Balcony with a view
This route from the Isère valley to the Plateau des Petites Roches offers beautiful scenery and
excellent views of the Belledonne range. Along the way you can also visit a chateau, a fort and
a traditional paper mill, and ride a steep funicular railway.
Le funiculaire des Petites Roches
The Petites Roches funicular railway climbs from the town of Lumbin, in the Grésivaudan valley, to Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet. This is one of the oldest scenic railways (1924), and also one of the steepest (83% below the tunnel). The dizzying climb offers magnificent views, especially of the Belledonne, Chartreuse, and Bauges mountains, as well as of a nearby waterfall. Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet is a mecca for aerial sports, so paragliding pilots can also be spotted riding the funicular.
Every year in September, the area hosts the Coupe Icare (‘Icarus cup’) and the International Aerial Sports Film Festival. In 2013 the event
will celebrate its 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion, more than 10,000 paragliding pilots from all over the world will take to the skies to perform a poetic, ethereal display for some 80,000 spectators.
Le fort Barraux
Standing guard over the Grésivaudan valley, Fort Barraux was once one of the most prestigious strongholds of the Alps. The fort was commissioned by the Duke of Savoy, and built on French territory in 1597 by Ercole Negro. It was taken over in 1598 by Constable Lesdiguières, acting under the orders of King Henri IV. Vauban overhauled the fort in the late 17th century. It has been the property of the community of Barraux since 1988, and is a registered historic landmark, as it provides a well-preserved example of fortified architecture.
Le château du Touvet
The Château du Touvet also has a rich history.
Originally a medieval fortress surrounded by towers and moats, it was transformed into a decorative chateau in the 18th century, and adorned with remarkable interior décor. The chateau features splendid 18th century gardens and a variety of fountains and pools, including a staircase fountain fed by the waters of the Chartreuse. The descendants of the same family have lived in the chateau for five hundred years, but it is open to the general public.
Moulin de la Tourne
Also in the Grésivaudan area, the Moulin de la Tourne paper mill is located in the community of Les Marches, not far from the route. You’ll discover the history of paper, the process of artisanal papermaking as it is still practiced today, and the evolution of different printing techniques.
The wines of Grésivaudan
The Grésivaudan valley, located just a short distance from Savoie, is also wine country. In Bernin, winemaker Thomas Finot produces quality wines made from local grape varieties, including Verdesse en Blanc, Persan and Etraire de la Dhuy. Finot also grows some widely known varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Viognier. This young, environmentally responsible winemaker takes meticulous care of his vineyards, and uses traditional vinifi cation methods to ensure that his wines are the true expression of the fruit and terroir.
Domaine Finot: Tel. +33(0)4 76 72 43 67 or +33(0)6 84 95 21 44.