Many more iDeas to blow your mind: Le Dévoluy and its sourroundings must-sees
What's to discover in Le Dévoluy
The Pic de Bure and its observatory
The panoramic views offered by the 2,709-metre high Pic de Bure summit are well worth making the trip for: in good weather, you'll be able to enjoy views over the Écrins and Vercors massifs, and to the south, the Lubéron mountains!
Perched at an altitude of 2,550 metres, the Plateau de Bure shelters an observatory which gathers radio wave information. Ten huge "metal sunflowers" stand there, like something straight out of a science fiction movie. These ten 15-metre-wide antennas belong to the Pic de Bure observatory, NOEMA, built in 1977 by the IRAM (Institute of Millimetric Radio Astronomy) and operational since 1981. The observatory is not open to visitors.
Le Col du Noyer, between Le Dévoluy and the Champsaur valley
The picturesque route linking the Champsaur valley to Saint-Étienne-en-Dévoluy reaches its highest point at an altitude of 1,664 metres, and is only open for a few months a year. It was made in 1850 out of the mule track which was once one of the most well-used routes into Le Dévoluy. The Col du Noyer mountain shelter was inaugurated in 1858. The Col owes its name to Napoléon who, to thank the population of the Hautes-Alpes for welcoming him on his return from the Isle of Elba, left a tidy sum to the department which would later be used to build mountain shelters on difficult-to-access passes.
The Col summit offers breath-taking panoramic views with, on one side, Le Dévoluy's arid ridges and, on the other, the large Drac Valley inlaid with farmlands.
On the 14th of July 2010, the Tour de France passed through Le Dévoluy, via the Col du Noyer, and the whole day was an enormous success!
The Gorges des Étroits
The south-facing site of Les Étroits located at the entrance of the village of Saint-Étienne-en-Dévoluy is a remarkable climbing site. Admire the magnificent, deep and extraordinary cleft (40 to 60 metres deep, and only 2 metres wide at some points) the river has carved into the rock. Slabs, clefts, overhangs, from 3a to 7b, this anchored cliff-face offers climbers a wide range of options, not to forget its ideal introductory routes that will stretch your children’s legs.
A via ferrata has been created at the heart of the canyon… This 1,300-metre long route is open to everyone. More than 50 metres above the Souloise river, a 14-metre rope bridge lets you cross from one side to another.
Mère-Église, 11th century chapel
Mère-Église is an 11th century chapel with Roman architecture located in the village of Saint Disdier in Le Dévoluy massif. It is one of the oldest chapels in the Hautes-Alpes! Listed as an historic monument since 1927, the Mère-Église Chapel was built by Cluniac monks. An illustration of monastic life in a mountain environment, the chapel is also a model of the modest proportions of Roman art, which is characterised by symbols, the links between the visible and the invisible, transcending the physical, the hereafter, and human nature.
The chapel's stone bell tower and thatched roof add to its charm. The chapel's interior boasts magnificent frescos to admire... Every summer, the chapel's stones vibrate to the sound of inspiring bows from musicians of all types who come for the Dévoluy Music Festival.
The Gillardes springs
The "sources des Gillardes" are listed as the second largest natural water spring in France, after the Vaucluse Fountain. A blockfield of enormous rocks gushes out of the Grandes Gillardes into the Souloise gorge which extends over thirty metres.
If the massif's two rivers, La Souloise and La Béoux, are far from collecting all the precipitation which falls (rain and snow), the "lapiaz" (limestone rocks with cracks in them) let the water infiltrate, helping to achieve this delicate work. The result is an active underground circulation of water which appears as a double re-emergence like the one in Vaucluse to the northern exit point of Le Dévoluy: Les Gillardes. After heavy rainfall and when the snow melts, Les Gillardes can "spit" up to 56m³ per second!
Another feature to admire is Les Voûtes, a 450-metre high cliff-face, which we had the pleasure of watching René Desmaison climb.
Le Buëch, between the Alps and Provence
A 30-minute drive from Le Dévoluy
South of Le Dévoluy, this naturally preserved valley is a link between Provence and the Alps. Le Pays du Buëch spreads along the eponymous river, and sits astride the Hautes-Alpes and Alpes de Haute-Provence departments. There you can stroll through the Provençal markets, along the streets of perched villages, and marvel at the region’s curiosities.
You can go hiking or horse riding along the many Buëch footpaths; mountain biking in either the Cyclosport-labelled area or the French Cycling Federation mountain biking area; climbing on the famous cliff-faces in Orpierre… All outdoor sports are to be found in le Buëch!
