The village of La Grave is located on the right hand side of the upper Romanche Valley, on the border between the départements of Isère and the Hautes-Alpes, 10km from the Col du Lautaret. To the south, the village is dominated by the imposing massif of the Meije, the second-highest peak of the Massif des Écrins (3982 m). La Grave is situated on the edge of the Ecrins National Park and its five hamlets – Les Fréaux, Le Chazelet, Les Terrasses, Ventelon and Les Hières are dotted around the village.

Today
Tuesday26 September
6 - 13 °C
Pluie faible débutant dans l’après-midi, se prolongeant jusque dans la soirée.
Getting to La Grave
1500 m.
Resort & village
1264 Touristic beds
35 of Bourg d’Oisans
Ligne de bus
un Gravarot
une Gravarotte
  1. Unique off-piste skiing area
  2. Listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”
  3. Federation-approved MTB domaine
  4. Access to the heart of the Ecrins National Park
  5. Ice cave
  6. Panoramic view over the Meije

Leisure

Skiing here is for connoisseurs and the domain, reserved for experienced skiers, is renowned world over. There are no secured, waymarked ski runs in the valleys of the Meije, but rather mountain routes accessed via the Téléphériques des Glaciers de la Meije cable car (1500m-3190m). A lift can then take skiers up to the Dôme de la Lauze (3560 m) and Les Deux Alpes. But much easier skiing can also be enjoyed in the village resort of Le Chazelet, nestling on the southern facing slopes, making La Grave a perfect destination for families.
This is also an important mountain climbing centre, offering a number of climbs including the most famous of all, namely the Grand Pic de la Meije stnding at 3982 m.
Visitors can also enjoy icefall climbing, via ferrata (in Les Fréaux), hiking in the Écrins National Park (on the GR 50 and GR 54 foot paths) and mountain biking from the Lautaret to the Emparis plateau, not forgetting the freeride section of the Meije.

History

Despite the seemingly harsh environment, traces of settlements in the Upper Romanche Valley date back to ancient times, although it was in the Middle Ages that La Grave made its mark as an administrative and commercial centre. The village boasted the largest community in Oisans and had more inhabitants than Bourg d’Oisans!
“Neuf mois d’hiver, trois mois d’enfer” summed up the agricultural rhythm imposed by the harsh climate – nine months of winter, three months of hell. The cold season led to an exile of male inhabitants, who over time came to specialise in peddling.
Much later on, the epic building of the Route du Lautaret ended the period of isolation and had the dual effect of accelerating the rural exodus, whilst bringing the first summer tourists. New businesses (inns and carriage houses) emerged, catering for both travellers and mountain climbers.
Winter tourism became popular at a later date, in particular following the installation of the first ski lifts in Le Chazelet in 1964, but a second boost was provided by the building of the cable car in 1976. Summer tourists much appreciated being able to ride effortlessly up to an altitude of 3200 m to admire the panoramic view. Shortly afterwards, skiers from the world over were able to enjoy the same experience.
The steep, majestic face of the Meije has played a major role in history of mountaineering, since the Meije was the last major Alpine summit to be conquered in 1877.

Heritage

La Grave has been listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, thanks to its well-preserved authenticity and a strong desire to retain its identity. Visitors admire the stone houses, tightknit village centre (with many passageways known as « trabuc » linking the houses together) and the listed Church.
Notre Dame de l’Assomption Church is the oldest monument in the canton, built in the eleventh century and listed as a historic monument in 1959. It is surrounded by a cemetery, featuring wooden crosses with noticeable brass centres on top of the tombstones.
On the wall of the church there is a wooden panel on which small metal hearts can be seen hanging. This is a specific feature of the canton, as after 30 years, the “plot” is reused and a heart is hung on the panel in memory of the deceased. As a result, the graves are directly in the ground and bear comparatively few monuments.

Anecdotes

The legend of Salomon (Vallon de la Buffe)

LOisans is the richest mining region of the Dauphiné. Many mines have been worked in the region, but the most famous was Salamon’s mine. Many legends surround this man, his mine and the place where he hid his treasure.
Having become incredibly rich following his discovery of a gold mine, Salomon, a bold huntsman, lead a luxurious lifestyle, mixing with the French and Italian high society and owning a grand house in Turin. On 12 December 1717, having been accused of making counterfeit money, Salomon and a man named Paillas were imprisoned in Turin with their wives. Were they hung or pardoned… nobody knows!
Likewise, nobody knows the exact location of the mine, although apparently it is somewhere near the Aiguilles d’Arves.
Legend has it that the treasure is buried in the cellar of a house in Les Hières…

La Grave la Meije Villar d’Arène Tourist Office

For more information, contact La Grave la Meije Villar d’Arène Tourist Office

Oppening periods

From 01/05 to 16/06 between 9 AM and 12 PM.
Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Closed exceptionally on Feast of the Ascension, May 1st, May 8th, November 1st and November 11th.
And from 2pm to 5pm / Closed on public holidays.

From 17/06 to 07/07, daily between 9 AM and 12 PM.
Closed exceptionally on Feast of the Ascension, May 1st, May 8th, November 1st and November 11th.
And from 14:00 to 18:00 everyday.

From 08/07 to 15/08, daily between 9 AM and 12.30 PM.
And from 2pm to 7pm.

From 16/08 to 17/09, daily between 9 AM and 12 PM.
Closed exceptionally on Feast of the Ascension, May 1st, May 8th, November 1st and November 11th.
And from 2pm to 6pm.

From 18/09 to 30/09 between 9 AM and 12 PM.
Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Closed exceptionally on Feast of the Ascension, May 1st, May 8th, November 1st and November 11th.
And from 2pm to 5pm.

From 01/10 to 30/11 between 9 AM and 12 PM.
Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Closed exceptionally on Feast of the Ascension, May 1st, May 8th, November 1st and November 11th.
Closed on public holidays.