Situated on the road between Grenoble and Briançon, Bourg d’Oisans sits on a major trans-Alpine communications route. Spread over 22 km, the commune covers the entire low agricultural Romanche plaine, from Rochetaillée to the start of the Vénéon Valley, including the Lac du Lauvitel. The Bourg d’Oisans basin, with its layered, folded cliffs and very steep wooded mountain sides, is a perfect example of the erosion and accumulation of glacier waters.
- Centrally located
- Shops and services
- Le Lauvitel protected natural area
- Marais de Veille Morte (Natura 2000)
- Remains of the Roman Road
- Museum of Alpine Minerals and Wildlife
For three months each summer, Bourg-d’Oisans becomes the most important tourist resort in Isère, with cyclists from many different countries appreciating the proximity of the iconic Tour de France mountain passes. Fresh air enthusiasts come to enjoy the outdoor activities on offer, including hiking, mountain biking, climbing, horse riding, fishing and canoeing. The environmental quality of the local land has been recognised by the creation of the 700 ha protected natural area of Le Lauvitel (a third of which is in the heart of the Ecrins Natural Park), as well as by “Natura 2000” areas
History and Heritage
From Grenoble, the road to Montgenèvre is the shortest way of getting to Italy, making it a strategic passage from ancient times. Following the submission of the Ucenis in the first century BC, the Romans developed a communications route in the centre of this region. The Chemin de Rochetaillée (sculpted in the rock) bears witness to the existence of a Roman road. Traces of this ancient route can still be seen in Rochetaillée up on the sides of the cliff face.
In the Middle Ages, the Bourg d’Oisans plaine was filled by a lake that flooded the former town of St Laurent du Lac. The new village was established on the edge of a narrow mound of glacier debris, safely above the water, around the area of the current church. The plaine was then slowly recovered from the Romanche river and was soon dotted with farms, grain and hay lofts and hamlets. Nearly all those farming the plaine had a second job, such as travel guide, peddlar or miner (slate, crystal or silver).
Saint Laurent Lake
The Bourg d’Oisans plaine is curiously flat… resulting from years of accumulation of sediment and deposits following the formation of a number of lakes. The glacial sill was reinforced by another rock bar formed by two rockfalls at Infernet (the exit of Livet when driving from Grenoble), leading to the creation of a large lake called the Lac Saint-Laurent. In 1191, following a violent storm, Infernet was the scene of a huge fall of rocks, earth and stones that completely blocked the Romanche River. This led to the creation of a much bigger lake, 18 km long and drowning the Oisans plain under 10 m of water. The inhabitants of Saint Laurent au bord du Lac were forced to flee their houses and seek refuge on higher ground. According to some documents, water reached a height of 741m. 28 years later, on 14 September 1219, the natural dam suddenly gave way, causing a catastrophic flood as far as Grenoble (known as the “Grenoble deluge”) that drowned nearly 5000 people.
For more information, contact Tourist office of Bourg d’Oisans
Oppening periodsFrom 01/01 to 31/12.
Closed exceptionally on January 1st, May 1st, May 8th, November 1st, November 11th and December 25th.
September to June
Monday to Saturday : 9am - 12am and 2pm - 6pm
July and August
Everyday : 9am to 6pm.