Water lies at the heart of the valley: fishing, surface water sports, or more simply recreation by the lakefront under the sun that shines 300 days a year. There’s nothing like relaxing! Not to forget le Chevalet aerodrome and its air competitions.
Don’t miss out: Veynes’ artificial lake, Montmaur Castle, the Railway Worker Ecomuseum ("l'Écomusée du Cheminot Veynois"), the Gorges de la Méouge, and the village of Serres.
Le Champsaur Valgaudemar, two valleys, two different atmospheres
A 30-minute drive from Le Dévoluy
One is mild, the other one is dizzy. The valleys of Champsaur and Valgaudemar are opposed in their characters and offer a wide range of varied activities, at the gates of the Écrins National Park. Green prairies spread across the Champsaur, on which western edge Le Dévoluy begins. In the valley's mountain wooded countryside, the hedges shelter and preserve particularly rich wildlife.
Get some rest on Saint Bonnet's lakefront, taste local food, or go up and down the valley through its many hiking footpaths for all ages. Valgaudemar is a high-mountains valley in the Hautes-Alpes, where glaciers and Himalayan landscapes stand high in the blue sky. Hiking, surface water sports, and breathtaking panoramic views are awaiting you.
Don’t miss out: le Voile de la Mariée waterfall, les Oulles du Diable torrent, la Laiterie du Col Bayard restaurant, Gap Bayard golfcourse, la Maison du Berger farm, and the Prapic marmots.
Gap, where life is sweet
A 45-minute drive from Le Dévoluy.
Gap is the Hautes-Alpes' prefecture. This Alpine city has Mediterranean overtones, and on Wednesdays and more especially on Saturdays, its market attracts stalls that are coming from well outside the department.
Concerts, events, museums, exhibitions, horse-drawn carriage tours, swimming pools… There are many things to do and see in the highest French prefecture. For more comfort and environmental protection, all city bus rides are free!
Don’t miss out: Charance alpine estate, the Museum, treasure hunts, and late-night openings in summer.
Tallard, air and time
A one-hour drive from Le Dévoluy.
Located less than 5km away from the end of the A51 motorway, the village of Tallard combines history and high technology, having the most important aerodrome in the Hautes-Alpes and a Middle Ages castle listed under the National Heritage Sites category.
Thanks to an exceptional natural setting, you can do a whole lot of outdoor sports activities such as climbing up the world-famous Céüse cliff-face.
Both the "Perched Villages Route" (Itinéraire des Villages Perchés) and the "Fruit and wine road" (la Route des Fruits et des Vins) go through Tallard, where orchards can benefit from the exceptional sunshine of the southern Alps.
Don’t miss out: Tallard aerodrome (if you feel like skydiving!) and Tallard castle.
A 1h15-drive from Le Dévoluy.
Lake Serre-Ponçon sits astride both the Hautes-Alpes and the Alpes de Haute-Provence departments, and it is the largest artificial lake in France. It gathers the waters of the Durance and Ubaye rivers, and has everything going for it: it is surrounded by a magnificent landscape, benefits from the exceptional sunshine of the southern Alps, and has a wide range of activities to offer. It is the ideal place if you want to loll on the waterfront, swim into the lake, or play surface water sports: sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, motorboating, paddling, pedaloing, inflatable buoy towing… The only problem is choosing! The Serre-Ponçon boat will take you for an audio tour of the lake. On the outskirts of the lake, a geological curiosity rises: fairy chimneys. There are many hiking footpaths, and they offer gorgeous panoramic views on the lake and mountains.
Don’t miss out: Serre-Ponçon animal park, to observe typical mountain animals, Apiland and its museum of honey, and the Muséoscope that will tell you the story of Lake Serre-Ponçon.
The department of Isère: welcome to the northern Alps
A 30-minute drive from Le Dévoluy
The department of Isère borders the north of Le Dévoluy massif. It is a land full of contrasts, with green prairies to the north-west and alpine mountains to the south-east. We invite you to discover some of the southern Isère curiosities around Le Dévoluy, such as Pellafol’s Maison du Patrimoine museum or Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette Sanctuary. Stroll the streets of the village of Corps, pay a visit to its small Middle Ages heritage, and have something to eat. Both outdoor sports lovers and those looking to invigorate can go to Trièves or Lake Sautet.
Don’t miss out: Lake Sautet, Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, Pellafol’s Maison du Patrimoine museum, Trièves area.