The lacs Jovet loop
The lacs Jovet loop
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Between woodlands, mountain pastures and a rocky cirque where the large lower lake is nestled, you will discover a cascade of natural environments.
15 points of interest
The nature reserveA few steps away from the true entrance to the nature reserve, a panel presenting the issues of this protected and regulated natural space.
The roman routeMore than a touristic itinerary, the roman route was one of the main ways of crossing the Alps during Antiquity!
Before the Roman invasion, Val-Montjoie was home to Ceutrons, a Celtic tribe practicing livestock breeding. For their cheese production, they imported salt from Moutiers via the Col du Bonhomme mountain pass. They participated in the establishment of these routes leading to Italy, which were taken by the Romans during the invasion of the Alps.
Observe the section of Rochassets, it was carved in the rocks in order to create a passage for the charriots!
Notre Dame de la GorgeTo know everything about the history of the church of Notre Dame de la Gorge, and have a better visit afterwards.
The bogs at la RosièreOn your left are located the bogs of La Rosière, but be careful, admire them from the trail because these are fragile habitats with high biodiversity!
Originating from the ice age, this wetland was first a depression eroded by the glacier in which the melting ice stagneted. It’s a paradise for carnivorous plants such as Alpine Butterwort or the Round-leaved Sundew...
The round-leaf SundewIt is a small carnivorous plant that lives in peat bogs, environments offering few nutrients. Don't worry, it feeds only on insects, which it traps and digests thanks to a sticky substance produced by the red hairs covering its leaves.
It is called "Rossolis or Sundew" because of the scintillation of this substance in the sunlight.
This species is fragile and protected, please do not touch it !
- Small patrimony
The roman bridgeAlso called "Pont de la Téna", this structure dates back to Roman times! It is located on the ancient strategic route which made it than possible to reach the valley of la Tarentaise and Italy directly from Les Contamines.
This route, which has become the GR5 since, is a popular tourist destination.
The bridge overlooks the gorges of Bont Nant.
Admire the natural pools that the torrent has shaped slowly but surely!
The mountain refuge of Nant BorrantThis traditional mountain chalet dates back to the 1800’s.
In 1842 the commune of Les Contamines authorized to establish an inn on this location. It will be called "Mountain Hotel" until 1976. With the development of the long-distance hiking trail "Tour du Mont Blanc", it has become a refuge. But since its creation it has always belonged to the same family! It is open from June to the end of September.
The Nant Borrant refuge is located at the gates of the nature reserve which starts just behind the torrent...
The mountain pastureMountain pastures are landscapes shaped by human activities since prehistory, during the neolithic era, when first started livestock farming.
Without the grazing of domestic animals at this altitude, this environment would be composed by few species of bushes and according animal species. The alpine pasture is a rare example of human activity generating biodiversity in both animal and plant species, more abundant than what the natural evolution of the environment would produce. It hosts many species of plants, birds, invertebrates, mammals...
Cow mountainHow to recognize the breeds of mountain cows grazing together in these pastures?
The breed called "Abondance" was born in the village of the same name in the Chablais area in Haute-Savoie. It can be recognized by its mahogany-colored coat and belly and its white head.
The "d'Herens" breed is coming from the Valais region in Switzerland. More stocky, it has a plain coat, often black, sometimes dark red or chestnut. Its lively and belligerent behavior is used during the traditional "Fight of the queens" in the 3 areas around Mont-Blanc. But don’t panic, these games are harmless for the competing animals!
The mountain refuge of la BalmeLocated at the foot of ‘Aiguilles de la Pennaz’ (2668 m) on the ‘Tour du Mont-Blanc’ trail, this refuge has been managed by 3 generations of the same family to welcome hikers. This old farm is surrounded by mountain pastures, still managed by mountain farmers.
Estimate the height of the roof and imagine that during the winter only the chimney isn’t covered by the snowpack!
This refuge is open from June to September.
