St-Christophe-en-Oisans, the 5th largest commune in France in terms of surface area, is also the most spread out village in Oisans. It covers one-fifth of the area of the Écrins National Park and part of the skiing area of Les 2 Alpes. A stronghold for mountaineers, Saint-Christophe and La Bérarde are the high-Alpine reference in Oisans. The unrivalled natural richness and untamed character of this gracial valley make it perfect for hiking and exploring.

Today
Venir à Saint Christophe
1460 m.
Mountain village
2100 Touristic beds
25 of Bourg d’Oisans
Bus service (summer)
a Christolet
a Christolette
  1. Untamed scenery
  2. In the heart of the Ecrins National Park
  3. Mountain-climbing mecca
  4. Mountain huts
  5. Iconic summits (including the Meige, Barre des Ecrins, Dibona and Les Bancs)
  6. Mountain-climbing museum
  7. The banks of the Vénéon river

Leisure

St-Christophe-en-Oisans, the 5th largest commune in France in terms of surface area, is also the most spread out village in Oisans. It covers one-fifth of the area of the Écrins National Park and part of the skiing area of Les 2 Alpes. A stronghold for mountaineers, Saint-Christophe and La Bérarde are the high-Alpine reference in Oisans. The unrivalled natural richness and untamed character of this gracial valley make it perfect for hiking and exploring.

History and Heritage

Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans covers the entire upper Vénéon valley in the heart of the Massif des Écrins, boasting 128 summits over 3000 m, which is why its history is closely bound up to that of mountaineering. A visit to the village cemetery is a must, to see the graves of many renowned climbers, with their tombstones often featuring ice picks.
The village of Saint Christophe stands as the gateway to the upper section of the valley, with hamlets dotted one after the other up to the village of La Bérarde at the end of the road. This was where the Société des touristes du Dauphiné opened its Chalet-hotel in 1887, which became the Hotel Tairraz in 1909 and continued to be the iconic establishment of the hamlet throughout the 20th century.
This period saw the development of mountaineering tourism. Between 1990 and 1923, a road was built to La Bérarde and between the two world wars, the village became the second largest French mountaineering centre! Accommodation, including hotels and campsites, flourished in the valley. In 1973, the richness of this area resulted in the creation of the Ecrins National Park, replacing the initial Parc National de la Bérarde created in 1913.

Museum

In Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans, mountain guiding passes from father to son, as was the case with the Gaspard family, from which Pierre, the father, made the first ascension of La Meije on 16 August 1877. In this area, climbing memories are part of the local heritage.
The Mémoires d’Alpinismes Museum depicts the history of mountaineering in the Massif des Ecrins, conveying the emotions surrounding this activity, synonymous with adventure, commitment, passion and freedom. The journey begins around a model of the mountain range and throughout the visit, the peaks of the Meije, Ecrins and Dibona, to name just a few, become familiar names. The focus is on the Vénéon valley guides, although women are not forgotten, whether as the patient spouses of guides, mountain hut wardens or trek leaders… and, no doubt, the mountain guides of tomorrow.

Anecdotes

The first climb up the Grand Pic de la Meije

« This conquest was a considerable exploit, as numerous attempts (around twenty-five) had been made on the mountain…
Emmanuel De Castelnau (19 years old), together with a local from the valley in his prime, Pierre Gaspard (forty-three years old), a guide for only two years, managed to find the weak point during an exploratory climb on 4 August 1877. They climbed up through the passage in their socks. May those who walk in their footsteps today, wearing their crampons, think back to the early days of rock climbing. On the descent, they bivouaced without any protection. For many years, the Meije was nicknamed « la grande difficile »…

Extract from the “Guide du Haut Dauphiné”.

Office de Tourisme St Christophe en Oisans-La Bérarde

For more information, contact Office de Tourisme St Christophe en Oisans-La Bérarde

Oppening periods

From 01/01 to 31/05, daily between 2 PM and 5 PM.
Closed exceptionally on January 1st, Easter Monday, November 1st, November 11th and December 25th.

From 01/06 to 30/06, daily.
Closed exceptionally on January 1st, Easter Monday, November 1st, November 11th and December 25th.

From 01/07 to 31/08, daily.
Closed exceptionally on January 1st, Easter Monday, November 1st, November 11th and December 25th.

From 01/09 to 30/09, daily.
Closed exceptionally on January 1st, Easter Monday, November 1st, November 11th and December 25th.

From 01/10 to 31/12, daily between 2 PM and 5 PM.
Closed exceptionally on bank holidays.