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The Chartreuse Mountains and Valleys

15 June, 2015

The National Park of the Chartreuse is a wonderful region enclosed by high mountains and containing beautiful rivers and meadows.  In winter it is popular for skiing.  Summertime makes it fabulous for walking.  There is the choice of taking the high ridges all around such as the Charmant Som (1867m) or Grand Som (2026m) or enjoying gentler strolls through woods and meadows on the lower ground.  IMG_20150610_150348

Accommodation is plentiful and good quality and the food is hearty with pommes dauphinoise and cheese fondue commonly served.  It’s all a bit heavy for me especially as the pommes dauphinoise was served very night in each of the places I stayed as I walked  through the region.IMG_20150610_111734

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Big recommendation for the Auberge de Sarcenas http://aubergesarcenas.com/ where I ate wonderful stuffed pasta with wild mushrooms and grilled lamb with other walkers and local workers.

I accessed the park on foot from the south through Grenoble which is a big climb and exited north-westwards through the narrow Gorges du Guiers to Les Echelles which still counts as within the Chartreuse but lies outside the mountain bowl.

It was here in the Chartreuse that I was astonished to encounter first this sign for a pilgrimage route to Assisi in Italy – the Via Francigena.  I know this route well in Tuscany and had no idea that it extended so far northwards into France.  I have been unable yet to track the route through france.  but the link here gives the route in Italy.  It is competing in the Chartreuse region with the route to Compostela which the Spanish have so brilliantly promoted into THE European pilgrimage route.  For my money this route to Assisi is worth a strong consideration as a long-distance route and for those wanting to make a pilgrimage it is a very respectable one to choose.  It is much less busy and commercial than the Compostela route.

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