Hike to Pertes de la Valserine, Fort l’Écluse, Rocher de Léaz & Pont de Grésin

Earlier this summer, I went on a hike in the Bellegarde-sur-Valserine area: I visited the Pertes de la Valserine, Fort l’Écluse, Rocher de Léaz and Pont de Grésin.

Here is the path I walked (download KML):

In the morning, I took a LIHSA bus from Annecy to Bellegarde. I first walked along the Valserine river to the Pertes, which I have already mentioned in my previous post. After that, I walked to Fort l’Ecluse, using paved roads and forest paths. I first visited the upper fort then took a a trail down and spent some time visiting the lower fort, for which I needed to buy a ticket. There was a great view from there. I then walked a forest trail along the Rhône in order to get to the Rocher de Léaz (Rock of Léaz), the site of a former castle. Some ruins remain but the main interest is the view: The Rhône, Fort l’Ecluse, the Vuache, the Grand Crêt d’Eau could all be seen. For the final part, in order to catch the bus back, I crossed the Rhône using the pedestrian Pont de Grésin: I arrived in Eloise in Haute-Savoie and walked to the bus stop.

Above, Bellegarde train station. The bus stopped there.

Above, Valserine river, on the way to the Pertes.

Above, canyon at the Pertes.

Above, Viaduc de Bellegarde.

Above, walking through Lancrans.

Above, Grand Crêt d’Eau above.

Above, Plateau de Retord on the other side.

Above, Grand Crêt d’Eau. There is a path starting next to there.

Above, Vuache.

Above, cutting through a field.

Above, power transmission towers.

Above, upper fort of Fort l’Ecluse.

Above, statue of Saint James (Saint-Jacques in french) by Yvon Raisin, on the path from Geneva to Compostela (Camino de Santiago) through Nantua.

Above, at the upper fort.

Above, Rhône.

Above, Vuache.

Above, trail to the lower fort.

Above, lower fort of Fort l’Ecluse. The courtyard can be entered freely, although a ticket is needed to enter the fort building itself.

Above, Porte de France (France gate).

Above, a lot of butterflies.

Above, I actually walked back up to the upper fort using the underground gallery.

Aboe, Rhône, looking toward Geneva.

Above, Porte de Genève (Geneva gate).

Above, goats.

Above, on the way to Rocher de Léaz.

Above, the Rocher.

Above, ruins of Moulin de Condière.

Above, Nant de Condière.

Above, in Léaz.

Above, Fort l’Ecluse.

Above, final ascent to the Rocher.

Above, ruins of the castle of Léaz.

Above, statue of Sainte-Victoire by Yvon Raisin.

Above, Rhône.

Above, Grand Crêt d’Eau.

Above, there was a lot of wind.

Above, Vierge de Léaz.

Above, Vuache.

Above, on the way to Eloise.

Above, Pont de Grésin, a bridge across the Rhône.

Above, church in Eloise.

Above, Grand Crêt d’Eau.

Above, LIHSA bus stop in Eloise.

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Promenade des Pertes de la Valserine

The Promenade des Pertes de la Valserine in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine is a short and easy walk that follows the Valserine, a river that takes its source in the Jura mountains and empties into the Rhône. Starting near the train station in the city, the path goes upstream to the Pertes (French for “losses”), where the river disappears in natural canyons dug into limestone rocks.

This page has proposals for additional exploration of the area (beyond simply walking there).

Above, start of the walk.

Above, Valserine.

Above, Pont du Moulin Convert.

Above, Métral dam (Barrage de Métral).

Above, machines for electricity production.

Above, fish ladder.

Above, waterfall.

Above, at the Pertes.

Above, Pont des Oulles.

Above, canyon.

Above, the rock has been shaped by past floods.

Pont de l’Abîme / Gorges du Chéran

Last autumn, I went on a car trip through the Bauges valley near Annecy, visiting points of interest along the way. The first stop was the Pont de l’Abîme (literally Abyss Bridge), a suspension bridge linking the villages of Cusy and Gruffy. It was built in 1887 to cross the gorge formed by the Chéran river, 96m below.

Above, Semnoz.

Above, crossing the bridge.

Above, Gorges du Chéran. There are trails to go down.

Above, Chéran river.

Above, Montagne de Bange.

Above, viewing platform.

Above, hotel / restaurant next to the bridge.

Above, Tours Saint-Jacques.

Pont de la Caille

The Pont de la Caille (aka Pont Charles-Albert) is a suspension bridge linking the villages of Allonzier-la-Caille and Cruseilles in Haute-Savoie, on the path between Annecy and Geneva. It was built in 1839 to cross the gorge formed by the Usses river, 147m below. A second bridge, the Pont Neuf (aka Pont Caquot) was added in 1928 to support train and car traffic.

Above, a rest area was recently built near the the bridge, complete with benches, picnic tables and suspended viewpoints.

Above, Pont Charles-Albert.

Above, viewpoint above the gorge.

Above, south gate, with Mont Pelé behind it.

Above, Usses river below.

Above, the 2 bridges.

Above, crossing the bridge.

Above, gorge des Usses. There are a few trails down.

Above, Pont Neuf, with the Bornes mountains in the background.

Above, another viewpoint near the south gate.

Lyon: Walk along the Rhône

After leaving the Lyon Confluence area, I walked along the Rhône on the way to the Old Town of Lyon (Vieux Lyon), making a few detours here and there.

Above, Musée des Confluences seen from Parc de Gerland.

Above, under the Pont Raymond Barre.

Above, Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière in the background.

Above, Pont Gallieni, towards Lyon-Perrache.

Above, Statue de la République, on Place Carnot.

Above, Lyon-Perrache train station.

Above, fountain on Place Ampère.

Above, Fontaine Gailleton.

Above, Tour Incity, the tallest building in Lyon.

Above, Pont de l’Université.

Above, swimming pool.

Above, Pont de la Guillotière.

Above, Place Bellecour.

Above, statue of Louis XIV.

Above, Fourvière.

Above, now at the Saône river, near the Vieux Lyon.