A short excursion alongside the Doron de Bozel
An easy route, ideal for learning the ins-and-outs of e-biking without fear of mishaps: acquaint yourself with the many heritage sites alongside the Doron and saunter through the little streets of Le Villard du Planay in discovery of mountain architecture.
The Doron de Bozel
Hamlet of Le Villard
Villard (860m) is the municipality of Planay’s largest village. Located near Bozel, on the road to Pralognan, it is home to Planay’s services and businesses, including the town hall, school, Galerie Hydraulica (Museum) and a few shops.
For almost a century, Villard lived to the rhythm of a metallurgical and chemical factory provided with raw materials by the area’s mines and quarries, and with energy by 3 hydropower plants (still in operation).
Opened in 1898, the factory enabled the entire valley to carry out its own industrial revolution. By the time it closed in 1984, it had left an indelible mark on the hamlet’s physiognomy. At its centre, the hydropower plants, supplied by penstocks, the first of which was installed in 1900 using a technique similar to the one used for the Eiffel Tower. On either side of the Doron de Champagny, the village’s historical heart, with its characteristic houses closely grouped together around Sainte-Marguerite Chapel. Dedicated to the Patron Saint of women in labour, whose feast day falls on 20 July, the chapel's interior decoration bears witness to the Baroque spirit that pervaded Tarentaise. Below the Pralognan plant, this part of Villard rapidly became home to numbers of Italian, Polish and even Moroccan workers. The workers’ canteen downstream has been turned into housing units and the factory itself has given way to a business park. Finally, at the entrance to the hamlet on the Bozel side, partly sheltered from the bygone factory’s emissions and noise, the old neighbourhood of Ilaz that once accommodated the factory’s engineers stands facing the bourgeois houses of its directors.
Find out more about this industrial and human adventure by paying a visit to Galerie Hydraulica: not to be missed out on in order to better understand the Bozel Valley’s recent history, before the advent of “white gold”!
This interpretation centre focuses on the industrial adventure that drew on the power of water and the tireless work of human hands in order to bring the Bozel Valley into the 20th century.
Located at the foot of one of the largest of the penstocks that capture water from the glaciers, Galerie Hydraulica unveils hydroelectricity’s secrets and industrial applications.
Using interactive scenography further enriched by the memories and testimonies of the valley’s inhabitants, it immerses visitors in the heart of an adventure that provided for an entire valley well before the ski resorts came into being.
Galerie Hydraulica also takes you out of doors along a fun-filled route and theme-based trail, two light-hearted adventures to experience as a family, as well as acquainting you with a site unparalleled anywhere else in Tarentaise: the Ballandaz Gorges. Thrills guaranteed!
You’ll need about half a day to enjoy everything the Galerie has on offer.
During the summer, guided visits on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., audioguided at other times; combined visits including the EDF power plant in July and August.
Family Pass (2 adults and 2 children), for guided and unaccompanied visits.
Family visit: “Yassine’s Secret”, an educational investigation in the village for 6-year-olds and over. “Voltine Counterattack”, treasure hunt on the Ballandaz Gorges route, for 8-year-olds and over.
Open from June to October.
While you’re there, take the opportunity to discover a site like nothing else anywhere in Tarentaise! Continue on along the forest trail to the Ballandaz Gorges, where the full power of mountain water is on view! A promontory overlooking the stream gives you a front-row seat, providing a perfect vantage point to thrill to the spectacular show that nature puts on here. A real treat! Departure from Galerie Hydraulica
Frequented by Brides-les-Bains’ spa clientele and Pralognan’s mountaineers during the Belle Epoque, the site has once again become an attraction for walkers, its wonders forged by the stream. Now that the promontory has been installed and the itinerary secured, 21st-century tourists can discover and rediscover a truly outstanding site.
Sheltered from the heat in high summer, the trail follows the water in all its forms: it may have been tamed for creation of hydroelectricity in the early stages of the journey, but appears indomiable once it reaches the Gorges – the unquestionable highpoint of this itinerary through the foothills of the Dent du Villard. Once you tear yourself away from the Gorges, make your way up a little higher to enjoy a splendid panoramic view over the Bozel Valley: take a short break on one of the benches to admire the landscape and breathe in the tranquillity surrounding you. There are benches along the way and the route has 2 picnic areas, one by an old trip-hammer near a brook and the other just beside Galerie Hydraulica.
A family outing accessible to one and all, and an excellent introduction to Le Planay’s and the Bozel Valley’s natural heritage.
The Cave de Ritort
Sale of Ritord’s own high mountain pasture cheeses (Beaufort, Tomme and Raclette), matured onsite, as well as cheeses by other producers (goat, ewe, etc.).
Open all year round, Tuesdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Hamlet of Les Moulins
Its name bears witness to the mills it accommodated in days gone by, which were provisioned by the stream. The pools that once acted as diversion channels for the stream’s waters still exist. The mills were used to activate the bellows of 3 forges, 2 sawmills, and the millstones of 3 mills (1 communal, 1 for extracting walnut oil and 1 for fulling wool).
The exterior of its chapel, dedicated to Saint Agatha and rebuilt in 1659, is well worth a look, and the remarkable archaeological site of Le Chenêt des Pierres is also nearby. The first pottery dating back to 2500 BC was discovered there in 1909, in a badger’s sett, and is among the oldest traces of civilisation unearthed in Tarentaise.
Follow the green waymarks Le Doron.
E-bike rental shops:
Génération Road Trip (Sport 2000 La Cage O Sport)
Immeuble Les Soldanelles
+33 (4) 79 55 00 39
Espace VTT Bozel
Opening in September 2020.
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.
You can then get a coach to Bozel.
Find out more at: www.transavoie.com
Have you also thought about car sharing?
Access and parking
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