From the sun-kissed rolling green Alpine pastures to fragrant forests and tinkling streams, the plateaus and slopes of the valley offer the most exceptional views. The ideal setting for letting go and revitalization for an oxygen-filled weekend mini-break!
Sun and pure, clean air, the valley's zen combination
Half-way between Gap, Digne-les-Bains and Barcelonnette, the Blanche Serre-Ponçon valley, near the Lac de Serre-Ponçon, is dominated by high ridges which reach altitudes of over 2,700 metres. Lavender, Martagon lilies and edelweiss perfume its beautiful larch forests and you can see chamois, mouflon and ibex frolicking in the distance. A poet coined these few words to describe the valley’s landscapes: “a little bit of Switzerland lost under the Provencal sun”. Recharge your batteries outdoors in the open-air museum of the Natural Geology Reserve of Haute-Provence. There are treasures to discover in the UNESCO Geopark of the Pays de Seyne such as the Citadelle Vauban and the Maison du Mulet, the site of the Saut de la Pie waterfall in Auzet, the Clues de Barles and the Col du Fanget. And also several fossil sites, which can be reached on footpaths, such as the Lame de Facibelle, the Vélodrome panorama and the Icthysoaurus Site. The valley holds promises of reunions in the middle of nature and great family moments.
Day 1Calm and serenity in Montclar
Montclar, an authentic little mountain village, is Village de Montagne et Station Verte de Vacances approved. Located near the Col Saint-Jean, which gave it the name of Saint-Jean Montclar, it has an asphalt loop made of whoops (a succession of little bumps), contours and banked curves which are an invitation to mountain biking, BMX, scooter biking, skateboard, rollers… you’ve got it, anything that has wheels but no engine. It’s known as the pump track and it’s the most fun-filled activity of the weekend before you go back to Chambres et Tables d’hôtes La Petite Bonnette Les Piolles, At over 1,300 metres, at the foot of the great Dormillouse which looks down over the Blanche valley, your stay will have a zen and mountain atmosphere. Not far away, the Table de l’Adoux restaurant provides quality, delicious cuisine for a lunch or a dinner open onto the pine forest and nature, or in the sun on the terrace. An à la carte menu, and three simple and authentic selected menus made with fresh, home-cooked, local and seasonal produce. Shoulder of lamb with tapenade and gratin de ravioles, fondue with blet mushrooms, caillette de pays aux pommes, the melting heart of a Tarte Tatin with salted butter caramel or apricot soup and its fresh mint shortbread.
Day 2A gentle escapade in Seyne-les-Alpes
The village of Seyne-les-Alpes, a mere two hours from Marseille, between Digne-les-Bains and the Lake of Serre-Ponçon, with its back to the colline de la Robine and crowned with its Vauban Fort and its “Grande tour”. In the valley, part of the Geopark of Haute-Provence listed by UNESCO beckons. After having visited the Maison du Mulet, where the donkeys and mares graze in the pastures, follow Clément Vieau for a guided hike in the Massif des Monges, surely one of the last great wild territories in France. You can see the age-old tradition of transhumance and share it with the shepherd or try one of the hikes around the Lake of Serre-Ponçon. There, the peaks which rise to nearly 2,500 metres are reflected in the turquoise water of the lake. At the campsite of Camping Les Prairies, comfort goes with pleasure. The heated pool, the big playground where pétanque and ping-pong are the favourites and barbecues to get together at. On a more private note, the bistro chic restaurant L’Insolent invites you to sample a cuisine where modernity and tradition combine with all the sophistication, quality and freshness of a cuisine dreamed up in novel combinations. The products are local and carefully selected in the local market and from local producers and farmers. And what’s more, you get a stunning view of the L’Aiguillette and Rocheclose mountains and a moment suspended in time.