Parc national des Écrins : Michelin's recommendations
The 92 000ha of the Parc des Écrins boast a wide variety of wildlife and landscapes. Edelweiss, lavender, glacial buttercups and peonies are among the 1 800 species of plants found here. On the wildlife side, nearly 210 animal species live within its protected boundaries. Those lucky enough will be able to catch glimpses of chamois, wolves, marmots, golden eagles and even bearded vultures. More easy to see are the herds of sheep that graze here every summer on 36 750ha of mountain pastures. The peaks are another unmissable feature. Between Gap, Briançon and Bourg-d'Oisans, over 100 summits are more than 3 000m high, including Meije, Pelvoux, Olan, and the Agneaux. The Barre des Écrins even reaches an altitude of 4 102m. 17 000 glaciers continue to withstand the effects of global warming, among which the Blanc de la Vallouise glacier, a monument which should be seen before it melts like snow in the sun... Further down, cirques and hanging valleys are riddled with some 1 000km of signposted trails. The GR 54, "Tour de l'Oisans", is a great classic, but others include the GR 50, "Tour du haut Dauphiné", and the "Tour du Vieux Chaillol", which crosses the Champsaur. The peripheral region has several winter sports resorts. Information and exhibition centres have been set up at La Chapelle, Embrun and Briançon, and Gap has an excellent documentation centre at the Park's headquarters. Guided tours are organised by the Guides of l'Oisans.