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Argentière-la-Bessée

Pop : 2334h Elevation : 1000m
Department of HautesAlpes


From Briançon or Guillestre by RN94
L'Argentière-la-Bessée is a large valley village overlooked by its belltower, perfectly located on the edge of the Ecrins National Park. It's a great centre for high mountain sports activities, and also for white water sports, due to the presence of a kayak school.

If your area of interest is industrial and religious heritage, you'll admire the Saint Jean chapel erected in the 12th century, and Saint Apollinaire church dating back to the 15th century, as well as the mining village active in the 19th century. L'Argentière-la-Bessée has everything to satisfy the most varied tastes!

It is also located on the pilgrim's route to Saint James of Compostella, and the chapel of Saint-Jean-Baptiste is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in the whole region. In Saint Appollinaire church you'll admire the exterior frescoes painted in the 16th century, representing the virtues, the vices and hell.

L'Argentière-la-Bessée, which owes its name to the silver mines exploited since the 11th century ("argent" is the French word for silver), offers the visitor several journeys back into its industrial past, thanks to a Mining Museum in an 18th century château, and its 20 kilometres of tunnels, which you can explore, following in the footsteps of the silver miners.

Unless you suffer from claustrophobia, you'll enjoy the underground itinerary, which will enable you to discover the mining equipment remaining from the 19th century such as the pumping system, the hydraulic wheel, hoists, etc - once you have donned your protective helmet of course. You can also visit the mining village of Le Suquet, built on the banks of the Fournel mountain stream, where you'll be able to imagine the life of the miners, the director's house, the position of the forges and the ore preparation workshop.

Worth visiting :

Saint-Apollinaire church (15th century).
aint-Jean-Baptiste chapel (12th century),
Cellar of the Planche house (19th century),
Pertuis-Rostan, ancient Briançon area gateway (14th century).
Silver mine museum, St Jean château.
Mining village of Le Suquet.
Silver mines in the valley of Fournel (20 km of tunnels)

Leisure activities :

Canoe Kayak (in the Durance).
White water stadium. Canyoning. Indoor swimming pool.
Gymnasium. Climbing (via ferrata).
Artificial ice waterfall climbing.
Hiking (GR 541 footpath)
to discover the prestigious reserve of blue thistles,
a rare and protected species in this site, the only one of its kind in Europe.


Neighbouring villages not to be missed :

Briançon (17km), St Martin de Queyrières (8,5km)
Mont Dauphin (16km), Vallouise (10km )

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