Val Thorens April 2013


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Artemare

We landed in Lyon, collected our hired car and drove towards a small village called Artemare where we had booked a caravan in a campsite. It was already dark when we arrived, but the owner still waited for us. It rained all night and all day the next day.

On the map below, the coloured lines represent the routes we took. The red markers show waterfalls and gorges. You can zoom in/out using your mouse wheel and move the map simply by dragging it.

Initially, we decided to go for a walk near the campsite. At the reception, they gave us a detailed map with the routes, but we were well prepared and Victor had the map on his GPS. Just above the campsite, there was a huge waterfall called "Cascade de Cerveyrieu". You can only reach it from above and look over the edge down a 60m vertical drop.

This is part of the canyon of river Seran just above the waterfall. This part resembles a smile.

Canyon above the waterfall.

The Cascade de Cerveyrieu waterfall.

We passed the picturesque village of Massignieu. Nearly in every mountain village you can come across a wash house, where back in the old days, women did the washing and socialised. In French it's called "lavoir et fontaine". Such wash houses were built near the springs in the mountains in 18th/19th centuries. When the houses were connected to the main water supply and washing machines became available, the washing houses were abandoned. Only recently have people started to renovate them: the roofs were fixed, the basins got cleaned and flowers were planted.

Where does the water flow?

Our mobile-home in the campsite and our car next to it.

After lunch we decided to visit more remote waterfalls and canyons.

This small lake is called "Source du Groin". It is the source of river Groin. In the Spring, there is plenty of water...

But in the Summer, this place looks very different (this picture is from http://www.lacreta.fr/images/Trougroin.jpg).

Another wash house at Fontaine de l'Adoue.

Water comes straight out of the rock face. There is a small chapel built next to it.

In the same village we came across a communal oven. It is called "four banal" in French. Villagers uses to bake bread there once a week in the olden days. It seems like this one is still in use now: it is very tidy and clean, but we could not figure out how often it is used.

Canyon "Gorge de Turignin".

A lot of water flows downstream!

We found a big log and ....

Sent it on a journey down the river.

But it didn't get very far, it got stuck in the nearest whirlpool.

In a small pool there will soon be plenty of tadpoles.

We found some very unusual snowdrops
with yellow spots.

Waterfall "Cascade de Charabotte". We didn't get close to it,
but even from a distance it looks impressive.

Our last waterfall for the day: Cascade de Claire Fontaine in the village Virieu-le-Grand. It was getting dark by the time we got to it; although quite small, it was still pretty and had a little cave in it.

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