Vallon de l'Orgère
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Vallon de l'Orgère
VILLARODIN-BOURGET

Vallon de l'Orgère

Architecture
Fauna
Flora
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An interpretive trail that crosses the marmots’ preferred terrain before entering a forest of cembro pines hundreds of years old, brought to life by the mischievous spotted nutcrackers.

The valley of Orgère is a natural setting hanging over the Maurienne Valley where a wild and ancient forest shares the space with meadows maintained by several generations of farmers. Here, both wild and domesticated nature live in perfect harmony under the ominous but benevolent vigilance of the Aiguille Doran.


14 points of interest
Refuge

Refuge de l’Orgère

Acquired in 1969 by the Vanoise National Park, former residence of EDF workers, the Refuge de l’Orgère is one of the 4 “refuges-portes” (gateway shelters) of Vanoise National Park.
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Architecture

Chapel of “Notre-dame-des-Neiges”

During the summer, it was difficult to get down to the village for church services. Chapels were therefore built on the mountain pastures. The lauze roofing and architecture of the building show us how local materials were once used, with the sparing use of wood. In order to avoid mountain hazards such as rock falls and avalanches, the religious buildings such as oratories or crosses figure prominently on the mountain.
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Fauna

The black woodpecker and the boreal owl

"Although timid, the largest of the European peckers rarely gœs unnoticed because of its ""kraaak kraaak kraaak"" cries in flight often followed by a powerful ""zhreee"" when it lands. Black and the size of a crow, the male has a red cap covering the whole skull which is limited to the neck in the female. Seeking out old trees to dig its nest, its role is decisive for the boreal owl. This boreal forest owl cannot dig its own home in the wood, so it must use the old homes made by the black woodpecker."
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Fauna

The spotted nutcracker

Known as the ghost of the forest, it is often its raucous cry that will call you, before you see it, flying through the branches. If you are a bird watcher, you may have already noticed near the outskirts of the trail the many cembro pine cones which it took care to dissect with its powerful beak to extract the seeds. They have a large number of reserves which they hide in multiple places throughout the forest and which they can find with absolute precision thanks to a highly developed localisation technique. The forgotten seeds will germinate and help in the reproduction of the cembro pine.
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Flora

Lichens

A lichen is the fruit of a symbiosis between an algae and a fungus: the fungus protects the algae, giving it water and mineral salts and the algae produces sugars and other products, which it shares with the fungus. An excellent indicator of air quality, capable of withstanding extreme living conditions, there are a great many species in the Orgère forest, including wolf lichen, which grows almost exclusively on the larch tree. With a bright sulphur-yellow colour, it is the only toxic lichen in France. Legend has it that it takes its name from its alleged use as a poison against the wolf.
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Flora

The Orgère forest

Comprised of a mixture of cembro pines and European larches, the Orgère forest has derived its richness from the absence of logging since 1943. As a result, it has ecological characteristics that bring it closer to primary forests with many centuries-old trees and a large proportion of dead wood.
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Flora

The ferruginous rhododendron

Often called the “rose of the Alps”, the rhododendron blooms with striking pink flowers in June. Its secret? It prepares next year’s flower buds at the end of the summer. These buds, protected from the cold and frost by the snow, can withstand the rigours of winter and thus flower very early. The ferruginous quality dœsn’t come from the colour of the flowers but from the rusty colour of the underside of its leaves.
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Fauna

The marmot

The alpine look-out will often see you before you see her and will signal your presence by a shrill cry, unless she wishes to warn her fellow-mates of the arrival of an eagle. Ever-present on the lower part of the route, often curious, she will delight hikers, both old and young alike, who visit the valley. Most importantly, do not feed them! Food which is not suited to them will harm their health and their survival.
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Architecture

The chalets

"When most of the flat areas, more suitable for building chalets, were occupied, it was necessary to build on the slope, in areas more exposed to avalanches. Some chalets therefore had to be built with a specific architecture in order to resist avalanches: semi-buried, oriented in the direction of the slope and protected by a protective promontory called a ""tourne""."
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Fauna

The black grouse

Inhabiting the upper limits of the alpine forest and the fields of bilberries and rhododendron, the black grouse is also known as the black cock. Very discreet, thanks to its brown homochromatic plumage, the female is very difficult to spot. With its black plumage and its lyre-shaped tail after which it is named, the male is much less so. Especially in the spring, at daybreak when the cocks engage in spectacular courtship displays alternating between combat and intimidation when they coo and hiss powerfully.
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Flora

