France – Valgaudemar: the French Himalayas

As you would have noticed, Voyagista likes to get out to the mountains to hike. This summer we couldn’t really manage a trip to the Himalayas but instead went to explore a litlle valley in the south part of the French Alps called Valgaudemar. I imagine most of you have never heard of Valgaudemar – where is it? It’s close to Gap (the entrace of the valley is on the Grenoble-Gap road) and it belongs to the Ecrin National Park. It is a deep and narrow valley where you don’t see much sun in the winter time, and which means that it does not attract high levels of tourists. However, it is surrounded by several 3000 meter plus summits that feel so close you want to reach out to touch them, which is why it’s called the French Himalayas!

Faithful to its himalaya-like charateristics, the hiking trails there gain elevation very quickly: it’s very steep right from the start so no time for warming up! But your effort will be fully rewarded by beautiful high altitude landscapes. You are definitely going to feel away from the rush of modern life because there won’t be too many people to share with you the views on Mount Olan and the sunset on the Vallonpierre’s lakeside hut.

Go and visit this little known valley and let us know what you think!

Voyagista’s tips

  • Some information about the area is available here and here (but only in French… google translate, or ask me!)
  • Some one-day/two-day hike recommendations. Those are sporty hikes, so you need to be in reasonable shape
  • The Vallonpierre hut is quite new and very comfortable. It is a good pick for a first hut experience with children.
  • The Gioberney chalet can be reached by car in the summer and is a good place to stay before you start hiking. You can also enjoy a drink on the terrace

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