What to do in autumn Haute Maurienne Vanoise

With its flamboyant colors, autumn is the ideal season to experience the peaceful mountains and recharge your batteries away from the crowds. Whether in contemplative mode in the Parc national de la Vanoise, in slow-sport mode with soothing hikes or in sporty mode with mountain biking or paragliding, Haute Maurienne Vanoise can also be discovered in autumn. Our top 5 autumn 2023 activities.

Shiver as you listen to the deer bellow

Back in Haute Maurienne Vanoise since the 70s, the stag offers a superb and intriguing autumn spectacle: the bellow. Haute Maurienne Vanoise is an ideal destination to hear this love cry and intimidating rut of the species.

From late September onwards, head for the Orgère or Polset areas at the gateway to the Vanoise National Park, or towards Sardières and Sollières in Val Cenis. Park your car, sit back and listen, and you'll soon hear the powerful bellowing of the stag.

At the edge of the forest in fading light, the thrill is guaranteed! If you're lucky, you'll even be able to observe the jousting of the bucks and the beautiful ballet of the hinds. But keep a safe distance from these wild animals.

To discover the stag bellow in complete safety, take advantage of the outings proposed by Jean-Yves Ployer at the end of September. This passionate mountain guide and photographer shares the secrets of the stag's bellow, and captivates young and old with his anecdotes and his knowledge of the Park, of which he is a former warden.

Let's go for a stag bellow hike


Shiver as you listen to the deer bellow J.Y Ployer
Hiking between golden larches

Hiking between golden larches

Autumn is a superb season for walking and hiking. The mountains are less crowded, and the forests turn red, orange and gold. The light is also less overwhelming than in midsummer. The itineraries are endless at Haute Maurienne Vanoise, from valley-bottom strolls on the "chemin du petit bonheur" to 3000-meter peaks that you can still hike for a few weeks.

An autumn stroll... barefoot!

For a different kind of hike, and one with a clear conscience, head to Val Cenis with Thierry, mountain guide, Nordic walking instructor and yogist, for a unique discovery of the sumptuous landscapes of Haute Maurienne Vanoise. There's just one condition for discovering this gentle hike on the path to happiness: take off your shoes! The aim? To rediscover the pleasure of our ancestors and the benefits of the sensation of direct contact between the meridians under the arch of the foot and the earth. To make the most of this experience, Thierry shows barefoot hikers how to walk properly, with exercises for anchoring to the earth, mindfulness walking and Afghan walking, and gives advice on self-massage and digitopuncture of the feet (with Yoga Balles).

I take off my shoes and go for a walk

Mountain biking before the 1st snowfall

Autumn is a perfect season for mountain biking. The terrain is a little wetter than in midsummer, and there are more deer than mountain bikers on the singles. Of course, there are no ski lifts at this time of year, so you'll have to pedal uphill to get the best runs, but... the experience is well worth the few drops of sweat required. And for those who want to preserve their calves, it's still possible to hire electrically-assisted mountain bikes.

Small hamlets and big bikes

For a different kind of outing, Cédric, a seasoned cyclist and mountain bike instructor, offers to combine heritage and sport with a 2-in-1 escapade: the outing (mountain bike or VTTAE) begins with the discovery of authentic chalets and chapels typical of the hamlets of Bessans and the Avérole valley, then continues on to the Espace VTT de Chantelouve, a playful concentration for all levels, ideal for exercising on courses with wooden or stone modules. An ideal spot to practice among the golden larches.

Mountain bike routes

Mountain biking before the 1st snowfall
Back to cross-country skiing in November

Back to cross-country skiing in November

For the 6th autumn in a row, Bessans is the 1st Nordic resort to open in France (excluding glaciers), starting at the beginning of November, on the last weekend of the All Saints' vacation. Thanks to the snowframing technique, which reuses snow from the previous winter, the "Nordic capital of the Alps" opens with a 3 km run. This means that skating enthusiasts can quickly get back into the swing of things.

In early November, you'll also be able to meet the French biathlon team in Bessans, who will be on hand to enjoy the resort and finalize their preparations. Bessans is in fact the new training ground for our Tricolores, as Stéphane Boutiaux, director of the French biathlon teams, explains: "Three years ago, during the Covid, we had already come to Bessans, but it wasn't necessarily on purpose. This autumn, it will be!

I wax my skis and head for Bessans

Test paragliding New D'Tour event

At Haute Maurienne Vanoise, and especially in Aussois, flying is a year-round activity. Paragliding enthusiasts take advantage of the thermals to enjoy flights that can last several hours (and in both summer and winter, the ski lifts make it easy to reach the take-off point).

On September 30 and October 1, Aussois will host the 1st edition of "D'Tour", a new touring competition organized by the Vol Libre Vanoise association. Combining walking and paragliding, D'Tour is designed to explore the hidden treasures of Haute Maurienne Vanoise (Thabor, Mont-Cenis, Albaron...), with your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds! Pilots (with or without passenger) can choose between 3 different circuits to take off from Aussois, according to their level. Each route, with one round per day, takes the form of a points race, with a maximum number of beacons to be collected.

I'm taking flight

Test paragliding New D'Tour event

The extra activity...

Drawings, pastels and watercolors in Rando-art

Drawings, pastels and watercolors in Rando-art

The landscapes of Haute Maurienne Vanoise lend themselves all year round to contemplation, photography and painting. But this autumn, you can take advantage of "art hikes" to paint and draw the valley's heritage and sumptuous panoramas. These outings are open to all with Isabelle, who is passionate about nature and the visual arts. During a gentle 3-hour hike, you'll share a time of exchange and well-being along the paths. With pencils, felt-tip pens, watercolors, pastels and sketchbooks in your rucksack, you'll be able to let your emotions speak for you, for a time of artistic calm that allows you to encounter nature and yourself.

There are 4 themes on offer this autumn: " Discovering the forts " in Aussois; " Discovering the buildings " in Bessans and Bonneval-sur-Arc, France's most beautiful village; " Along the water " (rivers and torrents) and " Le chemin du Petit Bonheur " to discover the flora and fauna of Haute Maurienne Vanoise.

Book my art walk


My cocoon accommodation for autumn
My cocoon accommodation for autumn

Looking to unwind? Escape to the mountains for a few days and enjoy a rejuvenating, cocooning stay in one of our accommodations with wood-burning stove or fireplace, for cosy evenings by the fire.

Discover our "fireside" furnished apartments