Circuit découverte : La vallée du Giffre et le Cirque du Fer à Cheval

Road in Annemasse
145.4 km
  • Difference in height
    2711 m
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
  • Accepted customers
    • Individuals
Points of interest
1 Ecomusée Paysalp
A discovery of the life of the peasants of the past through 500 m2 of exhibition and more than 5000 objects.
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2 Chartreuse de Mélan
The site has been in existence for 700 years that has taken it from monastery and small seminary, via local orphanage to its current role as a renowned contemporary art centre and concert hall.<br/>Visit the Charteuse de Mélan! *
Built in the 13th century, the Chartreuse de Mélan was a monastery for nuns of the Carthusian order until the French Revolution. It became a school in 1804. In 1906 it was acquired by the Department of Haute-Savoie and was converted into an orphanage in 1923. A fire in 1967 destroyed most of the buildings, taking 18 victims.

Today, only the church, the cloister, and the old farm remain standing. A blend of medieval simplicity and contemporary art, the site pairs the austere architecture and partially preserved frescoes of the church with a sculpture park.
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3 Peal of bells at Taninges and harmonium museum
The peal of bells at Taninges, in the church belltower, is the largest in the area: it has 40 bells and every year attracts expert bellringers for concert performances. It also houses a collection of harmoniums.
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4 St Jean-Baptiste Church of Taninges
A monumental church by its size but also by its history !<br/>Built between 1824 and 1834 by the architect Prosper Dunant, the St Jean-Baptiste church is from the last architectural style of the States of Savoy : neo-classic Sardinian. Before, it was the biggest of the diocese of Annecy : 58 m length, 27 m wide and 18 m height.
The facade of the building looks austere with few ornaments, but inside there is a profusion of decoration : paintings on the vault and pillars, stalls, carved wood and multicolored stained glasses.

The visitor will visit a religious building and will discover how the jacquemarde population was decorating its churches there during the XIXth century.
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5 Samoëns Tourist Office
The safest way to a successful holiday in Samoëns. Located near the centre of the village, beside a vast free car park, the artificial winter ice rink, the Tourist Office is open to visitors all year round.<br/>Within the framework of its quality reception approach, the Tourist Office participates in the success of your stay, by offering you, via its reception and information area, free services which will improve and simplify your holidays in Samoëns and by committing itself to provide you with the following services
- To provide you with the information you need to make your stay in our village resort a success.
- To assist you in your search for accommodation and to direct you to the service provider(s) likely to be able to help you.
Our reception service offers you the following services:
- Registration for free events offered by the tourist office
- Sale of posters and goodies with the Samoëns logo
- Photocopying
- Provision of documentation on the resort's surroundings.
- Sale of hiking maps and snowshoeing routes.
- Sale of fishing permits
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6 The Cascade du Rouget
Also known as "The Queen of the Alps", is Sixt's best-known waterfall. The torrent surges dramatically in two huge steps, falling for over 80 metres.<br/>It's located 6 kilometres beyond the hamlet of Salvagny, and you can get there easily by car except in winter. In the winter months the road is closed to cars but you can park near the road block and then walk or snowshoe to the waterfall. It takes an hour and a half there and back and is at a height of 1000 metres - a height gain of about 100 metres from the car park.
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7 Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval church
A 13th-century church comprising an abbatial part and a parochial part. You can wander freely in the gardens.
8 Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval Abbaye
This 12th-century abbey is currently being restored for conversion into an environmental and cultural information centre. It belongs to the municipality of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval and the Department of Haute-Savoie.<br/>The abbey's various buildings were constructed in 1144. Ponce de Faucigny became the first abbot of this monastery ruled by Saint Augustin's order, as were the Abondance and Saint-Maurice d'Agaune monasteries of Valais.
The abbey established the foundations of agropastoralism, allowing many generations of Savoie-dwellers living in harsh conditions to gradually adapt to necessary developments. Relations between the abbey and the villagers were complex. Although they did not clear the valley as it is often thought, the canons did at least contribute to its enhancement. Sold as national property, the cloistral buildings were partly acquired by Albanis Beaumont, an engineer who wanted to relaunch the mining activity. The other part remained the property of the Cochet innkeepers who, in 1821, boasted "the region's best inn". Purchased at the end of the 19th century by the Rannaud family, the abbey then became the Hôtel du Fer à Cheval et de l'Abbaye. The abbatial structure was acquired by the Department in the year 2000.