The colours of autumn

If you get the chance, do this hike in the autumn. The mélézin is adorned by beautiful golden hues. The large-fruit fireweed opens up to release a multitude of seeds surmounted by silky-white snow like threads. And higher up the ubac, the bilberry moors take on a beautiful red hue. Under the effect of the first frosts the alpine pastures are adorned with pretty warm colours that contrast sharply with the white of the first snows covering the summits.
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Fauna

The small tortoiseshell

The small tortoiseshell is the first butterfly to land on the flowers which are barely out of the snow. The caterpillars feed only on nettles. They can be seen on their leaves piled into bundles with their two yellow bands on their backs. The butterfly, on the other hand, is orange in colour, inlaid with ebony and hemmed with a ring of blue spots around the edge of the wings.
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Fauna

The red deer

As a result of hunting and logging, the deer had all but disappeared from the Savoy forests. Reintroduced between 1958 and 1973, it has adapted remarkably well to the mountain environment to form a fine population. In autumn the mating season gives rise to spectacular fighting between males, but it is the raucous and powerful cries of the deer that bring the valley to life. Taking advantage of the peacefulness of the place, the animals bellow practically all day long.
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History

The Orgère valley

Orgère, where barley was grown. In past centuries, the need for pastures, hayfields and cultivated land on flat or slightly hilly areas forced man to deforest, even at high altitude. The right bank of the valley, presenting a gentler profile, was the most exploited. The rocks which clutter the plots are regularly placed in heaps, to form mounds of stones which still remain in the valley. Used during the summer, the valley was brought to life by about fifteen families and their little flock.
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Description

Park in the Orgère car park located after the refuge at the end of the road. Then take the old EDF track, located at the bottom of the car park. Follow the discovery trail marked by landmarks and equipped with visual, audible and tactile interpretation stations. Pass a concrete bridge that straddles the Povaret stream to reach the foot of the Aiguille Doran. Here the section of the trail labelled “Promenade de confort” ends. For people with reduced mobility and pushchair users, return to the car park by the outward route. For hikers wishing to complete the loop, follow a path to a wooden footbridge to cross the Masse stream. Continue along a winding path until you reach a crossing which is also the summit of this hike. At this crossing, turn right following the markers for the discovery trail. After walking through the rhododendrons, enter the heart of the forest, while continuing to descend gradually, exit the forest to reach a second crossing, located near the chalets. Take a right on an off-road track, arrive at a stone bridge crossing the Povaret stream. Continue on, then cross a group of buildings, including a chapel on your left. Follow the markers for the discovery trail and climb through a softwood forest by a winding path. Come out on to a road, climbing back up to reach the car park.

Departure : Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget
Arrival : Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget
Towns crossed : VILLARODIN-BOURGET

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

As the trail largely borders the heart of the park, you are strongly advised to keep any dogs accompanying you on a leash. This also prevents any interactions with animals in the mountain pastures.


Information desks

Maison Cantonale<br>9 Place Sommeiller<br>73500 Modane,

http://www.cchautemaurienne.com/

info@cchmv.fr

04 79 05 26 67


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Maison cantonale - Place sommeiller<br>73500 Modane,

04 79 05 57 94


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Transport

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Rail connection to Modane. Information: www.voyages-sncf.com
Then transport by coach to Villarodin. Information: www.transavoie.com
No public transport between Villarodin Orgère car park.
Suggested hitchhiking organised in the Haute-Maurienne valley. Information: www.rezopouce.fr

"

Access and parking

From the exit of the A43 motorway, take the direction of Modane. At the Freney roundabout, take the RD 106 towards the Refuge de l´Orgère which is signposted. After a 30 minute drive, pass the Refuge on your right to access the car park.

Parking :

Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget

Accessibility

Accessible path of about 1.4 km for people with reduced mobility and motor disabilities, certified
”Promenade confort” (comfort trail), with two disabled parking spaces. The trail is punctuated by
stations consisting of tactile features, models and sound stations. The National Park’s Refuge-Porte de l´Orgère has been certified “Accessible Tourism” for the 4 disability types since 2014.

Pushchair
Wheelchair
Emergency number :
114

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