Auris is a family ski resort, linked to the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski, one of the largest skiing areas in Europe. South-facing, just above a lovely forest of birch trees and at the foot of the Signal de l’Homme, Auris enjoys an uninterrupted view over the surrounding peaks. A human-sized resort, it particularly focuses on families and children. The charm of the 10 original hamlets are a reminder of the traditional village atmosphere of yesteryear.
- Sunny position
- Resort in the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski
- Highest birch forest in Europe
You can enjoy a full range of mountain activities in Auris. The Col de Maronne and Col de Cluy provide a lovely, easily accessible hiking or mountain-biking loop. Ski lifts open in both summer and winter, enabling guests to enjoy both skiing and downhill biking. Auris has introduced a variety of fun activities for families, including giant snow tubes and snow mountain biking in the winter and donkey hikes and tubby runs in the summer.
History and Heritage
Like the neighbouring resorts, Auris was built on former village pastureland, on an exceptionally sunny and well-sheltered site. The 11 hamlets included in the village are located slightly lower down the mountain and bear witness to typical Oisans farming life. Previously linked to the Romanche Valley by the impressive Chemin de la Cheminée, which led to the bottom of the Rampe des Commères, the village underwent a new lease of life following the building of the Route des Roches linking it to La Garde in 1902. More recently, the road we see today was finally built, allowing for modern tourist development. The resort is surrounded by the highest birch tree forest in Europe – the Forêt de Piegut – ranging from an altitude of 1400 m to 1764 m.
Today, all the hamlets bear evidence of local heritage. The summer livestock are still blessed in the Chapelle de Cluy, whereas in Les Cours, an ecomuseum pays homage to local memories. La Balme is home to a lime tree, renowned for having been planted under the reign of Henry IV (16th century). Last but not least, Le Clapier d’Auris stands out for its location, namely at the end of the Valley, after the straight road coming from Bourg d’Oisans, at the crossroads with the Vénéon Valley and the tortuous road known as the Rampe des Commères.
The lady’s slipper orchid
There is a flower in our mountains that is particularly well-known for its beauty and legend…
One day, a young shepherd girl named Benoîte was taking her small flock of goats and sheep to graze, when a dazzling, beautiful woman appeared before her. On her feet were golden yellow slippers, so bright that they looked like small suns.
They exchanged a few words, before the Lady disappeared into the sky, with her slippers falling into the bushes. The young shepherd girl searched for them in vain. One morning, in the very place where they had fallen, she saw a magnificent bunch of yellow flowers in the shape of a shoe. Thus the legend of the lady’s slipper orchid – a magnificent flower dedicated to the Virgin Mary – was born.
The Haberdasher’s Cairn
Once upon a time in Auris en Oisans, a lovely young girl named Amélie was of age to marry, but her father, old Simon, refused to give her away to a pauper.
Eugène and Théophile were two fortuneless suitors from Le Freney d’Oisans, hoping to marry the beautiful Amélie. To decide between them, the crafty Simon said, “The one of you who has made his fortune two harvests from now may marry my daughter”.
Without looking back, the two young men left to seek their fortunes!
Eugène, a peddlar, went to see his uncle Isidore, a haberdasher in Grenoble. He asked him for goods to fill his bag and set off to sell his wares on the roads of France.
The more daring Théophile, decided to board a ship for America, where he would sell his seeds, bulbs and plants.
Two harvests later, they both returned to the village. Théophile had made his fortune, but unfortunately lost everything when his schooner was shipwrecked on the return trip. As for Eugène, he returned to the village with more modest savings.
At La Combe Gillarde, just before Auris, fate brought the two suitors together. Delighted to see each other again, the two friends emptied their flasks of génépi liqueur. Eugène swaggered whilst Théophile hung his head. In his drunkenness, the exasperated Théophile grabbed a stone and threw it at Eugène’s head. Eugène fell, never to rise again.
When he saw Amélie, Théophile told her his secret, but old Simon, unaware of what had happened, gave him his daughter’s hand. Everyone in the village of Auris made merry and danced on the day of their wedding.
The two newlyweds, carried by the cortege, returned by the Chemin du Facteur to end the evening in Le Freney d’Oisans.
But destiny decided otherwise. A noise as loud as thunder was heard and the group of girls leading the cortege disappeared, swept away by an avalanche. Théophile and the other men who had witnessed the accident dug their way through the snow all night and eventually found the lifeless bodies of the girls, together with those of Amélie and Eugène, reunited in death.
The hagard Théophile left Le Freney d’Oisans, never to be seen again.
To this day, no hunter, shepherd or tourist passes this point, without adding a stone to the humble monument known as the “Cairn du Mercier”, or the Haberdasher’s Cairn.
For more information, contact Auris en Oisans Tourist Office
Oppening periodsFrom 16/04 to 06/07.
Closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
From 07/07 to 26/08, daily.
Open 9 am to 12 am and 2 pm to 6 pm.
From 27/08 to 14/12.
Closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
From 23/12 to 15/04, daily.