point of the trip.
Pay attention when crossing the slate mines on the way back - use the cable to help you.
Grenoble bus station/SNCF - La Grave / Villar d'Arène - Briançon (LER 35 - Transisère).
Access and parking
From Col du Lautaret, follow the D1091, before the tunnel entrance, turn left onto the D33 and head for Le Chazelet.
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