If you’ve not seen Besse-en-Oisans and Emparis, you’ve seen nothinG
This well-known saying in Oisans is not a myth; it combines the unique nature of Besse-en-Oisans, a village listed as one of France’s outstanding sites, and the Emparis plateau, an area of lush greenery at an altitude of 2,300 m, listed as a Natura 2000 site.
While visiting the Oisans region, take a detour to Besse where you’ll be taken back in time with its well-preserved traditional settlements. Wander around the village, take a break at the Maison des Alpages, treat yourself to a Tourte de Besse (delicious homemade bread) and then take a nap on the Plateau d’Emparis. What else?
Activities in Besse-en-Oisans
Besse-en-Oisans is the starting point for many PDIPR (departmental plan for walking and hiking) routes, providing access to the Savoy and Hautes-Alpes regions. The Emparis plateau, through which the famous GR54 route crosses, is a hiking area known for its lush nature as a Natura 2000 site, as well as its panoramic view of La Meije. The landscape, with its endless pastures, feels almost tundra-like, and is a popular spot for hiking, horseback riding, paragliding as well as its mountain huts. The area around Besse has discovery trails all about the village’s heritage.
Besse-en-Oisans: a listed village
Besse doesn’t just stand out because of its obvious authenticity and rustic charm, but also thanks to the unique architecture of its houses. They are all clad in Oisans stone and wood.
What’s more, the houses have been beautifully preserved – it looks like how it did 100 years ago. It’s a real treat for visitors!
Stroll through the narrow, sloping lanes, paved in cobblestones. Admire the tiny houses, built to protect against the cold from stones stacked on top of one another. Visit the dark and austere, but sturdy buildings with their slate walls, and quartz-veined granite that sparkle under the sun.
Museum: La Maison départementale des alpages
In the foothills of the Plateau d’Emparis, which is one of the biggest Alpine pastures in Europe, with 2,900 hectares of land across from La Meije, the Maison Départementale des Alpages will teach you about high-altitude farming and shepherding. This interactive museum focuses on the lives of shepherds and their flocks today but also has an exhibition dedicated to the life of mountain farmers in times gone by. There are also on-site activities, visits and video screenings. The Museum is the beating heart of the Isère’s Alpine pastures.
Musical Hiking in the Vallée du Ferrand
Since 1999, the Festival des Randonnées Musicales has organised a rich and varied programme every summer, from July into August. Invited musicians take their inspiration from a variety of musical sounds, including hip hop, pop, rock, reggae, groove, funk, electro-swing and world music.
Ski Touring from Besse-en-Oisans
Do the snowy mountain pastures of the Quarlie area entice you? These beautiful stretches of untouched snow are not risk-free; please contact professional guides before setting off. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find several ideas for where to go to truly take in the silence of the snow, away from the hum of the chairlifts.
Visit the Vallée du Ferrand for an unparalleled experience. Download our practical guide.