Category Archives: Events

Seasonal migration – where the grass is greener!

As spring sets in, the seasonal migration of flocks and herds to higher pastures is very much a part of rural life, in parts of France. This year however, the bad weather has kept the animals patiently waiting on lower ground!

Argentière avant la montée à Logan

Argentière before setting off for Lognan!

But  this Saturday 15th June, the traditional ‘troupeaux’ of 600 sheep (Roussillon variety) and 600 goats (Roves), along with donkeys, horses and sheep dogs, will be arriving in the Chamonix Valley. They will be accompanied by our favourite shepherd, Jean-Luc Pitra, as he prepares to spend his 8th consecutive summer at the foot of Mont-Blanc.

So where do they come from and how to they travel?

They come from Tarascon and the Alpilles in Provence. A little too far to migrate on foot, so if you see 2  three decker lorries passing through the valley, direction le Tour this Saturday, you’ll know they’ve arrived. The animals will spend 4 months grazing the mountain pastures (2 months on the slopes of Le Tour –Charamillon and 2 months at Lognan-Le Pendant).

A date for your diaries is the 6th July 2013 for the Foulées du Sel! An alpine celebration to which everybody is cordially invited, provided you don’t mind carrying a bit of salt uphill! The idea is to carry sufficient salt up to the alpine pastures of the Pendant, to sustain the herd throughout the summer – several hundred kilos precisely, but you only have to carry between 1 and 3 kilos!

Following the flock up to Lognan

Following the flock up to Lognan

A young shepherd at work!

A young shepherd at work!

The flock's guard dog enjoys some attention!

The flock’s guard dog enjoys some attention!

Meeting point 8am at Lognan cable car station in Argentière; bus transfer to le Lavancher, where you will set out on foot for the Pendant pastures (approx. 1h30 ). You will be greeted at la Pendant with refreshments and your will be relieved or your salt licks! Then direction Logan (approx 45 mins walk) where you will meet the herd (the animals walk up the Pierre à Ric). Festivities begin around midday with the traditional aperitifs, local cheeses and dried meats; live music with the Tuaz Cousins!

For those with reduced mobility or families with young children, it is possible to reach Logan via the Grands Montets cable car.

A little history

In the 1950’s, all farming activities had practically ceased in the Chamonix Valley.  Mountain pastures and farm dwellings were abandoned in favour of tourist activities. Thanks to the Alpine Society ‘SEA’ and the agro-pastoral association ‘AFP’, the mountain pastures and properties have progressively been restored: Blaitière 1993-94, Charamillon in 1994-95, la Pendant 2002-3 and Balme 2006.

The presence of cattle, sheep and goats grazing the pastures helps to eliminate certain invasive trees and shrubs and as a result the natural biodiversity is able to redevelop. In this way, 150 hectares of pastureland have been restored over the past 8 years.

24H VTT – A new mountain biking race around the clock!

14th and 15th September 2013 – 1st edition of the 24 heures VTT de Chamonix

© OT Chamonix © Jean-Luc Armand

© OT Chamonix © Jean-Luc Armand

JLA 10182-8236

The 24H VTT de Chamonix race will take place on a 12km circuit with a positive vertical gain of 300 metres. The loop will alternate between rolling and very technical portions, less than 5% will take place on asphalt. Sounds easy… but this is an endurance race and 24 hours is a long time in the saddle!

The departure point is the Chamonix paragliding area, located beyond the Maison des Sports. The course climbs gradually through the Bois du Bouchet and the Désert Blanc, then follows a loop on the Norvège trail to the Sources de l’Aveyron, before returning to the Désert Blanc and back to the start of the circuit.

There is a solo race (minimum age 23 years) and team races for 2, 4 and 6 persons, plus a tandem category. Minimum age for the team races is 19 years.
The number of competitors is limited to 1000 persons, so if you’re interested, register a.s.a.p!

For keen young bikers, there is a shorter race:
3H VTT de Chamonix

MTB team race of 4 racers, who will relay for 3H on a 12km loop. Open from U15 to U18 categories. Limited to 100 racers.
registration