in Oisans, the snowdrop is a sign that spring is coming…
Up in the mountains, well hidden under a thin layer of snow, nature starts to slowly wake up from its slumber. In the plains, the signs of spring can already be seen transforming the landscape. Come and travel through time with us, through the seasons, read about the winter and summer activities that the mountains have on offer, in a land where nature is a spectacular sight all year round.
The light reflecting off the mountains of Oisans has changed, the dry cold of the winter has been replaced by humidity hanging in the air, with flashes of sunlight shining through. Before we know it, the sun has warmed the streets of the villages and the colours have brought the meadows to life. Nature’s awakening is much more than just a beautiful sight, it is a revival, that we can also experience within ourselves. If you choose to come and stay in the mountains in the spring, you’ll be able to embrace this revival and make the most of a wide range of outdoor activities at the same time!
What is there to do between the last snowflakes and the first flowers in bloom?
Between the last ski-touring outings and the first cycling expeditions along the greenway cycle path, you’ll be able to choose between relaxing and the range of sports activities on offer. On this page, you’re guaranteed to find something to do, to fill your time while staying in Oisans!
It’s still possible to go skiing in spring
If you want to go skiing one last time before it’s too late, come and take advantage of a high-mountain area, where the last layer of snow only starts to melt slowly in May. Of course, we do not recommend setting off alone, choosing to go with a professional guide is the guarantee that you’ll have a more relaxing experience and learn all about your surroundings along the way! To find out more, go to the ‘ski-touring’ page:
Your first bike rides along the greenway cycle route
May is probably the best time to ride along the greenway cycle route, or even better, in June when nature really springs back to life! You’ll still be able to see the spectacular snow-capped peaks in the distance, and you’ll be riding alongside the Romanche with water bursting from the seams due to the melted snow, then you’ll cross through tunnels of greenery, with beech and birch trees as you approach the Vénéon glacial river. From this path, you’ll see the Romanche Valley from a different perspective, as you ride along a flat, bucolic and surprising route!
Stroll around mountain villages
Breathe in the fresh air, smell the sweet scents of nature’s awakening, and listen to the birds singing, as you wander the streets of our little villages. As soon as the sun makes its first appearance, the landscape is transformed and the magic kicks in…
Time seems to stand still as you embrace the peaceful atmosphere. The stone walls live and breathe their fascinating past and seem to conjure up the centuries of mountain life they have witnessed. An afternoon of exploring the area, after a picnic, will be just as relaxing as a spa day.
the melted snow sends the waterfalls gushing down
Sometimes at the end of a little walk or long hike, you’ll come across a beautiful waterfall. The melting snow means that you’ll hear the sheer power of the gushing waters before you actually see them. This is another sign of nature’s awakening in spring, and the waterfalls remind us of the mountains’ power and that the earth’s water source flows through their veins.
A short walk will take you to La Pisse waterfall, near Le Bourg-d’Oisans, La Fare waterfall in Vaujany or Lanchâtra waterfall as you approach St-Christophe-en-Oisans. We also recommend Roubier waterfall in Oz-en-Oisans, Pont Ferrand waterfall in Clavans-en-Haut-Oisans and La Muzelle waterfall near Venosc.
Some fascinating encounters
The craftspeople, artists and producers of Oisans are all passionate about their ancestral expertise. They all came to Oisans in search of a magical place to get back to the simple, wholesome things in life. You’ll often find them in their little mountain hideaways, and they all have so much to show you!
The members of the Oisans Savoir-Faire Route will take you on tours of their workshops, laboratories, farms and gardens, to share their passion with you. If you’d like to come and meet them, browse the Savoir-Faire Route page to find out more:
Places to come and watch the marmots going about their day
As soon as the sun has warmed up the Alpine pastures, the first marmots start to appear, through the last remaining patches of snow, to smell the sweet scents of spring in the air. As they venture out of their burrows, it looks like their fur coats are way too big for them!
They’ve eaten up all their winter reserve, and are now looking to satisfy their hunger, frantically searching for the first signs of vegetation. This is the only time of year they are particularly active, and discreet, patient walkers love to catch a glimpse of them up at the Col du Lautaret, around Besson Lake, along the footpaths around La Bérarde, and also in the pastures of Villard-Reculas, Ornon and Oulles.
