The nature reserve
The roman route
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 Gorge
The bogs at la Rosière
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 Sundew
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 !
The roman bridge
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 Borrant
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 pasture
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...
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 Balme
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.
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 dogs
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 Dipper
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 !
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.
- 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.
Access and parking
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