5 things we love about…the Queyras!

Blue mountain lake and hikers in the French Alps

1 : The Queyras is off the beaten track… in an accessible way!

An hour by road through the winding valleys of the French Alps won’t get you too far as the crow flies, but in the case of the Queyras you feel like you’re entering a whole different world! This high Alpine valley is at the same time fabulously isolated, but also accessible at a little over an hour’s drive from our office here at France Outdoors, making it one of our favourite walking or winter spots. A protected area and Regional Natural Park, the Queyras has high alpine meadows, calm larch forests and deep blue mountain lakes. It’s the ideal location for snowshoeing holidays, walking holidays or road cycling climbs.

the queyras natural park
Mountain pass in the Queyras

The gates to the Queyras are at Mont Dauphin, with its historic Vauban Fort ; the Col d’Izoard, famous cycling col in the Tour de France, and the Col Agnel leading into Italy. On foot, the Queyras is traversed by the GR5 Grande Randonnée itinerary, and the GR58 Tour du Queyras (“GR” or “Grandes Randonnées” are marked and mapped long walking itineraries)

2 : Its 3000+m Alpine peaks & 2000+m cycling cols

The Queyras has almost 30 peaks over 3000 metres, such as the Pic de Caramantran at 3025m, situated between France and Italy with fabulous views of the 3841m Mont Viso. The 3320m Pic de Rochebrune is the highest peak in the Queyras.

Pic de caramantran in the French Alps
Pic de caramantran in the French Alps

The Col d’Izoard is one of the 2000m+ cycling cols of the tour de France, and known for its lunar Casse Déserte, a rocky formation near the summit of the col.

3: Its fabulous snowshoeing itineraries

Accessible by road even in winter, the Queyras is the ideal snowshoeing destination in the French Alps, with the the valley criss-crossed by paths both for walking in summer and snowshoeing in winter. There’s something for everyone, with rolling slopes and more technical climbs. The peace of the valleys in winter is something to be experienced, with the only sound the crunch of the snow underfoot and the occasional soft fall of snow from the larch branches.

A well-earned break!

As well as snowshoeing the Queyras is a haven for winter activity holidays and activities such as Nordic skiing on groomed trails, and cross country ski touring. There’s even some downhill skiing in the family stations of Molines and Abriès.

4: Quaint hotels & rustic huts

Fortunately the Queyras hasn’t been invaded by the hotel chains and anonymous restaurants of mass tourism; because of its protected nature and the locals will, hopefully this will never be the case. We love the local family run hotels, and the mountain refuges provide food and shelter for weary travellers !

Hotel view in St Véran

5: The “highest village in Europe”!

Ok, so this one might be a bit controversial… St Véran is locally known as “la village la plus haute d’Europe” or the highest village in Europe. A quick Google search will tell you that several other European villages lay claim to the title. We’re prepared to go with local tradition and say that it’s St Véran. At over 2000m altitude, it’s sure that the snow is plentiful for our yearly French Alps – Queyras snowshoeing trip.

View over the rooftops of St Véran

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