Farms to visit
In the spring, the farms of Oisans are buzzing with excitement. On the cheese, yoghurt and other dairy product farms, this is an exciting time with the arrival of the latest lambs, calves and kids!
This is the perfect time of year to stop by for a visit and taste the products. Remember to book your visit in advance though, because being a farmer means that the days are pretty busy and if you arrive with no prior warning, they might not be able to let you in. While you’re in the area, why not go and explore the surrounding villages or have a picnic with some local cheeses!
The guides of Oisans
If you’re looking for some excitement, spring is the best time for whitewater sports such as rafting, canoeing, and kayaking! Fans of the snow can still set off along the ski-touring trails or try out snowkiting. Or if you’re more into two-wheeled sports, check out bike-oisans.com to find out where the MTB schools and the cycling coaches are.
There are so many activities to choose from if you want to enjoy the pure mountain air, so call upon the area’s professionals. There’s nobody better to give you an introduction to their specialist activities, in complete safety, and take you on an exploration of the Oisans mountains.
From the guesthouses to the mountain chalets, all the tourist accommodation in Oisans is open to visitors in spring. Would you prefer to stay in a little village or a big mountain resort? Then you’ll need to choose from the range of welcoming lodgings for your springtime getaway.
A 5-day spring holiday in oisans
To help you plan your getaway in Oisans, we’ve concocted a programme featuring the ideas from this page.
A leisurely exploration of the Romanche Valley along the greenway route
Set off from Allemond and warm up your muscles riding along the flat route alongside the Romanche river. Cross through Le Bourg-d’Oisans and admire the architecture that is very characteristic of Oisans, as you pick up everything you’ll need for your picnic! Then you can take on the next part of your adventure, along a wilder section, with a crossing over the river. You might find some obstacles in your way but it is not a difficult crossing, then there’s a more sporty section that leads to Venosc.
Sightseeing hike, exploring villages and learning about local expertise
If you would like to observe the local wildlife which can be very active as the snow is melting, stop by the Musée des Minéraux et de la Faune in Le Bourg-d’Oisans to find out more and ask for advice. It’s not necessary to venture too high up at this time of year, a short walk around the villages is often enough to watch nature’s awakening. If you go up to Lautaret, make sure you stop off in La Grave and explore the village. The same applies for Villard-Reculas and La Bérarde.
And don’t forget to pay a visit to the members of the Savoir-Faire Route. You’ll find them in almost every village.
Spring skiing and some much-needed relaxation
It’s not easy choosing the right place for ski-touring. Every year in spring, the snow cover is different, so you are better off calling upon a high-mountain guide to organise your day out for you. However, we guarantee that once you get back to your accommodation, you’ll only have one thing on your mind: complete and utter relaxation. So remember to make a booking with a ‘wellness’ professionnal for a massage at your lodgings for example. You deserve it after an action-packed day in the mountains.
A delicious treat in the farms of Oisans
After an action-packed day, you’ve earned a day of creature comforts. So begin your day as you mean to go on, with a hearty breakfast! You will of course have remembered to make a booking for your visit with the farmer a few days earlier, and to stop by the Tourist Office to plan the rest of your day. The farms of Oisans are all in a wild or rural setting, and so are the ideal opportunity to visit a village while you’re there, or go for a walk in the forest or an afternoon nap at the Alpine pastures!
The marmots, stars of the Alpine pastures!
Unlike the yeti, we can safely say that marmots do exist, but it’s not always easy to see them. Unless you know the secret spots to go to and you come armed with two very important assets: patience and (especially) discretion. To be in with a good chance of spotting them, your best bet is to stop by the Tourist Office once again, to get some valuable advice. You can never be guaranteed to see marmots, but in the spring they are always particularly ravenous, and even though you must never feed them yourselves, you should be able to catch a glimpse of them searching for food. So choose a spot, sit down in the grass and watch out for them patiently. The time will fly by!
Please note that marmots are more active in the morning and late afternoon.
11 Tourist offices in Oisans
We look forward to welcoming you to Oisans! Contact us and we’ll help you plan the last details of your trip to our mountains