Retrouvance trek: Buëch and Dévoluy (Hautes-Alpes)

Duration : 6 days

France, Southern Alps

Level : intermediate

from 710 € / p. from 5 to 13 persons

Infos & Booking

Description

Throughout this Retrouvance stay in the Buëch and Dévoluy, I propose to you to leave in roaming in the Hautes-Alpes on the traces of the disappeared villages.

A real island between the Southern Alps and Provence, this route, the first "Retrouvance" in France, will make you discover wild territories. The sources of the Buëch and the foothills of the Dévoluy offer a great variety of landscapes that still bear many historical traces: prehistory, ancient convents, abandoned villages, forestry plantations... Today, these mountains, abandoned by men in the 19th century, then reforested by the state, constitute a vast space where wild nature has regained its place.

The ONF (National Forest Office) also opens its immense state forests to you: you will be lodged in isolated and restored old forest houses, in the heart of old mountain villages in ruins with moving stories.

This hiking tour combines comfort and authenticity: you will walk light without carrying a heavy backpack. In addition to the mountain leader, a logistician will also be present on the entire route. This steward will carry your luggage from lodge to lodge, will look for meals at the local farms and inns, will prepare the house, the table and the meal, will clean the house at our departure, etc. Even the drinks will be chilled in the fountain when you arrive from your day's walk... a comfort appreciated by all!

This unknown region with its surprising limestone landscapes is also a naturalist's paradise: chamois, mouflons, deer, wolves, golden eagles and flowers unique in the world are waiting for you.

The trail winds through gorges along the Petit Buëch torrent, leads to the ruins of the old Berthaud Monastery, visits dark and mysterious beech forests, allows the observation of chamois in the immense Bure cirque and mouflons on the heights of the Chaudun cirque, offers a picnic with your feet in the water of the Béoux torrent, passes through the ruins of the old village of La Cluse, crosses the balcony between the passes of Matacharre and Conode, climbs to the fountain of the "vallon" before reaching the mineral world of the Aurouze plateau and finishing at the foot of the Pic de Bure, the highest limestone cliff in Europe with its 700 meters of verticality.

You will walk between 11 and 19 kilometers per day, that is to say 5 to 7 hours of walking. The daily positive difference in altitude is between 500 and 960 meters, except on the fourth day if you climb the Pic de Bure (1650m).

Three wellness massages are offered to you (in supplement) by Agnès of "L'escapade Sensorielle" in the forest houses of Agnielles and Sauvas.
Ideal complement to your sporting activity, they are associated with essential oils and allow a perfect muscular recovery. Your choice :

  • Sports recovery massage (back and legs).
    Duration: 45 minutes / Price: 45€.
  • Discovery massage for sports relaxation (back or legs).
    Duration: 30 minutes / Price: 35€.
  • Chinese foot reflexology.
    Duration : 45 minutes / Price : 50€.

Don't forget to book with your guide or the logistician at the beginning of your stay.

If you have other desires, I also propose throughout the summer:

Program

D1: Veynes train station - Agnielles.
Meeting at 2.15pm at the Veynes-Dévoluy train station, dressed and ready to hike.
From the center of Veynes, a small path that used to be a mule track goes up the slopes of the Grésière in a Provencal environment. The path is lined with broom, thyme and Aphyllanthe de Montpelier. At the pass of Bertaud, you switch to the forest of Durbon and join the hamlet of Agnielles by an easy descent.
Installation, dinner, night and breakfast in the forest house of Agnielles, building of the XVIth/ XVIIth century located in the heart of an abandoned village. Perched at an altitude of 1030 meters, Agnielles still had a hundred inhabitants at the beginning of the 20th century.
The meals are prepared by the restaurant "Le Cytise" in La Faurie.
Positive altitude difference: 620 meters, negative altitude difference: 390 meters, estimated duration: 5 hours, 11 km.

D2: Loop around Agnielles.
You take some height to reach the panoramic summit of Aup. From these mountain pastures the view on the summits of Dévoluy and Baronnies is amazing. This wild area is rich in fauna with deer, chamois, eagles and wolves.
Dinner, night and breakfast in the forest house of Agnielles.
Meals are prepared by the restaurant "Le Cytise" in La Faurie.
D+: 960m, D-: 960m, estimated duration: 6.5 hours, 14 km.

