Tour of Tête Noire and Lac de la Partie
Tour of Tête Noire and Lac de la Partie
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It is with some regret that we leave the captivating and serene Orgère valley, but you will be even more amazed by its splendour as you climb up the valley. Ÿou will quickly find yourself immersed in the surrounding summits, the view of the Chavière glaciers and the discovery of Lac de la Partie, nestled at the foot of the Aiguille Doran. Dazzled by the different perspectives, you will slowly descend to the hamlet of Polset, before taking advantage of a shady path that gently leads you back to Orgère.
"From Orgère car park, go down the road to the refuge and take the trail on your right signposted by the Park. Climb through a wooded combe to reach the ruins of Estiva. Continue north via a gentler terraced path. Arrive at a recently restored calade and follow this gently sloping paved trail. Arrive once again at a quieter relief, cross an area of scree before reaching a crossroads. On your right, below is Lac de la Partie. To go back down, reach this crossing and follow the signs for ""Hameau de Polset"". Once at the hamlet, cross it following a track, then before the track makes a first turn, take the route for Refuge de l’Orgère. Enter the forest before crossing a road and continue to follow the sign marked ""l´Orgére"" for the return."
- Departure : Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget
- Arrival : Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget
- Towns crossed : VILLARODIN-BOURGET and MODANE
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.
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.
Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget
Two disabled parking spaces, Refuge-Porte de l´Orgère certified “Accessible Tourism” for the 4 types of disability.
Emergency number :114
10 points of interest
L'Estiva"Situated just above the forest boundary, the ruins of ""L´Estiva"", testament of former pastoral activity, offer a breathtaking view of the whole valley of Maurienne and the valley of l’Orgère."
Sheep on the summer pasturesDuring the summer grazing period you will be able to see the sheep on the alpine pastures. This ancient pastoralism, evident in the stone ruins still standing in Estiva, still continues today. These flocks of sheep, reared by farmers in the valley, gradually climb from the village of Villarodin-Bourget by following the evolution of the growing grass.
The ovine breed Thônes and MarthodAfter a sharp decline, local breeding began to recover at the end of the 20th century, thanks in particular to the Thônes and Marthod breed. This breed, with its curly wool, well-developed horns in both sexes and the black outlined eyes and ears, is easy to recognise. This sheep is remarkably adapted to the alpine pastures of southern Savoy. Although its origins are ancient, it dœs not seem to have spread from its original pre-alpine birthplace. Its hardiness, its excellent fertility and its good milking aptitude undoubtedly explain this renewed interest.
The wheatearA small sparrow characteristic of the alpine grasslands, the northern wheatear is easy to recognise by its white rump and its tail with an inverted black T. The rest of the male’s plumage is grey, white and ochre, while the female is uniform beige. Often perched on a rock, it alerts its presence with a “wit wit” or “chac chac”. This is a migratory bird that only inhabits the Vanoise during the summer months before crossing the Sahara to spend the winter in Equatorial Africa.
The calade made with the Lycée Professionnel des Métiers de la Montagne.This portion of the trail, whose work was completed in 2013, is the fruit of a valuable collaboration between the Park workers and the “Lycée professionnel des métiers de la montagne” (vocational school of mountain trades) of Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. For three years, the pupils of this school, supervised by the workers, used the ancestral techniques of the calade to refurbish a portion of the trail that the particularly unstable terrain was damaging each year.
Lac de la PartieSmall shallow lake with glints of green at altitude, the Lac de la Partie undoubtedly originates in the rocky mounds which dominate to the south. This old rockslide has blocked the stream that flows in the base of the valley and still feeds the lake.
The marmotBelonging to the squirrel family, marmots occupy the mountain pastures in small family groups. Ÿou can observe them eating as, having become accustomed to passing hikers, they are not timid. Ÿou can hear their shrill screams echoing in the mountain as they alert their fellow-mates to the presence of any predators. Marmots are born in June in the shelter of their family burrow. It’s only in July that you will be able to see them.
TranshumanceIn summer, this part of the valley is occupied by a herd of more than 1,000 merino sheep. Unlike the herds that inhabit the valley of Orgère and Estiva, this herd spends the winter on the pastures of Crau in the Bouches-du-Rhône and it is only from June that it returns to the Alps and gradually climbs from the hamlet of Polset to graze on the alpine pastures.
The cattle rests"Called ""cattle rests"", these grounds where the herds are stationed are greatly enriched with nitrates by the animal excrement. Often located near a shepherd´s hut, they have a dense, exuberant and sparsely varied vegetation, composed mainly of alpine docks. This nitrophilous plant (which likes nitrate) is also called ""monk’s rhubarb""."
The guard dogThe natural return of the wolf has wreaked havoc on pastoral practices. In order to protect their flocks, breeders have put in place protective measures: the presence of a shepherd to monitor the sheep as well as the establishment of enclosures. To complete this measure, Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (Patous), used secularly, have been reintroduced to the mountain pastures. The word patou designates the dog’s protective role and not its race. The dogs generally used are Pyrenean Mountain Dogs. The patou protects the herd against everything he considers a predator, one of which is the wolf.