Hautes-Alpes (05500) Population: 332 Altitude: 1104 m
St-Julien-en-Champsaur is a small village in the Drac valley of the Champsaur area, north of Gap, nestled in an expanse of forests and farmlands. The village is a grouping of old village houses, nicely renovated villas and small farms around the village church on a small hill in the center.
There didn't seem to be any commerce at all in St Julien-en-Champsaur, but there was one very nice looking restaurant, Les Chenets (www.les-chenets.com). This restaurant is listed in the 2015 Guide Michelin, so chances are you'll need a reservation, especially in the Summer.
For the few streets we wandered around in the village, we found the old farms right at the village quite interesting, and some of the old roof were pretty, with different styles of tile or slate coverings.
Sundial of St Julien
There were a couple of very nice sundials in St-Julien-en-Champsaur, which is really why we came to the village. This really old sundial in our photo wasn't actually in the village, but at a crossroads near the Drac, not far from the hamlet of Chabottes.
History of Saint Julien-en-Champsaur
In the Middle Ages the parish of Saint-Julien was spread out around both sides of the Drac river, and the main village of Le Forest was on the south side, where the current hamlet of Forest-St-Julien is located.
The inhabitants of Le Forest were fed up that for deaths or other events where they needed to attend the parish church, the had to descend into the valley, cross the Drac, and ascend to Saint-Julien, all on difficult trails. At the time of the Revolution, then, they got their own church and cemetery, and in 1805 became a separate commune.
The 12th-century bridge that crossed the Drac between St-Julien and Le Forest was carried away in a flood of 1928, to be replaced by a more modern bridge a couple of km downstream.
• GPS: 44.659873, 6.129013
IGN (1/25,000) #3437 OT "Champsaur, Vieux Chaillol"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #7 "Hautes Alpes"
There are PR (Petite Randonnée) hiking trails passing through St-Julien-en-Champsaur, clearly marked for trails that go mostly east-west through the hills along the north side of the Drac valley.
One of the trails is a 4.7 km loop called the Circuit du Lac de l'Aulagnier. This loop hike goes past a small lake and the village of L'Aulagnier, northwest of St-Julien-en-Champsaur in the direction of Saint-Bonnet-en-Champsaur.