Art and culture section of the council of the Department of Haute-Savoie
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9 Bureau des Guides de Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval
These qualified guides have a passion for what they do and can propose a whole range of mountaineering activities.<br/>"Modern Tradition".
This is the spirit that guides the Guides of Sixt Fer-à-Cheval.
It is part of the tradition of the third oldest Guides de France company, founded in 1865 in Sixt.
Here for you whatever your project, in these mountains or others around the world.
10 Fer-à-Cheval Chalet Restaurant
Enjoy the traditional food with a breathtaking view of the Fer-à-Cheval circle. Located near the car park, easily access this restaurant which offers typical Savoyard dishes.<br/>The Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval Chalet Restaurant welcomes you to a magical place. You will be left speechless by the magnificent views... You can come here for lunch or just for an afternoon snack after a hiking expedition. Evening meals and banquets are available but only with prior bookings.
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11 Fer-à-Cheval Cirque
The Fer à Cheval is the largest mountain cirque in the Alps. Ringed by towering cliffs, the cirque is breathtakingly beautiful throughout the year but it is most spectacular in the spring, when melting snow swells its waterfalls to majestic proportions.<br/>Lying at the eastern end of the Giffre Valley, the cirque forms an immense amphitheatre almost 5 km across and bounded by 500- to 700-m high limestone cliffs. In June, dozens of waterfalls cascade down these huge walls. The Fer à Cheval attracts large numbers of visitors and is twinned with the Gavarnie Cirque in the Pyrenees.
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12 The 30 waterfalls of the Cirque du Fer à Cheval
A unique area with impressive rock faces, cliffs 2000 metres high, and hiking trails past numerous waterfalls.<br/>Some waterfalls at Fond de la Combe and Nants des Peres at Fer a Cheval are fed by glaciers.
If you begin at the bar/restaurant at Plan des Lacs and look towards the Pic de Tenneverge, you'll see two notable waterfalls below the Corne du Chamois: la Meridienne , and to the right of that, la Pierrette. This is also called la Fontaine de l'Or and is one of the highest. Further to the right, on the cliffs of Le Fer a Cheval, are other waterfalls, for example the Joaton, Pissevache, the Lyre (one of the most beautiful), and the Genette. Even further to the right are le Saint-Jacques, la Citerne, le Folly, and la Massue waterfalls.
Going in to the Fond de la Combe valley, to the left of the Corne du Chamois, there are many other waterfalls such as le Rejon, la Cage, la Scie, le Violon, and la Gouille.
Leaving Fer a Cheval and following the Giffre downstream youi'll find the village of Le Brairet between Le Molliet and Les Curtets. Above this is Le Dard waterfall.
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13 Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval / Passy Nature Reserve
Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval/Passy Nature Reserve, the biggest nature reserve in Haute-Savoie, covers a vast region and boasts two impressive glacier cirques (Fer à Cheval and Les Fonts), both bursting with spectacular waterfalls.<br/>Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval/Passy Nature Reserve, the biggest nature reserve in Haute-Savoie, is an exclusively limestone universe featuring a wide variety of forms sculpted by erosion: fissures, grooves, etc. It covers 9,000 hectares across different mountain levels: sub-alpine, alpine and nival, from the banks of the Giffre at 900 metres up to the top of Buet culminating at over 3,000 metres. This range of elevations and the diversity of terrains (wet zones, mixed forests, cliffs, grassy areas, etc., offer contrasting habitats that are richly populated with a wide variety of wildlife species.
From the forests to the highest peaks, approximately 800 plant species have been recorded in the nature reserve, including 28 different orchids! Sixt forest is dominated by beech and spruce, but only the most compatible plants can be found in the mountain pastures.
Because the habitat changes with the altitude, there is a huge diversity of animal species: deer, wild boar, marmot, mountain hare, etc.. Wild animals thrive in the tranquillity of the nature reserve: ibex, bearded vulture, rock ptarmigan and royal eagle.

To view real-time car park attendance, please click here:
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2711 meters of difference in height