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  • Writer's pictureRita Selles

Hiking in the Vercors

Grenoble is surrounded by three mountain ranges: the Vercors, the Chartreuse Mountains, and the Belledonne. Grenoble and its environs has an amazing array of hiking trails in all of these mountain ranges. We had friends over this weekend and took them on a hike in the Vercors.

The day starts early in order to catch the 7:40am bus to the trail head in a small village called Villard-de-Lans. Our hike starts at about 1100 meters and the trail is called "Col Vert" or green ridge/pass. It is about a 2 hour hike up to 1766 meters. The hard work of climbing is always worth the view at the top!

We cross paths with other hikers, also going up, but also some who are already coming down---running. These folk are likely training for something. A cow pasture is a good place to stop in order to refill our water bottles. Cows on one end and hikers on the other. For longer hikes, there are "refuges", a simple stone construction in which you can stay overnight.

At the top, the view is clear: villages below, Grenoble to the left, but not visible here. On the second picture of the view from the top you can see snow-capped Mont Blanc. You just can't get tired of such sights.

At the top, there is also a marker for the altitude and the time/distance to get back to the trail head which for us, was Villard-de-Lans.

If an amazing view is the reward to getting to the top, lunch is the second reward. Like camping, food always taste better when on a hike!

We find another water source on our way down. And finally, you know you are in ski country when fence lines are anchored by ski poles.

Back at the bottom we visit the village.

The shops sell dried sausages ("saucisson") of all kinds of flavors--pepper, herb, smoked, cheese, Génépi liqueur, etc.

Another local specialty: "Tarte des Alpes"--an alpine pie made with fruits from the mountains. I was tempted to buy one, but did not have room in my backpack.

If we have time before catching the bus back into Grenoble, a stop at a café is the third reward. The larger glass is called a "demi" for a 1/2 pint or 25 cl of beer, and the smaller glass is a "galopin", 15 cl of beer.

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