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Stopover 01/12

A Micro-adventure in the Alpes

1 February 2021

In need of a break without having to take a PCR test? Why not take on a micro-adventure in the Alpes? Let yourself be guided as we transport you through 7 Alpine villages on a 15-day expedition.

 Meet in (un)known territory

The term Adventure echoes an idea of a faraway voyage. Quite complicated in current times. Thankfully, alternatives are possible thanks to the micro-adventure. This “concept is based on a simple idea: within a few kilometres of your home, there are bound to be exotic areas accessible via original means of transport. It is simply a question of changing your habits” Our team took this definition in the most literal way by organising the Maewan Alps for good Expedition. Marion Courtois, president of the association Maewan was able to talk about this project on Virgin radio, during an interview.

It is from our base camp that the idea of an expedition which could be reproduced through the form of a micro-adventure seems evident. It was a unique opportunity for the Maewan adventurers to relieve the need for adventure and challenge which describes their day-to-day life.More and more people are avoiding large touristic situations, by moving towards new concepts. The idea of a micro-adventure is based on leaving your doorstep going off the beaten tracks, it requires little organisation and adheres to an ecological concept.Maewan recognises itself perfectly within this state of mind seeing as the association mobilises itself all year round to raise awareness around durable development, through their round the world trip on a sailboat, and its organised workshops in schools.

Our team visits isolated schools on a regular basis to familiarise young people to environmental topics. Even though these children are hugely connected to globalisation within their environment, these youngsters rarely meet external actors.The idea of an expedition through mountain landscapes and alpine villages seems therefore evident

From the micro-adventure, we mainly focused on the ecological dimension since it is a value that lies at the heart of the association. Stuck in the Haute-Savoie, in Les Carroz, at the association’s office, because of the sanitary crisis, and unable to reach the sailing boat, a real nomadic laboratory, the Maewan team decided to adapt to the situation, to pack their rucksacks and crampons and set off on a new adventure.

The expedition took place in several stages: Through 7 villages, and consequently 7 schools in the Alps, which our team was able to meet thanks to responsible means of transport. Far from lasting a few days or a few hours like a classic micro-adventure, our expedition lasted two weeks.

 As with all Maewan expeditions, Erwan Le Lann (co-leader of the expedition) was assisted by professional athletes who accompanied him during the expedition and in the field thanks to the presentations in the schools. 

 A New Kind of Adventurer

Micro-adventures are for those who do not want to wait for their holidays to go on an adventure and who aspire to spend more time with nature.

Whether living an urban or rural lifestyle, everyone wants to refocus on the essentials during these times. Practising unusual activities close to home, (re)discovering the heritage of one’s region, the essential thing is to disconnect from our daily lives and explore all that our territory has to offer. It’s a quest for meaning, a return to nature, an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. Because sometimes you can get a better change of scenery in your immediate environment by getting off the beaten track than by taking a tourist tour on the other side of the world!

Several professional sportsmen volunteered for our expedition. In addition to being able to practice their favourite sport in unique conditions, they have the chance to share their experience with a young audience.

 One itinerary, several means of mobility

Skiing, base jumping, cycling, skijoring… all means are good to reach your destination without increasing your carbon footprint.

The Maewan Alps For Good adventure began on 7 January lead by Erwan Le Lann, skipper and high mountain guide. The goal was to reach 7 schools at the foot of the valleys of the Alps using sustainable methods of movement. The expedition was a long route through different villages in the Alps.

The starting point of the Alps For Good expedition was the town of Cluses, in the heart of the Arve Valley, which is a highly urbanised and industrialised area. From Cluses, our team headed on foot to Le Reposoir This hike takes you along a path dating from the Second World War through the forest. In just a few hours, you have reached this small mountain village.

This hamlet at the foot of the Aravis mountains is dominated by the peak of the Pointe Percée and enjoys an invigorating and relaxing climate, ideal for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you are passing through Le Reposoir, make sure to visit to the Carthusian monastery of Le Reposoir, this former monastery is listed as a historical monument and is a peaceful place full of history.                                                                                                                                       After a night at the Fréchet domain, our team went to Les Carroz d’Arâches, a small village of human size with its typical Haute-Savoie architecture, part of the Grand Massif domain.             To reach this new summit, part of the team even dared to descend on skis. Once in the valley, we had to cross a natural barrier, the Arve. This river of the Alps has its source in the Mont Blanc massif. Equipped with a raft, they were able to cross this turbulent river and continue their journey towards Les Carroz.                                                                                             

The second team jumped off the cliffs of Les Vuardes base jumping to reach the valley and continue to Les Carroz.

Situated on a large sunny plateau and a pioneer in winter sports, the resort of Les Carroz has retained its authentic soul. It is an opportunity to enjoy the rich and varied ski area, which is suitable for all levels of skiers.

Ten kilometres away is the resort of Flaine, which rises to an altitude of 2500 metres and is at the heart of the Grand Massif ski area. Linking the village of Les Carroz to Flaine is possible by downhill skiing and free ride if the weather conditions allow it, which our teams were quick to do.

To proceed to the village of Sixt from Flaine, our team had to ski down the couloir de la mitraille. This village is known for its “cirque”(circus), which is like a huge limestone amphitheatre 4 to 5 km long with steep cliffs that can reach 500 to 700 m high. It is the largest Alpine mountain cirque. Dominated by the “Corne du Chamois” and resting on the jagged flanks of the Tenneverge (2985 m), this natural cirque also offers numerous walking and hiking trails accessible to all. It is therefore an unmissable sight if you are passing through the region.

Unfortunately, at this stage of our expedition the weather conditions suddenly deteriorated due to heavy snowfall. For safety reasons, our team had to think about a new route and new means of transport.

The adventure therefore continued Swiss territory with an unplanned stop in Champéry. To reach Champéry from Sixt, we went to the Col du Cou, which reaches 1500 metres via ski touring. Initially not included in our itinerary, Champéry is a beautiful discovery as this magnificent village combines charm and authenticity with its several hundred-year-old chalets lining a picturesque village street full of shops and places dedicated to gastronomy. An Alpine jewel that is too little known on this side of the border!

47 kilometres of cycling later, our team reaches the town of Finhaut in the heart of the Trient Valley. The town is known today for its preserved natural heritage, its dinosaur tracks, its dams which offer an exceptional panoramic view of Mont Blanc, but also for a built heritage classed of national importance.

From there, our team was able, thanks to day trips, to ski in the Marécottes area via the col Golette , but also to discover the Emosson dam, fed by water from the Giffre massif and artificially by water from the Mont-Blanc massif, the latter is the third highest dam in Switzerland.

Finally, to reach our last stage, our team took the train to the town of Salvan. An opportunity to discover the alpine landscapes from the railway.

At each of our destinations, we were able to meet and interact with primary school children. This was a unique opportunity to revisit the route taken during the expedition and to share the values that are at the heart of the Maewan association.

 

SOURCES : 

 https://www.nouvelobs.com/voyage/20200308.OBS25748/la-micro-aventure-la-tendance-qui-monte.html#

 https://tendances-tourisme.fr/tendances-microaventures-opportunite-tourisme-rural/

 https://www.finhaut.ch/fr/presentation-et-situation-fp1033

 https://www.grand-massif.com/votre-destination/domaine-skiable/nos-stations/les-carroz/

 

IN WHICH WE ARE FEATURED:

https://www.montagnes-magazine.com/actus-maewan-part-rencontre-eleves-fonds-vallees-montagne

 

 

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