Aussois in summer
The French department of Savoie, in the heart of the splendid Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, is particularly rich in places frequented in the winter season, among which we cannot fail to mention Also.
It is located at the gates of the enchanting Vonoise National Park and in the heart of the Arc Valley, also known as the Maurienne Valley, right on the border with Italy and Switzerland. Aussois occupies a territory inhabited since the Neolithic era, as demonstrated by the findings found in the current Archaeological Park of Lozes: it was involved centuries later in the fight to protect the ancient Kingdom of Sardinia and Piedmont from the French aims and the construction of the Forts of 'Essilion is proof of this.
Only in 1860 Aussois became French land to all intents and purposes, starting its most flourishing period which coincided with the construction of the dams and the famous Frejus tunnel, places today among the most symbolic of this town in Savoy, which later became the heart of the resistance against the German advance during the Second World War.
Summer in Aussois
Despite being a popular ski resort, Aussois also lends itself to being a perfect destination for summer holidays, when the landscapes reveal a wealth of extraordinary fauna and flora, all to be visited through excursions in the open air, by bicycle, mountain bike, on foot or even on horseback. From a landscape point of view, Aussois rises in an idyllic position, on a sunny plateau of glacial origin at about 1500 m. high, in the shadow of the Dent Parrachée which, with its 3697 m. high, it is one of the highest peaks of the Vanoise massif: for example, the Roche Chevrière and the Pointe de l'Echelle stand out all around.
In Aussois the summer, fresh and pleasant, invites all sports lovers, from canyoning to minigolf to paragliding: mountain-bike enthusiasts will then be able to have fun along various paths, such as for example the one that descends to Evita Carnéa, which takes its name from the delle Nevi, a typical plant of the Aussois pastures. Alternatively, you can go up, crossing single tracks immersed in the forest, towards the Arponts plateau.
Young and old can then have fun at the Par du Diable, located on the road that leads to the Cols des Grandes Alpes: it is an adventure park overlooking the Devil's Bridge and the Golde dell'Arc and which has a series of routes suitable for all ages. What most attracts visitors are the zip-lines present in the park, from the spectacular Tyrolienne des Anges 230m long. and 150 m high, at the Tyrolienne du Paradis which, with its 180 m. high, it is the highest zip-line in all of Europe.
After having fun in this adventure park, you can refresh yourself at the Maria Teresa Fort, part of the fortifications of the Eissilion. The forts were built between 1819 and 1834 by the express will of the Marquis Montalembert, with the aim of protecting the territory, at the time part of the Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia, from French ambitions. They occupy the glacial basin of the Eissilion and controlled the road that led to Mont Cenis.
There are five forts and they are an unmissable stop on a summer trip to Aussois: the Fort Marie Christine it has now been transformed into an inn complete with a diorama that reproduces the entire fortified complex; The Fort Charles Albert, whose construction was never completed (il Sentier des Batisseurs connects it, in just 6 km, to Fort Marie Christine); The Fort Charles Felix, almost totally destroyed by the troops of Napoleon III in 1860; The Redoubt Marie Therese, seat of a museum dedicated to the origin and construction of forts, accessible by crossing the Ponte del Diavolo; The Fort Victor Emmanuel.
The latter is the most monumental and scenic of the Eissillion Forts, built on the side of the mountain, with a vertical drop of 150 m. about. From Fort Victor Emmanuel start a series of paths, among which the Promenade Savoyarde de Découverte: it is a treasure hunt that will involve everyone, even the youngest visitors, immersing them in the atmosphere of 1840 and leading them to gather information along the way, to sneak into the fort and free the lieutenant Desgranges imprisoned here.
Aussois is a village very pleasant to visit in the summer, strolling among traditional stone houses, washhouses, the central square with a pretty fountain in the center and the old oven in Rue Saint Nicolas, where in the past the inhabitants of the village used to bring their bread to bake it. The L'Arche d'Oé Agro-Pastoral Museum, which allows visitors to get to know the daily life of the past, taking a peek at period environments such as the great room, the bedroom, the cellar, the kitchen and the stable. In the summer, educational workshops are also set up here, such as the one showing the processing of butter.
In Aussois there are many chapels but the main place of worship is the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, dating back to 1648 on a XNUMXth century nucleus. Outside the church is quite sober, flanked by a bell tower in the typical Piedmontese style: inside there are paintings, frescoes, valuable altarpieces and an ancient baptismal font.
A view at Les Anes d'Oé farm allows instead to buy organic products based on donkey milk, participate in workshops, visit an interactive museum and above all participate in small pleasant excursions on the back of a small donkey (or on board a cart pulled by mules and donkeys), thus discovering the Maurienne Valley, until you reach the Lozes Archaeological Park.
Among the things to see absolutely in Aussois there is also the Devil's Bridge, built in wood, complete with ropes to support it, to overcome, at about 1000 m. high, the course of the river Arco. Legend has it that the Devil helped the builder to erect the bridge, with the promise that in exchange he would have the soul of the one who would have crossed the bridge first. The builder deceived the demon by letting a goat pass: since then, the folkloric figure of the Mauriennais Devil has been depicted with 4 horns.
