Hautes-Alpes (05460) Population: 333 Altitude: 1547 m
Abriès is a small but dynamic village in the beautiful Haut-Guil valley part of the Queyras, near the Italian Alpes. The village is popular in the summer for hiking and mountain climbing, and in the winter for skiing. Sitting astride a mountain stream, Abriès has cafés, restaurants, lodging and shops, including sports outfitters -- and some great sundials.
From Château Queyras village, the road goes northeast up the Guil valley past Chateau-Ville-Vieille (3 km), Aiguilles (7 km), Abriès (12 km), Ristolas (15 km) and Ristolas-L'Echalp (19 km).
The Guil valley is fairly wide here, where the Torrent de Bouchet joins it from the north. The village squares are also wide, and the village has a more open feel than some of the other tightly-packed mountain villages.
We were in the village on a Wednesday, market day. It's an active market, full of fresh, regional and local products.
The commune of Abriès includes several hamlets. The two inhabited parts are the village of Abriès, at the confluent of the Torrent de Bouchet and the Guil, with about 300 permanent residents, and the hamlet of Le Roux, about 4 km north, with about 50 inhabitants.
Among the shops in Abriès are a few with clothing and especially sports clothes.
We visited Abriès in September, and one of the village sports-clothing shops was having a 50-percent-off end-of-season sale. Since it's extremely difficult to find good size-13 hiking boots anywhere, we jokingly asked what this wee mountain shop had available. Surprise, they had our size in high-quality Asolo hiking boots.