THE FARMERS’ TRAIL

This circuit boasts breathtaking views of the Combe des Moulins valley and its torrents. Start: Plan de l’Arc. Competent hikers.

CATTLE

In the past, the landowners around Plan Pigeux would get together to share the use of their pastures, grouping their cattle into one big herd. In 1924 these farmers formed the Plan Pigeux Farmer’s Association, which brought together 17 farmers and 35 Tarentaise cows, the native breed of the Tarentaise area. This association employed a full team of four men during the summer season in the high altitude pastures, with one person responsible for making the cheese. The herd was managed by the head herdsman (maître berger), assisted by the deputy herdsman (petit berger) and the calf herdsman (berger de veaux). The cows were milked twice a day in specially-built farm buildings high up on the mountain, used as shelter for both the animals and the farmers. The farmers took turns to provide supplies for the alpine pastures, as well as selling the produce. The introduction of this “cooperative” had several advantages, not least giving each farmer more time to take care of other essential tasks, such as haymaking and looking after his other animals. Grouping the cows together in one herd meant that the farmers produced a larger quantity of milk, allowing them to make larger cheeses, which were more profitable. The cheese-maker made a type of gruyère, which later became known as Beaufort, the area’s most famous cheese. The Plan Pigeux Farmer’s Association came to an end in 1963 due to the diminishing herd and the development of agriculture following the war. Today, the high mountain pastures are still roamed by heifers, which are taken up to enjoy the lush mountain grass in the warm summer months.

ITINERARY

After Les Eucherts village, just before the Plan de l’Arc, take upper track towards the Combe des Moulins. Go under the Landelières chairlift and carry on down the same track. Just after the bottom of the Fort chairlift turn right onto a pathway. At the sign for the “Source Captée”, keep going straight up. Cross the Combe des Moulins, and when you reach “La Pierre Gravée” take the path to your right. Cross the Torrent des Moulins stream and continue along the side of the mountain towards Plan Pigeux. When you reach Plan Pigeux, take two right turns as you walk amongst the ruined buildings and head down towards the Torrent des Moulins. Climb up towards Putétruit. Go past the chalets then follow the track back up to the Plan de l’Arc.

From 07/01 to 10/31 : open daily.

Free of charge

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