Along the River Isère between woodland and picturesque villages
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Along the River Isère between woodland and picturesque villages
BOURG-SAINT-MAURICE

Along the River Isère between woodland and picturesque villages

Architecture
Geology
History
Pastoralism
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An enjoyable, varied route combining the river with heritage and culinary art.
This is a wonderful trail, enjoyable and varied, running along the main greenway in the Tarentaise area, on the banks of the Isère. The route can be taken in both directions, so setting off from either Aime or Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Between the two municipalities, observe the meanders and life of the river, which is popular with canoeists and rafting enthusiasts, and why not stop in at the Versants d'Aime leisure centre, for a swim or some thrills in the treetops with Accro-branche! For heritage lovers, the route takes you through villages boasting churches, chapels and captivating little streets. Midway along, you'll reach the traditional hamlet of La Chal, the highest point of your route. A glorious haven of peace, this hamlet also has an eco-museum, the Maison de la pomme, where you can explore the local history of orchards and the traditional uses made of apples.

17 points of interest
History

Pont des Raves bridge (white water centre)

In the olden days, turnips used to be grown in the village of La Ravoire, and in 1850 there was such a bumper harvest that, to make a bit of money, one villager decided to go to the Bourg-Saint-Maurice market to sell his produce. A wooden footbridge over the River Isère had to be crossed, but this was so rickety that it collapsed under the weight of the heavy load. Thankfully the villager wasn't injured, but all of his cargo was lost, and the French word for turnips, raves, stuck.
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Architecture

Saint-Martin de Tours Church

Rebuilt between 1681 and 1694, the church in Hauteville-Gondon, dedicated to St Martin of Tours, is decorated with colourful 17th century altarpieces. The high altar may be the handiwork of Valsesian sculptor Joseph-Marie Martel. The last restoration phase (which lasted more than 5 years) particularly saw the original colours being restored to one of the altarpieces, the painted décor of a draped cloth crowning the Rosary altarpiece (listed as a Historical Monument) refreshed, the 19th century painted décor of all of the vaulting restored and its original décor enhanced, including the strikingly colourful motifs in raised stucco on the keystones. Previously completely hidden from view, their restoration bestows special status on this church, since they are not found in any of the other Baroque churches in Savoie.
Guided tours and opening times: enquiries at the tourist offices of Bourg-Saint-Maurice / Les Arcs.

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History

Hauteville-Gondon village

Located downstream of Bourg-Saint-Maurice, on the left bank of the River Isère, Hauteville-Gondon was an independent municipality until 1964. Its name perhaps comes from the Latin expression alta villa (meaning high estate), since the main town was built on a promontory particularly to protect itself if the Isère broke its banks.
The name Gondon, meanwhile, comes from a village, and was added to Hauteville at some unknown stage.
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History

Village of La Chal

The village's name is believed to come from the Latin term calmis, which means meadow or pasture. With its local farmland, the village of La Chal is a striking example of how mountain hamlets long used to be organised. It is built upon a very small, sloping plot of land, giving precedence to farmland where multiple crops are grown alongside grazing livestock. The houses are almost all adjoining and built one above the other up steeply rising lanes.
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Small heritage

St Grat's Chapel

Built in the mid 17th century, the chapel is dedicated to St Gratus, Bishop of Aosta, who is the patron saint of harvests. It does not have an altarpiece, but boasts a central painting featuring several patron saints. The chapel is often closed, but you can still glimpse the interior through two small windows.
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Know-how

Maison de la pomme

Find out all about the know-how that has been cultivated here around apples: from grafting to cider, in keeping with tradition, to perpetuate old orchards and varieties.
Free: enquiries in the tourist offices of Bourg-Saint-Maurice / Les Arcs.
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Know-how

A footpath worth getting your teeth into!

Between Grand Gondon and Landry, head out along the Sentier des vergers (orchards' trail), specifically between the Saint-Pantaléon and La Ballastière orchards. Fruit trees have been grown in Tarentaise for centuries, and the "meadow-orchard" tradition enabled a unique combination between fruit and livestock grazing. Apples and pears were grown near hamlets where the individual plots, with four or five trees in each, grouped together to form the patchwork "meadow-orchard" landscape where grass and fruit were nurtured side by side. The fruit was harvested in early October, before the cowherds and cows came back down from the highland pastures and montagnettes, small seasonal settlements. Once the cows were back, they could graze without the risk of choking on a fallen fruit. This system was also a natural way of fertilising the soil. The orchards were thus all planted in the open field with fairly high branches so as to allow the herds to roam around freely.
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Know-how

La Ballastière repository orchard

A new type of orchard well worth exploring and experiencing on a tour of this scenic complex, located on a hillock overlooking the River Isère. Easy 600m walk with explanatory panels (30 mins) telling you about the different stages in an orchard's life cycle. Picnic tables available.
With the help of the association "les croqueurs de pommes de Tarentaise Beaufortain", the municipality of Bourg-Saint-Maurice established this orchard to help safeguard a number of old fruit tree varieties in our region.

