A gateway to Italy, the Aosta Valley/La Thuile
A gateway to Italy, the Aosta Valley/La Thuile
Located just 8 kilometres from the Italian border, in the heart of the Haute-Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, La Rosière is a gateway to Italy’s rich culture. The Aosta Valley (Italy) boasts delicious gourmet cuisine and a wealth of cultural adventures courtesy of our Italian neighbours.
In winter, the slopes of the Espace San Bernardo are the only way to cross the French-Italian border via the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass. Once the snow has melted, however, the Aosta Valley can be accessed by road through the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass. For centuries, this transalpine pass has enriched the savoir-faire and activities of the men who live either side of the border. Despite being such close neighbours, the Tarentaise and Aosta Valleys have each managed to preserve their unique culture. From your base in La Rosière, you can explore the rich heritage of these two stunning valleys, a hundred and one reasons for you to enjoy an al dente holiday in La Rosière!
More information about the Aosta Valley at www.regione.vda.it
Must-visit places in the Aosta Valley in summer
La Thuile, located at an altitude of 1,441 metres, is the first Italian village you encounter after crossing the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass. Encircled by the Ruitor and Mont Blanc massifs, this village resort shares the Espace San Bernardo ski area with La Rosière in winter. Steeped in Aosta Valley traditions, La Thuile is an authentic Italian village. The houses and buildings are made from wood and stone, and the roofs are covered with characteristic “perdre” flagstones, which can only be found in the Tarentaise and Aosta Valleys. A town with a very sweet tooth, La Thuile was elected the “Town of Chocolate” in 2009.
Things to see in La Thuile:
- The charming local architecture, in particular in the village of Pont Serrand (just before La Thuile).
- The coal mine trail. With walks taking between 30 minutes and 4 hours, set off to explore the remains of the local coal mining industry (trolley rails, underground tunnels, ruins and miners’ huts).
- Hiking trails: Ruitor waterfalls, hiking circuits from the San Carlo pass, and high altitude hikes such as the Ruitor glacier.
- La Thuile Bike Zone: a network of downhill, enduro and cross-country trails.
- A host of scheduled summer events and entertainment.
At an altitude of 1,224 metres, the “Italian Chamonix” is one of the mountaineering and skiing capitals of the world, a resort town renowned for Mont Blanc, its water and its history. Through the town centre runs the bustling “Via Roma” upon which sits the striking Casa Delle Guide. This characteristic building houses the Duca degli Abruzzi Alpine Museum, a treasure trove of documents, relics and equipment from epic mountaineering adventures through history.
Things to see in and around Courmayeur:
- La Saxe, famous for its mineral water source.
- Dolonne, where one of the Aosta Valley’s first ski lifts was built.
- An old fort dating back to 1391, located in the centre of the village at the confluence of the Dora della Val Veny and Dora della Val Ferret.
- The Skyway: visit the south face of Mont Blanc up to “Punta Helbronner” at an altitude of 3,452 metres thanks to this brand new cable car with pivoting cabins.
- Myriad activities offer outstanding views of Mont Blanc: hiking in Val Ferret or Val Veny, via ferrata, white water rafting on the Dora Baltea, Courmayeur golf course, various spas, adventure parks, etc.
Pré-Saint-Didier Thermal Spa (Italy – 30km)
Recharge your batteries in the hots springs of Pré-Saint-Didier, in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Built in 1834, the spa’s pools collect thermal water that springs from the mountain at a temperature of around 37°, as pure as it was 1,000 years ago. The spa offers around thirty treatments (3 outdoor thermal pools, saunas, Turkish baths or steam rooms, hydro-massage jets and waterfalls, aromatherapy, panoramic and chromatic relaxation rooms, sensory rooms, etc.). Relaxation and wellness with stunning views of Mont Blanc, an ideal place to get away from it all.
Discover the Pré-Saint-Didier thermal spa
Also known as the “Rome of the Alps” thanks to its abundance of visible and well-preserved remains: Arch of Augustus, Porta Prætoria, Roman Theatre, the Forum’s Cryptoporticus, etc.
This town, which is surrounded by towering peaks (Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and the Gran Paradiso) is at the junction of several valleys and is linked with France via the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass and Switzerland through the Great-Saint-Bernard pass.
Gastronomy: A taste of Italy!
In addition to the region’s best-known dishes (pasta, pizza, polenta, etc.), the Aosta Valley stands out thanks to its home-grown products that boast the Protected Designation of Origin certification:
- Fontina: A cheese made from unpasteurised milk, with two batches made per day, after milking. The milk, which is processed in the region itself, comes only from the Valdôtain breed of cow fed on local fodder
- Fromadzo: This half-fat local cheese, which is not very widely known, is made as per tradition using cow’s milk mixed with goat’s milk.
- Jambon de Bosses: The origins of this ham, produced in the commune of Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses, date back to the 14th century. The ancestral savoir-faire and aging process, which lasts between 12 and 24 months, are what make this pork product unique.
- Lard d’Arnad: A veritable jewel in the crown of peasant life, Lard d’Arnad is now available in shops. It is popular with great gourmet chefs and is celebrated both in Italy and abroad, where it has won numerous gastronomic awards.
The Aosta Valley also stands out due to the Controlled Designation of Origin label on its wines. The Aosta Valley’s seven geographical sub-designations and 22 grape varieties are the jewels in the region’s oenological heritage.
Visit Italy with the FACIM.
Embark on a cultural trip led by a local history guide. In summer, excursions to the Aosta Valley are organised every week.
Cultural trips with a FACIM tour guide