Habitat restorationThe habitat areas favorable to the Black Grouse, because of their biological richness, are also interesting for pastoral activities. The presence of small herds was once an effective management to maintain these environments: it was a virtuous circle.
With the abandonment of mountain agriculture, this fragile balance has been broken. In 2014, the nature reserve started to carry out brush clearing works, in order to replace the grazing of domestic animals, and restore the vegetation mosaic favorable to the reproduction of this galliforme.
Livestock guardian dogsThese are livestock guardian dogs, their presence is allowed in nature reserves. They defend sheep and ewes from larger predator attacks, such as wolfs. Often large sized dogs, qualified as "molossoid", they spend their lives protecting herds to which they are very attached.
When approaching the herd, it’s very important to observe carefully the dog’s behavior and to take it in account while respecting the following instructions:
- Stay away from the herd (bypass it if possible) - Announce your presence by speaking out loud to avoid surprising the herd and dogs
- Keep calm and avoid sudden movements, keep walking without running. Talk gently to the dogs so that they get used to your presence and accept it.
- Avoid looking straight into the dog’s eyes and hold an object between you and the dog.
The White-throated DipperIn French it is also called ‘Water Blackbird’, because it looks like a blackbird with its brown plumage and white bib, it does not belong to the same family! The White-throated Dipper has an amazing particularity : it is able to dive or walk under water, even upstream, in search of its food. Although not shy, the dipper is sensitive to disturbances. Summer use of waterways by walkers or their dogs is fatal in most cases for this bird. That’s why the nature reserves regulation asks to keep dogs on a leash.
The wolfThe wolf made his return in France, on its own, since the 90’s. Coming from Italy, the species first colonized the southern Alps, then the whole alpine region.
Since the summer of 2019, there is evidence of its presence in some of the nature reserves of Haute-Savoie, which explains the presence of livestock guardian dogs watching over several herds.
Indeed, the wolf is carnivorous. It feeds mainly on wild animals such as Chamois or Roe Deer. But it can also consume ewes or sheep, especially from unprotected herds.
So in order not to interfere with the work of the dogs, please follow the instructions !
Lac sentinelleSince 2013, a research program brought researchers, managers of protected areas and users of high-altitude lakes together in the "Lacs sentinelles" Network in order to better preserve alpine lakes.
Because alpine lakes, as rich and fragile ecosystems, provide evidence of past and present changes in climate, natural environments, human activities... they are kind of sentinels.
Each year, chemical and physical analyzes (temperature, transparency, etc.) are carried out on lakes of this network, such as Lac Jovet.
From the Notre-Dame de la Gorge parking lot:
- Cross the footbridge over the torrent to reach the track.
- Stay on the main track which follows the torrent upstream on your right.
- Stay on the GR and take the ancient roman route which climbs in front of you.
- Stay on the route and cross the "Roman Bridge".
- At the bifurcation, take the path on the left towards "Col du bonhomme".
- At the crossroads, turn left towards "Lacs Jovet". You have arrived at "Lac Jovet".
- Go around the lake in the direction which pleases you.
- Departure : Parking « Notre Dame de la Gorge », Les Contamines-Montjoie
- Arrival : Parking Notre Dame de la Gorge, les Contamines Montjoie
- Towns crossed : Les Contamines-Montjoie
Along your trek, you will go through sensitive areas related to the presence of a specific species or environment. In these areas, an appropriate behaviour allows to contribute to their preservation. For detailed information, specific forms are accessible for each area.
- Impacted practices:
- Aerial, , Land, Vertical
- Asters - Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Haute-Savoie
Always be careful and plan ahead when hiking. Asters, CEN 74 can not be held responsible for the occurrence of an accident or any inconvenience on this itinerary.
Shuttles from the center of the village of Contamines-Montjoie (from the end of June to the beginning of September).
Access and parking
Go to Contamines-Montjoie (74170). Pass through the village and stay on Route de Notre-Dame de la Gorge (D902) for 2 kilometers until you reach the large parking lot of Notre-Dame de la Gorge on your right.
Parking Notre Dame de la Gorge
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