What to do and what to see
Those who love hiking will find many opportunities in Aussois, with paths and trails that lead to the discovery of enchanting places, both from a naturalistic and archaeological point of view. The same chairlift of the Grand Jeu it is also open in summer: it also allows you to transport mountain bikes and allows you to reach 2150 m. of height. From here several paths start, such as the one that allows you to reach the Plan d'Amont, one of the two artificial lakes (together with the Aval Plan) born with the construction of the two hydroelectric dams, used to feed the wind tunnel used for various aerospace studies.
The Plan d'Amont rises to 2078 m. high and displays extraordinary turquoise waters, populated by rainbow and brown trout.
From the heart of Aussois, walking along Rue Saint Nicolas, skirting the Saint Pierre stream and continuing towards Saint Charles, you arrive at Parc Archeologique des Lozes. Rocks smoothed by the waters of the Arc glacier and then shaped with stone tools are kept here: the incisions were made in a period ranging from the Neolithic to the Iron Age.
In Sollières-Sardières, just 4 km from Aussois, is the Monolith forest, full of spruces, larches and mountain pines: this verdant expanse is interrupted by a 93 m high stone monolith, a real menhir located at 1670 m. high, in dolomitic limestone. The way to get to Monolith takes the name of Sentiero delle Sculture, a classic example of land-art: along the way, in fact, you come across wooden works of art created by Serge Couvert, whose names evoke moods and feelings, such as Panic at the top, Fraternity e Freedom.
Among the most beautiful excursions to do is the one that leads to the Rateau d'Aussois, at 3131m. high: you start from the car park located near the Plan d'Amont dam and walk towards the vault of the Pont de la Sétéria at 2206 m. high, crossed by streams and populated by curious marmots. The route continues along the GR5, which leads to the Plateau du Mauvais Berger, a wonderful green grassy expanse dotted here and there with erratic boulders, with a playground where the little ones can rest and have fun. The excursion continues between switchbacks until it reaches 2923 m. of height of the Col de la Masse where in summer, with a little luck, it is possible to see small families of ibex.
Thus you reach the summit of the Rateau d'Aussois, from which the panorama also offers a view of Mont Blanc.
The excursion that leads to the is also very easy Pointe de l'Observatory, located at 3016 m. high between the Tarentaise and the Maurienne Valley: the route is rather easy, also suitable for families who, all together, can enjoy a magnificent view of the Aussois valley and the Vanoise glaciers. The starting point is the Plan d'Amont dam, reachable via the D108: the path also leads to the enchanting Fond d'Aussois, a valley where there is a refuge and the beautiful Chapel of Notre Dame des Anges.
Do not miss the excursion that leads at the Bramanette pasture, right in the heart of Savoie: in this case you start from the small village of Bramanse, you take a beautiful forest road that leads straight to the pasture, for a relaxing walk that will delight both adults and children.
In Aussois there is also the Via Ferrata du Diable, circular route that leads up to 3760 m. high: it is one of the most beautiful itineraries of its kind in the entire Alpine arc, coming to dominate the Gorges de l'Arc, between climbs, walkways and adrenaline-pumping Tibetan bridges.
Holidays in Aussois
Aussois is a fairly small village but the surrounding area is large and full of things to do and see, including outdoor sports, walks or excursions. In many cases these activities require a lot of time, so much so that they occupy the whole day: for this reason, anyone who wants to discover Aussois in all its facets will have to organize a holiday of at least 2 settimane.
It is an award-winning location with the coveted label FamilyPlus and everything is designed for families, with services and activities suitable for children too.
Those who have more time at their disposal will be able to discover not only the most beautiful monuments, lakes, pastures and peaks of Aussois and its surroundings, but also its cultural heritage. To do this, there is nothing better than participating in feasts which enliven the summer in particular, such as the celebrations dedicated to the Virgin Assumed into Heaven on 15 August: in the streets of the town, especially in the evening amidst suggestive lit torches, men parade in the ancient costumes of the Imperial Guard. The women, on the other hand, wear their traditional party clothes, the Mauriennaise costumes, complete with elegant embroidered and colored shawls on their shoulders.
During a holiday in Aussois you can take some time to visit the Honey factory by Félicien Detienne, the perfect place to taste and take home organic rhododendron, wildflower or mountain honey. Impossible then not to go to the Brasserie d'Oè where you can taste the Aussois craft beer produced using water from the Vanoise glaciers.
With regard to accommodation, the offer is wide and varied, being able to stay in luxury or cheap hotels, B&Bs, holiday apartments or in refuges in the area. The latter are also the perfect places to taste the typical cuisine of Savoy and therefore also of Aussois, combining tradition and innovation, so much so that the area is full of starred restaurants and of Savoy in general, from tasty Truffade to cheese Beaufort PDO, in an unforgettable landscape setting.
Aussois summer holidays
If you are considering a summer holiday in Aussois, below you can find some useful links to find hotels and holiday apartments.
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