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Small heritage

St Nicolas' Church

The first records found of the parish of Macot date from 1096.
Its church underwent major repair work in 1475 and 1511. It was even completely rebuilt in 1676 by the same master builders who built Aime's church (labour and materials cost 2,700 florin coins).
Like other churches dating back to this time in Tarentaise, it comprises three naves and bays as well as a chancel with a rectangular chevet. The bell tower lost its top during the French Revolution in 1794, but was rebuilt in keeping with the original architecture: bulbous roof topped with two successive lanterns, each crowned with an onion-shaped dome.

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Small heritage

St Sébastien's Chapel

This chapel dates back to 1628. It is believed to have been built thanks to the generosity of the village's prominent figures. It is often called "Chapelle de la Salette" after the statue of the Virgin of La Salette inside (donated by a village local). Notre-Dame de La Salette is how Catholics refer to the Virgin Mary when she apparently appeared before two children on 19 September 1846 above the village of La Salette-Fallavaux, near Corps, in the Isère département (just south of here).
St Sebastian, meanwhile, was called on to heal leprosy and plague, an outbreak of which ravaged the municipality. The great plague epidemic hit many households here, such that by 1348 there were only seven cottages left in Sangot that asked to join Macot. Since then, Macot and Sangot have formed the same municipality.

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Small heritage

Saint-Martin La Plagne Basilica

Built on the foundations of a Roman classical (i.e. non-religious) basilica dating back to the 11th century, this building contains 12th and 13th century frescoes, a crypt and an exhibition space.
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Pastoralism

Le Canton d'Aime Beaufort Cooperative

The Canton d'Aime's Neige & Soleil dairy cooperative and maturing cooperative are both located in the same building. Between them, they turn more than two million litres of milk into Beaufort cheese! This is a seasonal activity: in the summer, the cooperative stops the cheese-making process and delivers the milk to member farmer groups who make summer Beaufort cheese.
669, Avenue de Tarentaise 73210 AIME
TEL.: +33 (0)4.79.55.61.68
www.jaimelebeaufort.fr

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Small heritage

Saint-Eustache de Villaroland Chapel

It is not known exactly when the chapel of Villaroland was founded, perhaps in the late 12th century or the 14th century. It bears architectural features that are characteristic of Romanesque art, you see: a single pointed barrel-arch nave and a semi-dome apse like the chapels of Saint Pierre d’Extravache or L’Écot, near Bonneval-sur-Arc in Maurienne. It is not possible to pinpoint an exact date from these elements, however. With no precise date for describing this as a "Romanesque chapel", we will make do with calling it a chapel of "Romanesque tradition".
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Know-how

E-bike rental: Bike Surgery

E-bike rental:

Bike Surgery

8 place Joux
73210 AIME
(Next to the church)

+33 (0)4 57 37 69 95

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Small heritage

St Sigismond’s Church

This church particularly pays tribute to St Gratus, who is commonly invoked to help with harvests.
The 17th century building has retained some 15th century features, not least the ogee arches above the side entrance door. The main entrance in grey Villette marble is directly inspired by the principles laid down by F. Cuenot in his 1660 book.
The trompe-l’œil vault paintings by the three Artari brothers at the turn of the 19th century depict the four great prophets of the Old Testament, the evangelists and the four Fathers of the Latin church.
Jean-Baptiste Delponte rebuilt the high altar in 1815 on the basis of elements that escaped destruction during the French Revolution with, in the middle, a Nativity of the Virgin painted by Tosi. Two wreathed columns adorned with vine branches and wild roses frame the main scene, which is flanked by St Peter and St Paul.
The second strip celebrates St Gratus and St Roch, who are often called on to intervene in times of harvest and plague, St James and St Francis-de-Sales.
The six altarpieces of the side aisles are neoclassical restorations. In 1705, Pierre Chanu sculpted the choir stalls and preacher’s pulpit.

