Hike in the stunning mountains of the Alps by day and indulge in local gastronomy at night on this French Alps gourmet alpine hiking holiday in Ecrins National Park!
After a day out in pure alpine air, hiking in the mountains admiring magnificent views of the French Alps, there is nothing better than sitting down to a delicious gourmet dinner of freshly prepared local delicacies. This is the walking holiday of your dreams!
On this guided French Alps gourmet alpine hiking holiday in Ecrins National Park you will discover the beautiful pasrt of the Southern French Alps. The Valgaudemar valley, known locally as the little Himalayas with high altitude lakes, glaciers and flowery alpine meadows and the Champsaur, with its ‘bocage’ (an ancient rare farming tradition) and pretty Alpine pastures.
The contrasting landscapes present a variety of hiking routes with something new to see each day. We have chosen our favourite walks in the area to take you on a beautiful journey through the alpine foothills overlooking Provence to the south to hikes into the heart of the high mountains with views of the glaciers of the Ecrins National Park, all in close proximity to your two accommodation bases.
Expect to see a plethora of wildlife including chamois, ibex, golden eagles, vultures, deer, wild boar and maybe even a wolf as well as thousands of alpine flowers including rare orchids. Your local guide and wildlife expert will be pointing out the exceptional flora and fauna as you hike.
We have hand-picked our favourite two accommodations for foodies in the Hautes Alpes as your accommodation bases for this unique gourmet Alpine walking holiday.
One of the bases is the Luxury Farmhouse Guesthouse, a traditional stone farmhouse, completely renovated in a chic and modern style whilst retaining its original character. The chef here is Meg, a creative, culinary genius from Taiwan who has an incredible ability to re-invent traditional Alpine recipes with a delicious and intriguing Asian touch.
The other base is the Val des Sources which is a very traditional alpine hotel situated deep in the Valgaudemar valley. The cooking here is pure traditional French Alpine. Collette is the chef here and her insatiable knowledge, experience and skill in traditional Alpine cuisine is quickly apparent.
Prepare to experience a culinary journey through the Alps, with each menu carefully prepared and a choice of the best wines to accompany each dish, recommended by Claude, her husband and connoisseur.
Highlights of this French Alps gourmet alpine hiking holiday in Ecrins National Park:
– Varied and spectacular hiking through some of the best mountain scenery in Europe
– Exceptional culinary and gastronomic experience with hand-picked local chefs
– Local and experienced guides and wildlife experts
– Hassle free – all you have to do is get here and enjoy
– Supporting responsible and sustainable tourism
Who Will Love This Trip?
If you are a regular walker or hiker who appreciates good food and loves the mountains, this trip is for you. You will need a good level of walking fitness to enjoy a full day out in the mountains but don’t need to be super fit!
Day to day plan for this French Alps gourmet alpine hiking holiday in Ecrins National Park:
DAY 1 : Arrival
Your Gourmet Alpine walking holiday begins!
We will come and collect you from Gap train station at 17H00 and take you up to your first accommodation for this trip where you will be welcomed with a delicious evening meal!
The following itinerary is an example of the types of walks planned for the French Alps gourmet alpine hiking holiday in Ecrins National Park - but this is subject to change depending on local conditions. The guides will adapt accordingly and there is plenty of choice so you can be assured of high quality walking, spectacular views and wildlife!
DAY 2 : Le Barry
This is a beautiful and little known circular ridge walk in the Champsaur! It involves some moderate scrambling over the ridge but if you don’t like scrambling, there is a walking path that traverses under the ridge.
You start by walking up through mixed woods to the Col du Cendrier where you can see the ridge in front of you. From the ridge you have spectacular views of the remote Molines valley and the high mountains of the Ecrins on one side and the open fields and hedgerows of the Champsaur valley on the other.
A little surprise awaits you at the end of the ridge where you will discover a secret hanging valley full of alpine meadow flowers before you head down towards the woods on the other side of the mountain and back to your starting point.
