Going into the middle of La Vanoise (France) is a spectacle: green majestic mountains arise. Even in summer some mountains’ peaks remain covered by a pure-white snow which is either in contrast with the blue sky or mixed with the clouds, forcing you to guess where the mountains end.
The road starts its zig-zag to bring you into valleys surrendered by a powerful nature. Despite the sickness, you cannot prevent your eyes from enjoying such a magnificent demonstration: plentiful rivers, abundant forests, birds announcing the new season, flowers decorating with tenths of colors the extensive meadows, small villages which seems to wake-up as the marmots do from their hibernation and, those huge mountains… everywhere imposing their grandeur.
Arriving at Lanslevillard is like going far away into the nature. It is located in the valley of Haute-Maurienne, at an altitude of 1500m above the sea level and limiting with the Natural Park of La Vanoise.
The charming village is divided in two by a violent river whose powerful sound is the only permanent noise on town. Over there, there is no stress and, the pollution is definitely not part of the landscape.
Despite the fact that the village counts only approx. 450 inhabitants, it hosts many more during the different seasons. Indeed, Lanslevillard houses the well-known Val Cenis-Vanoise ski station in winter and, numerous itineraries for hiking and climbing during spring and summer.
Lanslevillard and its ski station are very well-known all across Belgium by at least four generations of students. The Athenée Royale de Braine-L’Alleud owed Arba Neige since the 1960s, a chalet which hosts students for some weeks in what it is called in French “classe de neige”, or class of snow. Classes are moved from Belgium’s schools to this ski station in the South-East of France where regular classes are combined with leisure activities, mainly ski. The chalet is also available usually the first two weeks of July for other kind of guests, usually families who have food and accommodation for only 5 Euros per day if they dedicate the mornings to work on repairing the damages may cause during the students’ stay. It is a very interesting option for those who wish to enjoy the mountain for few Euros.
The Arba Neige project has made Lanslevillard to become part of hundreds of people’s life. Good memories were and are built while going down searing hills and hiking gentle paths.
The colours and smells of the summer in this isolated place are fabulous..; to experiment the feelings that the winter scene might provoke remains compulsory. A next time might happen!
La Dent Parrachée: vigilant…
From almost everywhere you can contemplate La Dent Parrachée, an impressive huge mountain at an altitude of 3697m above the sea level which seems to dominate everything around, even your will to look at anywhere else. You could remain in front of it for hours and never wanted to take your eyes over it.
The emotions that the mountain can inspire are not known by a human being who has never encountered such a natural element. The mountain gives you freedom and humbleness. You feel like kneeling down and crying.
Even if you could think that the time does not exist in this remote valley, the little charming church announces all peak and half hours all along the day and night; just like if a warning from the mountain was launched for you to explore it without time to lose.
The gastronomy is another exiting adventure. Exploring the different kind of cheeses and delicatessen might keep your adrenaline on around the table.
An amazing discovery: the picon-beer at L’Arcelle Restaurant. Sublime!
Refuge du Cuchet de Lanslebourg (2200m altitude above the sea level)
Regrets: (after 15 minutes walk) I will never make it up there…
Permanent desire: a very cold beer…
Once in destination: breathless…
Fears: go down..? Never see it again…
Le Petit Bonheur
As its name describes, it is a real pleasure and an adventure to do this walk. Several spots from where to contemplate La Dent Parrachée from different standpoints can be found. It is a path driving you directly into your dreams. The mixed of colours and smells are indescribable.
Le Lac Blanc
Out-standing! the most pure and beautiful place ever seen. It is the closest place in Earth to the Sky. You can touch the clouds. The sky is just there.
Thoughts: too many and none negative… the panorama is a source of inspiration.
A moment to remember: every step; what is left behind does not matter, what is in front of you is even better. But, having met marmots has been a cool experience; unforgettable.
An image: me, watching myself up there, breathing pure air, feeling alive and realizing that life is made for that, just for enjoying life.