5. From La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar to Les Souffles (stage of the GR 54)
We set off gently from La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar, along the river, discovering the last few villages of the Séveraisse mountain valley. The atmosphere is similar to the mountain cirques in Reunion Island, but this really is the wild and abrupt Valgaudemar you can see before you. The climb soon brings us above the Villar mountain stream, leading to the alpine pastures under the Pic des Souffles. Then it is time for a rest at the foot of an impressive glacier cirque, the foothills of the Olan, at 2000 metres of altitude.
Sundial by Rémy Potey
A real open-air museum piece in the rural landscape, the pictorial art of the sundial aims to foster silence and to be accessible to all. For walkers today and for travellers yesterday. A sundial is a call to reflection and meditation, visible in all its magnificence on religious buildings or carefully hidden, in the little streets of a mountain village. The the Hautes-Alpes department, with its sun-rich climate, has the highest concentration of this example of the people’s art. Today, through the work of the sundial maker Rémy Potey, chamois and golden eagles can be beside the imaginary birds of the mysterious and famous Zarbula, the 19th century Piedmont artist.
As you begin the steep climb towards the Col de la Vaurze, don’t miss the unusual Villar windmill, covered in vegetation. Built in 1838, this legacy from past times has been perfectly preserved with its curious horizontal wheel. It was still in use 50 years ago, milling wheat, but also nuts and rapeseed. It was restored in 1979 and is the last working windmill in the Valgaudemar valley.
Sheep on the mountain pasture
Variety of the natural environment
Variety of plant life
Walk through La Chapelle, past the municipal campsite and the grocer's, then along the D985 as far as an oratory.
- Cross the River Séveraisse and walk along the right bank as far as Andrieux bridge (1 043 m). Take the right-hand path to follow the Séveraisse, this time along the left bank.
- At Séveraisse Bridge (1 025 m) cross the river again and walk to the village of Villar Loubière (1 033 m). Head north out of the village until you reach ""Le Relais de la Vaurze"" and ""La Charrière"" gîtes.
- At the Parc des Ecrins signs, walk a short way along the road before turning left onto the footpath. Follow the Villar mountain stream as the path rises gradually. Cross the wooden footpath over the Lautier stream (1 220 m). The footpath meanders upwards back and forth, mostly through woodland. At the intersection (1 720 m), take the right-hand path leading gently up to the Refuge des Souffles (1 975 m).
The most battle-hardened hikers can combine this stage with the following day's, arriving at Le Désert-en-Valjouffrey, via Col de la Vaurze in 9 hours 30 minutes.
Report a problem or an error
If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here: