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Saint-Véran

Population : 267h Elevation : 2040m
Department of Hautes Alpes


From Guillestre via the D902 then the D5

“Where the chickens peck at the stars ". This is the slogan of Saint-Véran "the highest municipality in Europe", hidden right at the end of a little road.

Once you've parked in the huge car park (compulsory and with a 2 euro charge), located well below the village, take a deep breath and climb up to the heart of the village, since motorised traffic is prohibited in summer, for visitors.

You won't be disappointed because Saint Véran is definitely worth the effort !

It is built up high on a plateau overlooking the valley, and could easily be classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, thanks to its wealth of original heritage: wooden drinking troughs and fountains, sculpted wooden mission crosses, old bread ovens, numerous superb sundials on the frontages, shingle roofs, grey stone lauze roofs, a beautiful 17th century mountain church, and above all its traditional old houses built using larch wood - called "fustes" - in perfect condition.

The oldest of these "fustes" is called "le Soum", built back in 1641, which has now become a museum open to visitors.

It was still used as a dwelling as recently as 1976 where people and animals lived together. Today, "le Soum" presents an exhibition on three levels of old agricultural machinery and implements, furniture and other wooden objects (usually made from larch wood apart from the furniture made from Cembro Pine), wooden skis and also wooden scooters and satchels !

As you visit this marvellous museum, you'll learn that the cows lived with the inhabitants in a common room, that the fireplace was only used once or twice a year, that the bread was made in summer and then stored in the soup in winter to soften it, and that the toilets were outside, consisting of a chair with a hole in the seat and a bucket underneath !

Finally, don't leave Saint Véran without taking a little stroll to appreciate the protected natural environment in the Queyras regional park … and don't forget to try the local specialities : tourtons (dumplings) from Champsaur, as crispy as you like, salty (with potatoes or cheese) or sweet (with jam) !

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Worth visiting :

Le Soum museum
in the Forannes quarter (€ 3.8 entrance fee)
Old copper mine exhibition (no entrance fee)
Wooden fountains. Sundials
17th century church with its baroque altar piece
Mission Cross. Clausis Chapel
Observatory of Pic de Château-Renard
(3 hour walk from the village) : observation site
and tours of the dome every afternoon from June to September.

Leisure activities :

In winter : Downhill skiing: skiing area of Saint-Véran Molines
(38 km of ski runs, 14 ski lifts and 1 chair lift)
Cross-country skiing (55 km of marked runs and itineraries)
Snow shoes. Seal skin hikes
In summer : hiking (GR58, circuit of Queyras)
Pony-trekking. Mountain-biking. Fishing in lakes and rivers
Climbing site (1/2 hour on foot from the Clausis Chapel)
Summer toboganning.

Accommodation and eating out :

2 Holiday centres
3 Refuges-Hiking gîtes. 8 Hotels
2 Bed & breakfast. Furnished rentals.


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Neighbouring villages not to be missed :

Molines (5,5km)


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