- The Queyras – a hikers’paradise
- Long distance hiking paths
- Grande Randonnee No. 5, Ceillac to Arvieux
- Other paths
- Mines and canals
The Queyras – a hikers’paradise
Whether you are an experienced hiker or a novice, whether adult or child, whether you want a week’s hike or an afternoon’s stroll, the Queyras this jewel in the Hautes Alpes, offers paths, lakes to sit beside, alpine passes to cross, montains to climb, paths in the valley bottoms or along their sides following irrigation canals.
Long distance hiking paths
The Queyras gives you the GR 5 (“Grande Randonnée” No.5), the long distance path known as “Hollande – Mediterranee”, which goes from the Col Girardin at Ceillac, via Chateau-Ville-Vieille, to the Col des Ayes in the Arvieux valley. There is the GR58, the “Tour du Queyras”, which you can do in one go, or in stages, using cars at pick-up points.
From Ceillac (1,640m), the GR58 takes you in turn to the Col de Bramousse (2,251m), the Col de Furfande (2,500m) with its wonderful alpine chalets, the Col Tronchet (2,347m), the Col de Péas (2,629m), where you leave the Queyras for a side visit to the Fonts de Cervieres, a pretty hamlet in the Briançon region of the Hautes Alpes. It continues over the Col de Malrif (2,830m), the Col Vieux (2,806m) and the Col des Estronques (2,651m). You’ll go through Ceillac, Arvieux, Abriès, Ristolas and Saint-Veran but you will only skirt the villages of Aiguilles, Chateau-Ville-Vieille and Molines. All these villages can be stopping off points on your hike.
Grande Randonnee No. 5, Ceillac to Arvieux
“….the path from Saint-Paul sur Ubaye has been very, very long. Fortunately, there was a very obliging motorist. And then that climb in the afternoon sun to Col Girardin 2,714m where you discover the Queyras and the Hautes Alpes. But you see Lac Sainte-Anne (2,415 m) and the chapel above it. It’s a welcome view. You stop for a moment, taking the time to catch your breath but also to admire this lake cradled in the mountains. A few minutes later it’s the turn of Lac Miroir (2,214 m), truly a jewel in its setting. Font Sancte, se mire avec coquetterie dans le lac Miroir is mirrored prettily in Lac Miroir. Then I realise that I’ve arrived in the Queyras. I’ve been travelling through Mercantour for several days on the GR5. I’ve seen fantastic views but if you want a place that fills you with calm and peace, then this is it. It would be good to be able to linger, make camp, watch the stars appear, count the planets, sing, recite poems….but my rucksack is empty, and I have to hike down to eat.
Ceillac (1,640m), Col Fromage 2,301m), the descent into Chateau-Ville-Vieille by a path bordered with graceful columbines. At a bend Fort-Queyras , (1,350m), appears, a stone watchtower on the bank of the Guil. How impressive it is! It gets bigger as we descend. Take your hat off to Vauban and carry on for Lac de Roue. Down through larches towards Arvieux. The sun filters between the trees and the flowers in the grass stir and whisper “Stay here with us!”
Arvieux, the last campsite, and it’s the climb up by Pra Premier – would you ever have imagined a flat plain like this surrounded by peaks – to the Col des Ayes (2,477m) where the eagle of Baudouis slowly circles.
Wishing that you could gaze forever on this dream of a view, you go down towards Briançon.
Farewell Queyras! I won’t forget you!”
An excerpt taken from “From Sospel to Briançon – a Hiker’s Journal”
You have a wide choice. You just have to choose your destination, whether it’s a lake – the Lac de Clausis at Ceillac, Lacs Néal at Arvieux, lake Souliers à Château Ville Vieille, Malrif lakes at Abriès, Lake Foréant and Egorgéou at Ristolas, Lake Blanchet at Saint Véran... ou un col - Col Lacroix (2,299 m) above Ristolas, Col de la Crèche (2,284 m) above Château-Ville-Vieille, Col d’Urine (2,525m) beyond Valpréveyre (Abriès).
And when you’re at a col, why not go for the summit? For sure, there are 28 over 3,000m, but there are many others that are very accessible – like La Gardiole de l'Alp (2,786 m) at Molines Le Pic du Gazon (2,744m) overlooking the chalets de Furfande at Arvieux, Côte Belle (2,854 m) and Clot la Cime (2,732 m) on either side of the Col d'Izoard at Arvieux etc...
Mines and canals
You can hike up to see the remains of the asbestos mine at the head of the Péas valley in Chateau-Ville-Vieille, or of the former copper mine at the Chapelle de Clausis near Saint Veran; the latter is the best preserved in the Hautes Alpes.
If the children are tired of always climbing, take them for a short walk near Lac de Roue, along the Souliers canal. Let them look at the masses of flowers and watch how the water flows.