Loop of Lac Blanc
Walking hike
Loop of Lac Blanc

Loop of Lac Blanc

Lake and glacier
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Easy loop offering exceptional views of the Dent Parrachée, the Vanoise glaciers and plunging perspectives over the gorges of Doron de Termignon.
Clear skies, beautiful morning. The trail on the slope rises gently towards Lac Blanc, the resounding and rhythmic song of the partridges accompanying me. Once at the lake, I sit down. The magic of the first rays of the sun will soon shine on the summit of the Parrachée. Its artful face is revealed little by little. I’ll have to wait a while for the sun to warm my back but everything is set and the day can start! Laurent Perier-Muzet, Vanoise National Park ranger

13 points of interest

The rock partridge

Of the family of pheasants, the largest of the partridges is a typical mountain bird that inhabits the often steep slopes at over 1,000 m in altitude. The Vanoise is one of the reference sites where numbers are monitored. Open your eyes and ears and it may well be in the vicinity of the path. It sings mostly at dawn and dusk, a resounding, rhythmic and squeaking song. The rock partridge cries, clucks, chuckles, calls and recalls.
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Gentiana utriculosa

This small deep blue flower favours the light and nutrient-poor soil. It is therefore most likely to be seen at the bends of the trail...
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View over Lac du Lait

A high-altitude lake surmounted by a summit. Classic mountain landscape shaped by glaciers. To the right of the photograph is the glacier of Belle Place which left its traces as it descended from the eastern side of the Dent Parrachée. A glacier which has now reduced to a few metres in thickness. The last great ice age of the Würm covered the entire Vanoise and descended from Mont Blanc to Lyons. It is therefore difficult to establish the exact origins of Lac du Lait. But its age is certain: the lake is precisely 12,000 years old, as established by analysing the pollen taken from peat. What we have here is the only real peat bog currently known in the heart of the Vanoise National Park. It draws another part of its originality from its exceptionally high altitude for this type of environment. At more than 2,200 metres, the basin dug out by ice was filled with water after their retreat and a wetland was created. This has now closed imperceptibly, filled with vegetation that eliminates the water. It is, in some way, the last stage of this lake’s evolution, the twilight of its life.

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Lac du Lait

This lake is the seat of a sphagnum bog and shelters some interesting species rarely seen at this altitude of 2,380 m, such as the grass snake or the white-faced darter, a dragonfly that is present only at altitude.
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Lac Blanc

This lake, due to the highly impermeable bedrock, is mainly fed by runoff water. It cascades in to the Doron gorges 400 metres below. As you approach the shore, you may be lucky enough to see a bearded vulture, the largest of the European birds of prey. A couple nest in these gorges, a little further upstream. Get the binoculars out!
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The Dent Parrachée

The east face of the second summit of Vanoise (3,697 m in altitude) stands before you. It inspires mountaineers every year to climb it to enjoy one of the most stunning views of the Alps. Unfortunately, the ascent has also had its fair share of tragic accidents reminding us that man must remain humble in the face of nature. All paths have their difficulties in climbing, including the route classified as least difficult but it dœs follow a very beautiful, snowy and sometimes airy rocky ridge.
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The Vanoise Glaciers

Stretching to the north of the Dent Parrachée are the Vanoise glaciers, formed across 13 km by multiple domes which include Génépy, Arpont, Nants, Chasseforêt and Sonnailles. The crossing of the Vanoise glaciers is renowned for its beauty and the panoramic view it offers! Above 3,000 m, much of the precipitation is in the form of snow. The accumulating snow is packed and transformed from a light layer with a density of less than 100 g per litre, which then turns to a hard compact snow cover that, when it dœsn’t melt in summer, turns into névé which becomes five times denser. If, after years of accumulation, the névé persists, the snow hardens again, pressing out all trapped air to become bright, transparent ice with a density of 900 g per litre.
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Refuge du Lac Blanc

Need a stop? The Refuge du Lac Blanc welcomes you for a drink and dessert. Try their delicious small dishes or their homemade blueberry pie. If you feel compelled to prolong your mountain break, stay the night and enjoy the great spectacle before falling asleep and wake up to the Parrachée.
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The flowering meadows of Lac Blanc

