5 points of interest
Secrets of the peat bog
This vast grassy expanse is one of the finest peat bogs in the Mercantour.
Peat bogs are rich in information: its depth is more than 8 metres. The succession of layers contains precious clues (grains of pollen, plant debris, etc…). They allow scientists to date things back as far as 9500 years ago.These wetland areas which have little oxygen but plenty of nitrogen are home to flora adapted to the environment, namely bog plants: sphagnum moss, cotton grass with its gracious white cotton toupee as well as Alpine butterwort, one of the carnivorous plant species which can be found in France.
The grassy plateau of Laus
The grassy plateau of Laus has been a living memory of life for 9000 years. It was created as the glaciers shrank, a lake occupied the site. The fact that it was not very deep, in addition to the floods of sediment and organic matter flowing into it accelerated the process of filling in this lake. The biggest role was played by bryophytes: while their roots decompose, bryophytes keep growing upwards, trapping pollen. Analysing them allows us to retrace the history of existence in the area.Despite gradually drying out for several thousand years, the process is still ongoing today. This environment is still damp and contains plants which are more readily associated with peat bogs. The winding curves of the Serpentine gleam on this plateau.
Where is this water coming from?
The beautiful outlet that you see before you is a singular case in hydrogeology: it is unique in the Mercantour and almost so in the Alps! Indeed, this water is escaping from Lac d’Allos which makes it a very rare case of a lake without an overflow and it is even more remarkable when you consider that this is the biggest natural high-altitude lake in Europe whose depth varies from 42 to 49 metres depending on the year.The spring formed is called Chadoulin, an affluent of the left bank of the Verdon.
Created by the glaciers of the quaternary period, Lac d'Allos is the biggest natural lake at this altitude in Europe (62ha). It waters come from the thawing snow as well as from springs, and they reach up to 42m in depth. It burgeons with more life than in the previous lakes: invertebrates, juvenile fish, brown trout and arctic char.
Lac d'Allos is an incredibly fragile environment due to the extreme conditions and the low number of plant and animal species. The arctic trout which exist here are, for reasons which remain unknown, affected by dwarfism. Any pollution or modification of the environment would be disastrous. But the presence of the National Park should today ensure that the lake can live in peace.
Lac d'Allos refuge
Refuge managed by the commune of Allos
Capacity: 40 places
Warden: June to September. Shelter room located just above the refuge, open 365 days per year.
Tel. 04 92 83 00 24
http://refuge-du-lac-dallos.comVal d’Allos Tourism Office: 04 92 83 02 81
From Laus carpark, you will begin the hike via three sets of steps cut into the sandstone. For Joëlette off-road wheelchairs, take the tarmacked road which leads to the forest hut. After the forest house, follow the track (GR white and red markers) which heads into the larch forest.
Let the GR head off to the left and bear right on the interpretation trail (GR yellow and red markers). Admire the landscape which spreads out below the lake spring, which is the source of the Chadoulin river. Now leave the GR to head off to the right and go towards the lake until you reach La Chapelle Notre Dame des Monts. Once you get to the refuge, begin the circuit of the lake on your left.
Enjoy the magnificent scenery, observing the marmots and chamois on the surrounding green slopes. From the refuge, use the same itinerary to get back to the departure point.
- Departure : Laus carpark
- Arrival : Laus carpark
- Towns crossed : Allos
Free bus service in Val d'Allos (Transports Haut-Verdon Voyages): http://ete.valdallos.com/
Tel.:04 92 83 95 81
LER PACA lines to reach Digne-les-Bains,
Barcelonnette and Nice
Tel.: 00 33 (0) 821 202 203
Departmental services in Alpes-de-Haute Provence Regular/weekly services Digne-les-Bains, Barcelonnette, Larche and Digne-les-Bains, Colmars, Allos, Conseil Général Transport Service
Tel.: 00 33 (0)4 92 30 08 00
Chemins de Fer de Provence from Nice to Digne-les-Bains
Tel.: 00 33 (0) 4 97 03 80 80
SNCF's Accès Plus service for handicapped people
Tél.: 00 33 (0)890 640 650 then press 1
Tel.: 36 35 then say "Accès Plus"
Access and parking
From the village of Allos (Department 04), located on the RD908, follow directions for Lac d'Allos.
Le Laus carpark- Restricted access:
The road is open from 26th May to 15th October (according to a municipal bylaw) up to Laus carpark
- Pay and display carpark from 30th June to 26th August from 8.30am to 5.00pm (6€ per car and 2€ for motorbikes/scooter, approx. 180 parking spaces)- free access before 8.30am and after 5.00pm
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