Vercors, northward bound
This refreshing outing in the north of Vercors Regional Park offers breath-taking views from the Molière ridge, as well as an unusual geological curiosity in the form of a crack in the ground that exhales cool air.
Alpage de la Molière
Above Autrans, the Alpage de la Molière (meaning ‘well-watered alpine pasture’) is a traditional grazing spot for heifers. It is home
to a wide variety of plant and animal species (orchids, marmots, chamois, deer, black grouse). The area is listed as a Natural Zone of Ecological Interest. A couple of extra kilometres of uphill riding takes you to the Molière ridge, where you’ll be rewarded by superb panoramic views of the mountains of Belledonne, Chartreuse, Écrins, and even Mont Blanc.
Le plateau de Gève
Just a little ways downhill you’ll come to the Plateau de Gève, a legendary spot for Nordic skiing. In the summer, the area transforms into a beautiful meadow surrounded by forests.
You can stop for a meal at the Refuge de Gève, and relax in the storvatt, an outdoor, wood-fired Scandinavian hot tub. It’s the perfect way to relieve muscle soreness! Also in the community of Autrans, the Olympic ski jumps are a reminder of how the 1968 Winter Games transformed this village into a mecca for Nordic skiing. The ski jumps (70, 56, and 20 metres) are still used today, and carry on the long tradition of ski jumping in Autrans. A synthetic surface also makes it possible to use the jumps for summer training.
There is a panoramic map at the summit of the 70-metre jump.
Le Trou qui souffle
Uphill from Méaudre, the Trou Qui Souffl e (‘blow hole’) is actually a crack in the ground that exhales cool air from the depths of the caves below. This vertical tunnel is the entrance to a vast underground network of caves that channel the waters of Val d’Autrans-Méaudre to the opening known as the Goule Noire, where the waters flow into the Gorges de la Bourne.
Recipe courtesy of Régis Aribert of the hotel-restaurant La Buffe, in Autrans
3 kg potatoes
1 L milk
1 L fresh Vercors cream