Le Monal

This is a relatively easy walk as it traverses the mountain side from Sainte Foy resort to the ancient farming hamlet of Le Monal offering stunning views of the Mont Pourri glacier across the valley.

We start off on a track that meanders through the pine trees which offer welcome shade on hot days. We climb steadily but gently until we come out of the trees into the meadows below the hamlet of Echaillon. The Alpine flowers are stunning here, and we get our first clear view across the valley to the Mont Pourri glacier of which we’ve seen tantalising glimpses through the trees lower down. Echaillon is a tiny hamlet of just a handful of houses most of which have an outdoor privy in the garden! There’s a mountain spring from which we fill our water bottles with cool, refreshing mountain spring water.

The path continues through the village to the bridge over the bubbling mountain stream and into the meadows where we get our first glimpse of Le Monal. This is a listed village with its own chapel and authentic Alpine chalets dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Many ancient architectural features have been preserved, including the stone “fridges” – little stone structures built above the streams in which fresh produce was stored to keep it cool. There’s also a dairy which still makes the delicious local Beaufort, Tomme and Persillé cheeses in the traditional way.

We usually indulge in a platter of local cheese and charcuterie accompanied by freshly baked baguette washed down with a cool glass of Apremont (the local white wine) at the refuge before making our way back down the mountain.

The ancient farming hamlet of Le Monal

Chapelle Saint Clair at Le Monal

Beautiful alpine meadows

 

Vallon de la Sassière

This magical place is where we go for our sunrise yoga practice. It’s a hanging valley above the Lac de Chevril with views across to the Grand Motte glacier at Tignes. We drive up the narrow winding road high above the lake to reach the start of the walk into the hanging valley. We watch the dawn slowly break as we take our silent walk to the very edge of the Lac de la Sassiere where we hold our sunrise yoga practice. It’s such a magical place to practice. Really peaceful at that early hour, and the moment when the sun rises above the mountains and bathes us in it’s golden light is unmissable. After our practice, and restorative picnic brunch, we search for the Edelweiss flowers that grow beside the lake before making our way back down the mountain in the growing warmth of the sunshine.

Sunrise yoga beside the Lac de la Sassiere

Happy yogis !

Edelweiss flowers grow by the lake

The Vallon de la Sassière is a marmotte sanctuary

 

Montseti Ridge and Lac Noir

This stunning walk climbs up from the Vallon du Mercuel, over the Montseti Ridge and down into the Vallon du Charvet on the other side. A refreshing dip in Lac Noir near the top of the climb is very welcome on hot days, as are the chilled drinks in the Refuge du Ruitor close to the finish.

 

A refreshing dip in Lac Noir before starting the descent

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