Wednesday 17 August

On the way to the falls

There was a family last night making an unholy racket around the campsite until ten o’clock – mainly children shouting and running around but some loud adult voices too.

In the morning we drive back up the valley to the lake at Maison de la Nature, and then take the footpath up to the Cascade du Pissou by way of the Fond de France. Today is a scorcher – not a cloud in the sky – and for the first part there is absolutely no shade.

It is a bit after eleven when we reach the falls and we are not the only ones there. I had not really expected anything quite so impressive; it is possibly a hundred metres tall (though not a continuous drop) with lots of water coming down.

(magnify) On the way to the falls
(magnify) Cascade du Pissou
(magnify) Cascade du Pissou

We make a circuit, returning to the van via La Martinette and around the other side of the lake. It is nearly half past twelve when we arrive back and we are glad we decided not to do the longer version starting from Pont de la Valloire. We have walked five and a half kilometres with two hundred metres’ height gain.

(magnify) The lake below Fond de France

After lunch we drive back down to Allevard-les-Bains and find a supermarket where we restock. Then it is back a short way up the same set of hairpins before turning off for Le Collet d’Allevard. We hope to camp near the bottom of the chair lift and tomorrow take it up to the tops.

Deserted campsite

The campsite is all but deserted. It is mainly skiing chalets, but there are terraced pitches for motorhomes further around the corner.

We wander up to the ski resort but that too is deserted, although we do learn that the lower chairlift which starts from here is not after all open during the summer. On our return to the campsite we still can’t find the owner, so we choose ourselves a pitch near to an electricity point and set ourselves up. Good news – the electricity is on! That is more than can be said of the washing facilities though, which are firmly locked up.

Time for a rest. R is particularly tired. Since the lower chairlift is closed we will drive to the bottom of the upper one tomorrow, which means we are striking camp and might as well return all the way to a campsite in Allevard for tomorrow night.

Later I walk back up to the resort and see people coming down the main ski run on what look like all-terrain scooters. It is still very hot.

We have barbecued kebabs with pasta and ratatouille for dinner. There is still no sign of the site owner so we sit on a bench in the shade up in the resort watching the shadows engulf the valley, then finally return to the van. It is almost completely silent, and we are in bed soon after nine.