The Écrins National Park is one of France’s 10 national parks

Created in March 1973, it covers 61 communes straddling 2 départements, namely Isère and Hautes-Alpes. It comprises seven deep valleys – the Champsaur, Valgaudemar, Valbonnais, Oisans, Haut Briançonnais, Vallouise and Embrunais, all converging onto the massif.

What is a National Park?

It is a generally extensive area of land in which the biological diversity, quality of landscape, cultural interest and historically well-preserved character justify protection and management that ensures the long-term future of this heritage, deemed to be outstanding in nature.

 

Ecrins National Park in Oisans

Oisans is a land of high peaks, deep valleys, glaciers and landscape of untamed beauty. It gives the National Park its character and the status required to qualify for the European Diploma of Protected Areas.

Although a temporary “La Bérarde national park” was founded in 1913, it was only in 1973 that the Ecrins National Park was officially created under the aegis of mountaineers, nature associations and the French Alpine Club.

 

The heart of the Park is a high-altitude area with complex architecture, comprising summits, ridges, walls, ice-coated north faces, arid rockfalls, grazed pastureland, lakes, mountain streams, waterfalls, mountain huts, shepherds huts and a network of footpaths that is endlessly questioned and tirelessly maintained.

 

It is these footpaths that enable visitors to explore the well-preserved natural surroundings, featuring a wide range of interesting plants and wildlife. A lesson in humility, the heart of the Ecrins National Park first and foremost transmits the intangible values on which the relationship between mankind and preserved natural surroundings are based.

 

In 1995, the first Wilderness Area in a French national Park was created in the famous Lauvitel site. This consists of 700 hectares of totally protected mountainside completely closed to the public, except for scientific monitoring, constituting a huge benchmark sample of Alpine nature. The Véneon Valley is the deepest in the massif, leading mountaineers and visitors to the heart of the Park, following in the footsteps of pioneers such as the Gaspards, Turcs and Rodiers, who symbolise mountaineering and the opening up of Oisans to exploratory tourism.

The National Park regulations ensure the heritage value of this outstanding area is preserved. Please ensure you follow them.

The Maison du Parc in Bourg d’Oisans

The Ecrins National Park visitor centre (Maison du Parc) is open to the public year round:

July/August: every day from 10 am to noon and from 3 pm to 6 pm

Other periods: from 9 am to 11 am and from 1.30 pm to 4 pm, except Wednesday afternoons, weekends and on public holidays.

During the summer, information on the National Park is also available in Venosc, Saint-Christophe, La Bérarde, Bourg d’Oisans Museum and the Maison des Alpages in Besse-en-Oisans.

 

The Maison du Parc is a welcoming place that is a perfect introduction to a visit to the Oisans valleys and the Ecrins mountains. The wildlife, plant life, history and traditional mountain trades are presented in images, with fun and interactive features!

A reading room, with books and games, welcomes children, whilst a wide range of documentation on the National Park is available for consultation.

The visitor centre also houses temporary exhibitions, lectures and a shop. Films are screened on request.

 

Events:

In the summer, outings are organised with Park wardens.

Lecture evenings are also organised by Park wardens or partners on environmental themes.

Further information

For more information and the event schedule for the Maison du Parc in Bourg d’Oisans, please contact:

Maison du Parc National des Écrins – Rue Gambetta – 38520 Le Bourg d’Oisans.