Starting altitude: 1372 metres
Maximum altitude: 2271 metres
Ascent: 899 metres
Total duration: 5 to 6 hours
DAY 3 : The Saute du Laire
This is a spectacular and interesting walk starting in the remote village of Prapic, the last village of the Champsaur valley before it is closed off by the mountains. Prapic is still habited all year round by four families and you can see the old Alpine style architecture still very much in use as you walk through.
It takes you up on to a wonderful plateau overlooking a fast flowing river before culminating at the dramatic Saut du Laire waterfall. The Saut du Laire means \'The Jump of the thief\' and your guide will tell you the story that gave the waterfall this rather unusual name.
This valley is famous for its many marmots who will whistle at you as you walk up the valley, but watch out also for chamois who will be grazing and relaxing around the cliffs.
Starting altitude: 1513 metres
Maximum altitude: 2055 metres
Ascent: 542 metres
Total duration: 3 to 4 hours
DAY 4 : Summit of the Vieux Chaillol
The Vieux Chaillol is Champsaur Valley’s highest mountain. This is a superb but challenging walk. The ascent itself takes about 5 hours.
Starting off in the pretty ski village of Chaillol you work your way up through beautiful mixed deciduous and larch forests and then traverse across open mountainside up to the first col.
From there you pass under the Pic du Tourond and follow the ancient ruins of the Canal du Macros which was built by Napoleon\'s men in the late 1800ds to divert water from the then Macros glacier (the glacier is now just a lake) to irrigate the Champsaur valley. You arrive at the second col where the cabin for the workers of this amazing engineering feat still stands. From there you have rocky mountainside to negotiate before you reach the summit. You come down the same way.
Starting altitude: 1600 metres
Maximum altitude: 3163 metres
Ascent: 1563 metres
Total duration: 9 hours
DAY 5 : Free Day
This is a free day to have a rest relaxing in your accommodation, go for a self-guided walk or try out some of the other activities available in the area. You can go rock climbing, test your head for heights on a via ferrata, cool off canyoning or fly high over the valley paragliding and more.
The choice is yours. Most of these activities are half day activities so you can spend the rest of your time relaxing and enjoying the facilities at your accommodation. We can organise any additional activities for you either in advance or when you are here. Please note additional activities are not included in the price of this French Alps gourmet alpine hiking holiday in Ecrins National Park.
DAY 6 : Lac du Lauzon
This is a spectacular walk from the Valgaudemar valley up to a high altitude lake with views of the glacier and classic alpine surroundings with the possibility to continue up to the “Refuge du Pigeonnier”.
You start at the Gioberney refuge where you can see the famous Bride\'s Veil waterfall. From there you walk up a dramatic valley and then zig zag up the mountain side between rocky outcrops with blueberry bushes, raspberries and other mountain flowers and fruits interspersed with dramatic waterfalls and streams until you reach a hanging valley where the lake is situated.
From here you can continue on up to the Pigeonnier refuge for a well deserved drink and a snack (the blueberry tart is recommended!), before heading down the valley either the way you came or via the Gioberney side making a circuit of it!
Starting altitude: 1642 metres
Maximum altitude: 2423 metres,
Ascent: 781 metres
Total duration: 5 to 6 hours
DAY 7 : Lacs de Pétarel
The Lacs de Pétarel are a set of magnificent high altitude lakes accessible via a number of different routes so it is possible to do a circular route taking in different valleys and points of interest or a more direct there and back route.
With dramatic mountain views across the Ecrins and the abundance of alpine flowers and butterflies on this high alpine plateau with its cristal clear lakes, this is a must-do walk for any hiking trip in the Southern French Alps.
Your guide will help you choose the best route for your group so you can make the most of it!
Starting altitude: 1270 metres
Maximum altitude: 2112 metres
Ascent: 998 metres
Total duration: 5-6 hours
DAY 8 : Departure
This is the sad day we say goodbye but we hope you will be going home with some great memories of your walking adventure in the Alps with some new recipes to add to your collection!