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Water

Les Versants d'Aime Leisure Centre

When you reach the end of your itinerary, take a break at the lake. With its 1.3 hectares set in the midst of a haven of greenery, the site has been awarded the “Pavillon Bleu” (Blue Flag) Label for its excellent environmental quality. You can bathe there in the summer and enjoy a whole range of activities (including petanque, basketball, children’s playground and aquabubbling). There’s also a restaurant onsite with a shaded terrace.
Free admission
Open from 15 May to 1 October
Lifeguard on duty during the summer from 12 noon to 6 p.m.
Tel: 04 79 55 40 27
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Pastoralism

The dairy cooperative

The cooperative in Bourg Saint Maurice brings together 52 producers who are wholeheartedly committed to making AOP (protected designation of origin) Beaufort cheese.
One of the Cooperative’s buildings is entirely given over to showcasing this outstanding cheese with an exhibition area, shop and tasting area.
You’ll gain an insight into the long-standing history of this cheese. A few dates at a glance: Back in Roman times, Pliny praised the different cheeses from Tarentaise and extolled the quality of the dairy cows. In the 19th century, agriculture and livestock rearing were still the main sources of livelihood for communities in the Haute-Tarentaise Valley. In 1888, the Herd-book of the Tarine breed was compiled (official description of the characteristics of cow breeds). In 1894, a cheese-dairy school was founded in Bourg Saint Maurice to train students in the cheese-making trade. In each hamlet and in the village, livestock rearers grouped together to establish these cheese dairies, or fruitières, as they are known, to make cheese. The French name refers to the fruit of the common labour of a village or hamlet. From 1960 to 1964, an economic recession set in and agricultural produce struggled to sell. From 1964, part of the village’s cheese dairies closed and the whole of the municipality’s production was centralised at the main village’s cheese dairy, which was named Coopérative laitière de Haute-Tarentaise. It obtained the controlled designation of origin (now the AOP) for its Beaufort in 1968.
Free, unaccompanied tours of the site during the shop’s opening hours.
Tel.: +33 (0)4 79 07 08 28
fromagebeaufort.fr

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Description

Whether setting off from Aime or Bourg Saint Maurice, you'll alternate between the greenway and quiet roads between the hamlets. Midway along, why not stop in at the Versants d'Aime leisure centre for a swim or some thrills in the treetops with Accro-branche! Or simply unwind with an ice cream on the terrace. Once past Bourg-Saint-Maurice you'll leave the greenway behind as you make your way towards the traditional hamlet of La Chal, the highest point of your route. Please beware that the descent from La Chal is a little more technical over 100m.

Follow the blue waymarks: Au fil de l'Isère.

E-bike rental shops: 

GRAVITY LAB
297 Av. Marechal Leclerc
73700 Bourg Saint Maurice
+33 (0)4-79-40-05-54

Intersport Bourg Saint Maurice
Zone commerciale de Super U
73700 Bourg Saint Maurice
+33 (0)4 79 04 04 30

Laboshop Bourg Saint Maurice
avenue du stade
73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice
+33 (0)4 79 07 07 61

PRECISION SKI Mountain Tribu
43 Place de la Gare
73700 Bourg Saint Maurice
+33 (0)4 58 14 04 44

Departure : Place de la gare (in front of the station) - 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice Place de l'église (in front of the church)- 73210 Aime
Arrival : Place de la gare (in front of the station) - 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice Place de l'église (in front of the church)- 73210 Aime
Towns crossed : BOURG-SAINT-MAURICE, LANDRY, LA PLAGNE TARENTAISE, AIME-LA-PLAGNE

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

Rando Vanoise has been designed to help you pick and choose your outings, but cannot be held liable where they are concerned. The mountain offers up a wide range of routes and trails for cyclists of all levels, but remember, it is a living, unpredictable environment and it is important that you head out suitably equipped. Ask advice from cycle rental operators.
If in doubt, you can take an introductory lesson in how to ride an electric bike with an instructor.

If you see a herd ahead, slow down and go round it. If there is a patou, a guard dog, climb down from your bike and walk, pushing it alongside you. Avoid making any sudden or aggressive gestures towards the dog and move away from the herd slowly and calmly. The dog will only be checking that you do not pose a threat to its herd. Respect the parkland and close gates behind you after you've gone through them.

The mountain is living, please respect it by staying on the paths and tracks.

Information desks

Place de la Gare<br>73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice,

http://www.lesarcs.com

contact@lesarcs.com

04 79 07 12 57


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BP 62<br>73211 Aime-la-Plagne,

http://www.la-plagne.com

04 79 09 02 01


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Transport

Train services run as far as Bourg-Saint-Maurice, or you can get off at Aime La Plagne.
Find out more at: www.oui.sncf.com
Have you also thought about car sharing.

Access and parking

From Moûtiers, take the RN90 road to Aime or Bourg Saint Maurice.

Parking :

Bourg Saint Maurice: Arc-en-Ciel car park (free) located behind the station (opposite the marshland, start of the greenway) Aime

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