Les Gourniers discovery path

Les Gourniers discovery path

History and architecture
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A discovery path with interpretation tables and botanical labels, around the hamlet of Les Gourniers and its «giant's cauldron».

This valley-bottom hamlet has retained its traditional charm. The street, edged with rather modest houses, leads to the former school (the Park information centre in July and August) and the small chapel, the Chapelle de la Nativité. I know all the locals and for me it's a real pleasure to spend time listening to the old people talking about years gone by in this mountain valley where - not so very long ago - life was hard. (Mireille Coulon, Park Ranger)


In the car park on the right before the bridge. A panel describes and gives details of the route. Take the stone steps on the right which lead to the path. Go along the roadside until you reach the end of the field and take the uphill path on the left. All along the route, there are interpretation tables offering a description and understanding of the valley's landscapes.
  1. You can continue straight ahead for a there-and-back detour to the foot of the La Pissarotte waterfall (allow 15 minutes).
  2. Cross the footbridge over the mountain stream and then head back towards the top end of the hamlet, not forgetting to turn left down to the belvedere that overlooks the giant's cauldron ("Marmite de géant")..
  3. After going past a house, turn left to drop down to the hamlet and back to the car park.
  • Departure : Les Gourniers
  • Arrival : Les Gourniers
  • Towns crossed : Réallon

11 points of interest

  • Fauna

    Carrion crow

    The carrion crow is a medium-sized corvid, slightly larger than the rook. It is easy to avoid confusing them, as the latter has a narrower, straight beak with a whitish base. Its plumage creates green reflections. The males and females are identical in appearance when young.

  • Flora

    Yellow gentian

    It is easy to see why this perennial plant, with a strong, hollow stem and which can grow up to one metre tall, is commonly called the great gentian. At the end of the stem, it carries several tiers of yellow flowers grouped into whorls, supported by a pair of large opposing leaves. This species can be told apart from others in the genus not only by its colour but also because the corolla is made up of five or six petals.

  • Flora


    A majestic tree with a smooth, steel grey trunk. It has bright, shiny leaves which turn to russet in the autumn. The seeds, or beechnuts, are set into a small spiky woody shell. Here, the beech is growing at the limit of its distribution; they are at their highest in the Durance valley.

  • Flora

    Burnt-tip orchid

    Its name comes from the deep purple colour at the end of the flower spike. 10 to 30 cm tall, this orchid grows in sunny meadows, in limey soil. The flowers are small and arranged into a tight spike.
  • Flora

    Cupid's dart

    This 30 to 70 cm high plant has slender leaves, some linear with a few narrow side lobes. It is distinctive for its flower heads with parchment-like, translucent bracts and a broad russet median vein ending in a little point. The flowers are all ray-shaped and serrated at the tip. They are blue to purplish, darker at the base.
  • Flora

    Martagon lily

    The martagon lily is distinctive for its long upright flower spike. It bears 3 to 10 flowers which are violet-pink streaked with purple, out of which its long orangey stamens emerge. It’s better to admire it from a distance because, beautiful as it is, it has an unpleasant smell!
  • Geology and geography

    Giant’s cauldron

    The term ‘Giant’s cauldron’ describes a cavity created by a current of water in a standing rock. Here, the waters and the pebbles of the Chargès torrent whirl around polishing the cavity and giving it its spectacular shape. 

  • Fauna

    Brown trout

    This wild trout of the salmonid family is 25 to 100 cm long. Its streamlined body and well-developed fins make it a very efficient swimmer in fast-flowing water. The deepness of the colour on its back varies depending on the environment. Its back and sides are decorated with black dots outlined with pink.
  • Architecture

    Chapel of the Nativity

    It is difficult to be sure of the chapel's date of construction, but is existed in 1700. The bell was installed in 1870, but the bell tower was built in 1956. In 2013, a new larch shingle roof replaced the old corrugated iron roof, 
  • Architecture

    Hamlet of Les Gourniers

    The old houses of the hamlet are modest in appearance. They are built from stone and have sheet metal roofs. They used to be roofed with slate extracted from the nearby quarries
  • Vernacular heritage

    Communal oven

    This is located in the basement of the former school (now the Park Information Centre). It is regularly used on the occasion of local festivals and events.


Altimetric profile

Information desks

Information center "les Gourniers" (summer only)

Les Gourniers, 05160 Réallon

http://www.ecrins-parcnational.fr/embrunais@ecrins-parcnational.fr04 92 44 30 36

Les Gourniers
05160 Réallon
Tel : 

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Maison du Parc de l'Embrunais

Place de l’Église, 05380 Châteauroux-les-Alpes

http://www.ecrins-parcnational.fr/embrunais@ecrins-parcnational.fr04 92 43 23 31

Information, documentation, exhibition, screenings, products and books of the Park. Accessible to people with reduced mobility. Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.

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Access and parking

From Savines-le-Lac, take the D41 to Réallon, then follow the D241 until you come to the hamlet of Les Gourniers in the valley bottom.

Parking :

Car park, Les Gourniers


Parc national des Ecrinshttps://www.ecrins-parcnational.fr

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