D3: Agnielles - Rabioux.
Today you climb the Lauteret pass, an ancestral access path of the Dévoluy. The flocks frequent the area and the griffon vultures make it a privileged place of passage. Coming down from the pass by a path winding through the mountain pastures, the view is splendid on the biggest scree of Europe!
Installation, dinner, night and breakfast in the forest house of Rabioux nestled at 1240 meters of altitude.
Meals are prepared by the restaurant "Le rendez-vous gourmand" in Veynes.
D+: 840m, D-: 650m, estimated duration: 7 hours, 15km.

D4: Rabioux - Les Sauvas.
Access to Les Sauvas by the Vallon fountain. You are now in the kingdom of marmots and chamois.
Installation, dinner, night and breakfast in the old hamlet of Les Sauvas (1343 meters of altitude) which belonged to the Chartreuse de Durbon until the revolution. Today, a bread oven, two buildings used as group lodgings, stables and the forest house offer an unforgettable welcome in the heart of the magnificent natural cirque of Bure.
Meals are prepared by the restaurant "Le Rendez-vous gourmand" in Veynes.
The sporty variant (optional depending on weather conditions) is the emblematic ascent of the Southern Alps: the Pic de Bure and its 2705 meters! The ascent takes place in a mineral universe between spectacular scree and lunar plateau. The summit offers one of the most beautiful panorama on the Southern Alps.
D+: 750m, D-: 620m, estimated time: 5.5 hours, 12 km.

D5: Les Sauvas - Chaudun.
This is perhaps the most varied stage through the passes of Matacharre and Conode, the chapel of La Crotte, through melezins, alpine pastures and always under the impressive and prestigious pillar of Bure. The access to the ruined village of Chaudun is through the gorges of the Petit Buëch. Passage through the Bois du Chapitre, a forest listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its remarkable trees and its rich fauna and flora.
Installation, dinner, night and breakfast in a superb forest house of Chaudun perched at more than 1300 meters of altitude.
Meals are served by the restaurant of the "Centre d'Oxygénation" of the Bayard pass.
D+: 820m, D-: 850m, estimated duration: 8 hours, 19km.

D6: Chaudun - Rabou.
The day begins with the passage to the sources of the Petit Buëch, in the heart of the cirque of Chaudun. You will observe mouflons and marmots before reaching the picturesque village of Rabou by the pass of Chabanottes.
End of the stay around 4.30pm.
A mini-bus will bring you back to the train station of Veynes.
A variant is possible adding 1 hour of walking to reach Rabou by a mule track making a passage through the cliffs. This imposing passage used daily by the letter carrier in the 19th century will leave you an unforgettable memory.
D+: 500m, D-: 600m, estimated duration: 4.5 hours, 10 km.

Important: the mountain leader can modify the itineraries according to the weather and/or terrain conditions and/or the level of the group. The itineraries will remain more or less the same, but there are loopholes/variants that allow you to shorten or lengthen the days.

The price includes

  • Supervision by the mountain leader.
  • Presence of a logistician for the transport of luggage, the opening and closing of the lodges and the preparation of meals.
  • Full board for 5 nights/6 days (picnic lunch included) from dinner on the 1st day to the picnic lunch on the 6th day.
  • Drinks and snacks.
  • Tourist taxes.

The price does not include

  • Insurance.
  • Transport to and from Veynes, 30 minutes drive from Gap and 1.5 hour from Grenoble.
  • Massages offered by " L'Escapade Sensorielle ".
  • Personal expenses.
  • Anything not mentioned in "The price includes".

Accommodation

  • Accommodation is provided in forest houses, located in old villages that have disappeared, in the heart of the state forests. Their interior layout allows groups of hikers to make comfortable stops.
  • They are all independent and self-sufficient in electrical energy. This energy production is provided either by pico power plants or by photovoltaic panels. The recharging of your electrical appliances will be almost impossible (telephone, batteries for lamps, camera, etc.). In these houses there is no wifi and little telephone network.
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Infos & Booking