Two-day tour of Vallaisonnay
- Departure : Car park at the hamlet of Laisonnay d'en bas
- Arrival : Car park at the hamlet of Laisonnay d'en bas
- Towns crossed : CHAMPAGNY-EN-VANOISE and PEISEY-NANCROIX
Access and parking
10 points of interest
Take in the valley’s true magnificence from the Palet Pass, which provides you with views of some of the massif’s highest glaciers, with eight numbered marker posts located along the trail by the Vanoise National Park.
The itinerary, which takes around 4 hours to complete, was created and waymarked by the Vanoise National Park. The accompanying booklet contains all the information you might need as you get better acquainted with mountain glaciers.
On the itinerary: the Glière mountain hut (restaurant service and beds for the night), the high mountain pastures of the Plan du Sel and the secrets of Beaufort cheese production, and above all, no end of marmots!
You can get a copy of the booklet at the Laisonnay Reception and Information Point.
The Py WaterfallWhat could be more refreshing than starting your hike under the spray of the Py waterfall standing at 80m high! Ÿou will follow the mountain stream of the same name throughout the whole ascent towards the “Refuge de Plaisance”. In the mountains the variations in stream flow are impressive! In spring, the meltwater hurtles down the slopes at full speed while in the autumn the water subsides. The colour of the water can also change: a violent thunderstorm can quickly turn this clear water into black mud. A hundred years ago, it was still possible to pass between the waterfall and the wall without getting wet! This is unthinkable today, which just gœs to show how strong the eroding Py stream is.
The Py waterfallA truly spectacular sight! A bridge spans the watercourse, providing a perfect vantage point to admire this magnificent 80-metre waterfall and bask in its refreshing spray.
The alpine ibexTo the west, on the slopes of the “Chardes” massif is the kingdom of the alpine ibex. Its history is closely tied to that of the National Park because, after almost disappearing from the massif, the ban on hunting in the heart of the Park saved the last individual animals. In Champagny, National Park agents even expedited its return since in 1980, about fifteen animals were reintroduced after being captured in Maurienne. It is not uncommon to see the large males in June around the shelter and not very far from it on summer evenings. Females are more discreet; they occupy cliffs and rocky ledges in order to give birth and raise their young away from prying eyes.
The Refuge de PlaisanceThe two “Chaloin” chalets at the Refuge de Plaisance were built by Vanoise National Park. They have suffered the rigours of winter on two occasions: in February 1999, a remarkable avalanche pushed the bunkhouse chalet, which weighs about ten tons, against the building housing the dining room. In January 2004, the roof of the chalet was damaged by a storm. Life is hard for the mountain refuges in winter!
Plan Séry and its floraThis lake now has more water and what a sight! This vast expanse appears to be an ancient dried glacial lake. If you take the time to look more closely, you might find the carex bicolor, a small protected plant. This small grass can be recognised by its small two-toned spikelets in pistachio and chocolate. Like all rare species in Vanoise, Park agents map it to assess its presence within the territory. It is much less spectacular than the edelweiss that you can admire all around the lake. Even if this species is not protected contrary to popular belief, do not pick it! Flower picking is strictly prohibited in the heart of the Park especially because other hikers should be able to admire the snow stars.
Lac de PlagneLac de Plagne (2,144m in altitude) is one of the 3 lakes in the upper valley of Peisey Nancroix (you will also see Lac Grattaleu and Lac Verdet during this hike) which covers an area of 7.6 ha and has a maximum depth of 19 m making it one of the deepest lakes in Vanoise. Like many mountain lakes, it was stocked with young char fish from Canada (or lake trout) some years ago for fishing. Originally adapted to the extreme conditions of the polar regions, this species of fish is capable of withstanding extremely rigorous environmental conditions (very harsh and prolonged winter conditions, absence of light, low temperatures, etc.).
The Grande CasseFrom the Col de la Grassaz you can admire Vanoise’s highest summit, the Grande Casse standing at 3,855 m. The first ascent of the Grande Casse was made on 8th August 1860 by William Mathews, a British climber and his guides Michel Croz and Étienne Favre. But the impressive facing slope, with its hanging glacier, is the north face of the mountain and was much harder to climb. And so the first journey of the north-north-west face of the Grande Casse was made by Victor Puiseux and his son Pierre Puiseux, Amédée Crochet and Joseph Amiez.
The chamois"The scree and grassy bumps provide the perfect grounds for the chamois to inhabit. Distant cousin of the antelope, it is much more at ease than the ibex in the snow. Its small hooked horns of ebony black and its white and black striped mask make it easy to recognise. Open your eyes, get out your binoculars, and most importantly listen to the mountain; just a few rolling rocks are enough to identify the presence of these animals. With a bit of luck, you can see the little ones play on a névé under the watchful eye of their mothers who gather them in a ""nursery"" to better guard them."
The glaciersOn the left bank (downhill) of the Glière valley, there are about ten glaciers. They resist melting thanks to the shadow of the mountains looming over them. Here you can see the cirque glaciers (Becca Motta, Nord de la Glière), glaciers of the slope (Volnets, Troquairou), the valley (Epéna, Rosolin, Roche du Tougne), restored glaciers (Pramort) and the ice cap (Grande Motte). They cover a surface of 12 km2.