Le Monêtier-les-Bains , the "montagnarde" eand its ring of hamlets
Attention, you are entering a mountain territory in CAPITAL letters!
A place where authenticity is not overused. On the borders of the Guisane valley, under the Lautaret and Galibier passes, the large Roman town of Monêtier-les-Bains (13,000 hectares), the highest point of the Serre Chevalier Vallée Briançon ski area (top of the Yret chairlift, 2830 m), is spread out over six villages on either side of the fiery torrent:
- Le Lauzet (1630 m)
- Le Casset (1519 m)
- Le Monêtier-les-Bains (1 500 m)
- Les Guibertes (1420 m)
- Le Freyssinet (1430 m) et
- Le Serre-Barbin (1400 m).
Under the benevolence of the Cerces massifs and the domination of the Casset, Monêtier, Près les Fonts and Arsine glaciers, the commune with its ancient thermal waters is a condensed alpine experience. Here, in the area covered by the Ecrins National Park, everything breathes pure, raw mountain air..
On the vast Pré Chabert snow front, served by shuttle, skiers returning from the summits, beginners and children learning to balance in the dedicated areas, tobogganers at their leisure, and cross-country skiers at the start of the itineraries all live together.
There are also biathletes ready to hit the target, walkers criss-crossing the paths, contemplative people with their eyes riveted on the peaks tearing up the sky and even bathers coming out of the naturally hot water pools of the Grands Bains de Monêtier, this 4,500 m2 thermo-ludic centre, built in 2008.
Not far from this nerve centre bubbling with life and winter sports, the unspoilt hamlet of Le Casset, within reach of Nordic spatulas or the shuttle..
As mountaineering is now listed as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO, seven high places in the Écrins, including Casset, have launched a joint initiative: Villages d'alpinisme.
Their wish: to re-enchant their villages, to promote authentic and respectful mountaineering, to pass on the tradition to new generations, and to make the public aware of the fragile beauty of the natural environment.
Le Casset, a cross-country skiing mecca, along the river and the mélézin, has a 19th-century grain mill that can be visited.
A completely redesigned museum space facing the mythical café-restaurant Chez Finette where the blueberry tart is devilishly delicious! As soon as you have eaten your fill, you should stop off at the Ecrins National Park Visitor Centre..
There, a guard, binoculars glued to his eyes, observes a herd of chamois while another one comments on the permanent exhibition. The curious will be satiated by the stroll through this typical high altitude village and will inevitably be tempted to discover Le Lauzet and its organic honey factory, Le Serre-Barbin and Le Freyssinet, Les Guibertes and the cheeses from its sheepfold.
So many detours off the slopes that are well worth the effort and make Serre Chevalier Vallée unique. A resort but not only!
Did you know that?
Opened in 1997, the Saint Pierre Chapel Museum in Monêtier-les-Bains houses one of the finest collections of Sacred Art in the Hautes Alpes. Shall we go there after skiing?
Did you know that?
Monêtier is a paradise for off-piste skiing and by extension for ski touring. Mountain atmosphere guaranteed! Hardcore skiers simply love it!