The Bois de Parapin - Parapin wood (trail route no. 1)
Les Vigneaux

The Bois de Parapin - Parapin wood (trail route no. 1)

History and architecture
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Taking you through the village of Les Vigneaux as well as the hamlet of Grand Parcher, this trail offers a pretty setting for a walk that leads partly along the valley bottom, partly on the south-facing slopes. 

“We rise gently uphill along the valley bottom, which is quite wide at this level, with vast wide-open views of the peaks. Then the valley narrows, we approach the Gyronde and here we are at the bottom end of the hamlet of Grand Parcher!” Marie-Geneviève Nicolas, park ranger at the Parc National des Écrins


Follow the track that runs through the Le Courounba campsite and then rises gently uphill along the valley bottom, along the meadow's edge. The track runs close to the Gyronde, ovelooking it.

  1. Cross the river via the bridge, turn left onto the road to Vallouise and then immediately take the track on the right which leads directly uphill to the village of Parcher.
  2. A short distance above the chapel, take the path on the right towards Les Vigneaux. This will join a forest track.
  3. At an intersection above the village, follow the track to the right; it drops down to the top end of the village. Carry straight on along a track and then a narrow road which follows the right-hand bank of a mountain stream, the Torrent du Rif, leading to the bottom end of the village and the road to Vallouise.
  4. Turn right; you soon come to Le Pont du Rif. You then cross the Gyronde which brings you back to the campsite.
  • Departure : Camping le Courounba, Les Vigneaux
  • Arrival : Camping le Courounba, Les Vigneaux
  • Towns crossed : Les Vigneaux and Vallouise-Pelvoux

8 points of interest

  • Geology and geography

    The "ubac"

    The track rises gently up the right-hand bank of the Gyronde, on the "ubac" side. The "ubac" is the slope that is exposed to the north, so it is in shadow in winter when the sun is low in the sky.
  • Flora

    The laserwort

    After the bridge, a large plant with flowers arranged in umbels (in other words, an umbellifer) clings to a small rock bar to the right of the track, the laserwort. This plant belongs to the family Apiaceae, which used to be called umbellifers, and grows in dry areas. It has a distinctive feature: in autumn, the basal part of the stem breaks of its own accord and the entire plant, now dry, sets off rolling down the hillside like a large ball, or is blown by the wind.

  • Water

    Thne Gyronde

    No, we're not in south-west France where the Gironde flows! The Gyronde (spelt with a «y»!) is the river that flows between Vallouise and L'Argentière-La Bessée, where it flows into the Durance. It originates from the Gyr and Onde mountain streams which merge in Vallouise.

  • Vernacular heritage

    The hamlet of Parcher

    The hamlet of Grand Parcher stands on the alluvial cone formed by the Grand Parcher mountain stream, and on either side of it. It is made up of several old houses and the seventeenth-century chapel of Saint-André. It has two sun dials painted onto its walls. One of them bears the saying HORA INCERTA CUNTIS, ULTIMA MULTIS (This hour is uncertain for all, it is the last hour for many). Food for thought!
  • Fauna

    The northern wryneck

    In the spring, an odd song can be heard among the old trees in the orchard, a loud song similar to that of the green woodpecker, only slower. It is that of the northern wryneck. This bird owes its name to the extreme way it extends and twists its neck when it feels threatened. Its French name torcol fourmilier is a reference to the fact that it feeds on ants (fourmils in French). Difficult to spot because its plumage merges into the colour of the tree trunks, it gives its presence away by its song when it returns from its migration.
  • Flora

    On the south-facing slope, pine forest

    The track passes through a forest of Scots pines, mixed with some downy oak trees. It is a forest typical of those found in the lower south-facing slopes (those exposed to the sun) in the intra-alpine valleys.
  • Flora

    Etruscan honeysuckle

    Etruria was the territory of the Etruscans, in the area of present-day Tuscany. Although this honeysuckle does not grow only in Tuscany, it is Mediterranean, however, and only grows naturally in the wild in the southern half of France. Being a plant that needs warmth, it does not grow at altitude, except here where the south-facing slopes are particularly dry and warm. Its large pink and yellow flowers are highly perfumed.
  • History

    The village of Les Vigneaux

    In spite of the altitude, the region's dry climate and the local growing conditions of limestone and sediments facing due south made the planting of grapevines possible as far back as the tenth century. The municipality owes its name to the presence of these vineyard operations, which were very significant in the late nineteenth century. The almost simultaneous appearance of the phylloxera aphid and the Briançon train, bringing wine from Provence, spelled the end of this activity here.


Altimetric profile

Sensitive areas

Along your trek, you will go through sensitive areas related to the presence of a specific species or environment. In these areas, an appropriate behaviour allows to contribute to their preservation. For detailed information, specific forms are accessible for each area.

Short-toed snake eagle

Impacted practices:
Sensitivity periods:
Parc National des Écrins
Julien Charron

Short-toed snake eagle

Impacted practices:
Sensitivity periods:
Parc National des Écrins
Julien Charron


Before setting off, it is very important to check the opening periods for this route on the website:

Share your photographs on social networks with #stationdetrailecrins

Check weather conditions before setting off.

Rescue services contact details: Secours Montagne (Mountain Rescue): +33 (0)4 92 22 22 22 or 112 

Show consideration for the work of farmers, livestock keepers and owners

Close all gates behind you

Take your litter home

Do not take shortcuts across pastureland

The trail routes are also suitable for walking

Information desks

Vallouise Park house

, 05290 Vallouise 92 23 58 08

Information, documentation, models, exhibitions, screenings, product sales and works of the Park. Guided tours for school, reservation required. The new Park House opened in Vallouise since June 1, and offers visitors an interactive permanent exhibition inviting to explore the area and its heritage. A temporary exhibition space will allow a renewed offer. Finally, the device is completed by an audiovisual room to organize screenings and conferences Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.

Find out more


Public transport >>

Consider car-sharing >>

For more information, ask at the Tourist Information Office nearest to the trail starting point.  

Access and parking

10 km from L'Argentière-La Bessée, take the D994E.

Parking :

Camping le Courounba car park, Les Vigneaux

More information


Report a problem or an error

If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here:

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