These meadows, rich in biodiversity, are essential for breeders, enabling them to provide for their animals during the winter while producing high-quality fodder which directly affects the quality of milk. It is therefore vital to respect them and not deviate from the path especially before mowing around the 1st of August. Wild boar occasionally climb up to this point and damage the meadows by turning them over in search of food. If this is a cost for farmers who have to restore it to its original state, it is also the price they pay for their quality!
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The hamlet of Chavière

The hamlet of Chavière, once occupied only in summer by inhabitants of Termignon, regroups 14 buildings. The salt and cheese road passes through the hamlet, forming “an avenue” in the hamlet, which is exceptional at this altitude and for purely seasonal use.
The heritage value of this rural architecture is remarkable. Unfortunately, the current neglect of the buildings is contributing to their state of ruin.
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View over the mountain pasture hamlet of Glière

The hamlet of Chavière looks out over the Arc valley. Turn your back perpendicular to the slope to protect yourself from avalanches. Against the snow, turns, ditches and embankments complement each other but there soon might be not much to protect, because the hamlet of Chavière, one of the most beautiful of the Vanoise massif and the most representative of alpine hamlets, has been abandoned for several years and is on the brink of ruin. Roofs and walls are at risk of collapse. The town of Termignon and the Vanoise National Park have been trying for several years to convince the many co-owners of this heritage of the merits of a restoration project but it has so far been in vain. Everything here testifies to the density of the past: the stones and rocks in the foreground are the remnants of the low walls that bordered the old mule track of the Col de la Vanoise, an old salt and cheese road, which links Entre-Deux-Eaux and Pralognan-la-Vanoise.

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The Chapel of Sainte-Marguerite

This chapel dates back to the 15th century and was renovated in 1987. It is dedicated to Sainte-Marguerite d´Antioche, who protects the hamlet of Chavière and the surrounding alpine pastures. The third century saint freed herself from a dragon, the Demon himself, by piercing it from the inside with the aid of a cross and thus naturally became the holy protector… of pregnant women! She was then invoked when women were giving birth in the alpine pastures.
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Small heritage

The oratories of Sainte-Antoine

Ÿou will meet 3 oratories dedicated to Saint-Antoine, a hermit and protector of donkeys and mules. The 1st oratory, dating from 1973, was the year in which the road was created. The second, dating a priori to the Italian occupation, was already known on the Sarde map in 1728, and was rebuilt in 2005. The third oratory is a rock crevice which has not been dated. Sainte-Antoine has some distinctive characteristics, a cow bell and the Tau des Antonins (T-shaped cross).
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From Coétet car park, take the trail in the direction of Lac Blanc walking alongside the slope. Once you arrive at Lac Blanc, you can either walk around it (in about 1/2 hour), or to go directly to the Refuge du Lac Blanc to take the track to the Bellecombe car park. Then follow the signs to the hamlet of Chavière. The path descends gently to the Coêtet car park.
  • Departure : Coêtet car park, Termignon
  • Arrival : Coêtet car park, Termignon
  • Towns crossed : VAL-CENIS

Altimetric profile


Don’t leave the path
Is in the midst of the park
The national park is an unrestricted natural area but subjected to regulations which must be known by all visitors.

Information desks

Maison de la Vanoise<br>Place de la Vanoise<br>Termignon<br>73500 Val-Cenis,



04 79 05 99 06 / 04 79 05 99 10

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Vanoise Information Desk - Termignon

Place Vanoise, 73500 Termignon


04 79 20 51 67

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Rail connection to Modane. Information: www.voyages-sncf.com
Then transport by coach to the administrative centre of Termignon. Information: www.transavoie.com
Then free shuttle bus Termignon-Bellecombe, from July to August and the weekends from 15th June to 14th September.
(Possibility to walk to Lac Blanc from Bellecombe car park).
Suggested hitchhiking organised in the Haute-Maurienne valley. Information: www.rezopouce.fr

Access and parking

From the Maison de la Vanoise to Termignon, take the D 1006 to the top of the valley. In the first hairpin bend on the right, take the D 126 on the left towards Bellecombe car park. Stop 9 km further up at the Coétet car park.

Parking :

Coêtet car park, Termignon


The trail is not adapted
Emergency number :114

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