Walk to La Duis
Walking back up along the course of the Arc, the Arc’s plain opens up. The ridges of the Mulinet stand vigil while the glaciers illuminate the warmth of July. The flowers blossom, the colours explode and the birds sing. Further on, the people of the land have begun harvesting the hay. Nature is not the only thing you will see; this landscape, these old barns and old chalets originated from the toil and sweat of men.
From the hamlet of Écot, take the pastoral track that continues towards the bottom of the valley, passing between the water intake and the EDF station. Approximately 1 km away, leave the trail that follows the Arc and on the left hand side follow the track alongside the large cairn that first rises gently on the slope before going along the Arc again to the Duis. Follow the opposite way to return.
- Departure : Écot car park, Bonneval-sur-Arc
- Arrival : Écot car park, Bonneval-sur-Arc
- Towns crossed : BONNEVAL-SUR-ARC
Make sure you respect the rules of the car park. Don’t walk in the meadows while they are not mowed.
La Ciamarella<br>73480 Bonneval-sur-Arc,
04 79 05 99 06 / 04 79 05 99 10
Vanoise Information Desk - Termignon
Place Vanoise, 73500 Termignon
04 79 20 51 67
Access and parking
From the Tourist Information Centre in Bonneval-sur-Arc, take the small road leading to Écot.
9 points of interest
- Small heritage
Before you leave, a little tour around the hamlet of l'Écot!L’Écot was at one time, like Bonneval, a hamlet of Bessans. In the heart of L´Écot is the Romanesque chapel of Sainte-Marguerite, dating back to the 12th century. Although the hamlet is no longer inhabited permanently today, it was until about 1960. A number of houses have been restored in keeping with this exceptional building heritage. With wood being rare at this altitude, the local stone is used from wall to roof.
View over the Hamlet of Ecot
The abandonment of agropastoral activity also affects the habitat. Whether conserved or not by the original families, this built heritage is subject to regulatory measures aimed at preserving its original appearance, in the absence of any occupant to fulfil the role. These measures do not prevent the disappearance of suspended drying balconies for solarium terraced balconies, and the appearance of bays, shutters or double roofs to meet modern standards of comfort.
The hamlet of l'ÉcotWood became a rare commodity in Bonneval-sur-Arc, and so the builders of yesterday used the most abundant resource in this high valley - the stone. Walls, lintels, roofing, drinking troughs and even intermediate floors were mounted in lauze! Thanks to a wise restoration, the hamlet of l´Écot blends harmoniously into this landscape. Walk through the narrow streets and imagine how life once was when the hamlet was populated all year by men and their animals...
The flower meadowsThese hay meadows are vital for farmers, allowing them to provide for their animals during the winter. The mowing promotes biodiversity and makes these meadows colourful in July. How many different species can you identify?
The hay barnsBarns can be spotted along the entire route up to Duis, which were previously used to store hay. Their architecture is particular to the Haute-Maurienne: the locals used the materials most available locally such as stone. This explains the dry stone walls as well as the lauze roofs. Large openings made it easy to store the hay, while other smaller openings allowed it to be aired. The upper parts of the barns and chalets are often semi-buried to merge into the slope and thus guard against winter avalanches.
Descent of the hayThese old barns were used to store hay for the animals in winter. It was then necessary to wait until the snow was firm enough to be able to come with the help of mules and sledges to take the hay down as far as Bonneval-sur-Arc. Today, now that practices are motorised, the hay is stored directly in agricultural buildings.
- Small heritage
IrrigationA genuine witness to this bygone rural engineering, the channels dug into the slopes would irrigate the hay meadows to promote their yield. Ÿou will be able to see them up the road.
MarmotsBe patient, they are there! If it is not too hot you can see them up the path. These prairie rodents are sometimes a cause for concern for farmers: by digging their burrows, they dig out stones that can cause damage to the cutting bars!
La DuisHere you are at the end of your journey! The Arc begins its course a little higher up in the glacier that you will perceive under the peaks of Levanna, before crossing the whole Maurienne and plunging into the Isère... 120 km lower!