Welcome to the Pays de la Meije

The emblematic Montagne de La Meije proudly dominates the landscape, creating an exceptional backdrop for all explorations. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful mountains in the Alps.
Majestically towering at 3983m, La Meije overlooks the upper Romanche valley, where the two pretty little villages of La Grave and Villar d'Arène, each surrounded by their own hamlets, are nestled.
Pays de la Meije - Lac du pontet ©Alpes Photographies
Alpes Photographies

La Grave & its hamlets

An Alpine jewel steeped in history.

For centuries, the people of La Grave have shaped a unique alpine civilization adapted to the challenges of the high mountains. Listed as one of France's most beautiful villages, La Grave offers exceptional panoramic views, overlooked by the majestic Meije massif. It is said that La Grave was once surrounded by a fortified enclosure, which has now completely disappeared.
The village has retained a tightly woven urban fabric, as evidenced by the numerous "trabuc" lanes linking the houses.

The village, perched at an altitude of 1500 metres, boasts a rich heritage. The five hamlets of "Les Traverses" at an altitude of 1800 meters, Les Hières, Valfroide, Ventelon, Les Terrasses and le Chazelet (family ski resort)also offer heritage treasures, including stone houses and churches adorned with tufa...

The Meije Glacier Ropeway takes you into the bowels of the high mountains at 3200m altitude, right up close to the Meije.

Discover La Grave and its hamlets

La Grave Alpes Photographs Alpes Photographies
Villar d'Arène ©Alpes Photographies Alpes Photographies

Villar d'arène & its hamlets

Guardian of mountain traditions.

Situated at an altitude of 1650m, Villar d'Arène and its hamlets, Pied du Col and Les Cours, have preserved a distinctive heritage of traditional houses, chapels and fountains.

The Romans called this last village before the Col du Lautaret Arènes Supérieures, as opposed to Arènes Inférieures, the name given to La Grave. Having bought back a number of freedoms from the Dauphiné, the inhabitants called themselves the "affranchis", a name that evolved into "Faranchins" over time.

The Saint-Antoine chapel offers a magnificent view, while the "Au fil des fontaines" trail and the mill-ecomuseum are must-sees for visitors. The village, true to its roots, remains an unspoilt mountain treasure at the gateway to the Ecrins National Park.

In winter, you can discover these forgotten corners thanks to Domaine Nordique which takes us through the byways.

More about Villar d'Arène

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Hiking in the Parc des Ecrins ©-T.-Blais-

Ecrins National Park

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Col-du-Lautaret-Winter-2022©M.Molinari

Lautaret & Galibier passes

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Plateau d'emparis bivouac starry night ©T.Blais

Our must-haves

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La Grave and Villar d'Arène, mountaineering village of the ecrins

Mountaineering - Pic de La Grave Alpi estivale ©T.Blais (13) © T. Blais
Les Villages d'Alpinisme des Écrins are historic departure points for major mountaineering routes to iconic peaks. The group of seven are : La Grave, Villar d'Arène, Monêtier-les-Bains, Vallouise-Pelvoux, La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar, Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans and Valjouffrey.

In 2021, seven villages in the Écrins massif have launched a joint initiative: to create a Villages d'Alpinisme club and establish a charter of shared values. Les Villages d'Alpinisme des Écrins was inspired by the "Bergsteigerdörfer", a label created in Austria in 2008 and subsequently extended to Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Coming to a mountaineering village means disconnecting from society and reconnecting with nature in the mountains.

 

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