Hautes-Alpes (05220) Population: 987 Altitude: 1495 m
Le Monêtier-les-Bains is a picturesque village in the Hautes-Alpes. It's located between Grenoble and Briançon, on the twisty Route Nationale N91, that was once the Roman road between the two towns.
The village sits in the Vallée du la Guisane, with the mountains rising up all around. Immediately to the west and southwest is the Parc National des Ecrins, with peaks of the Massif des Ecrins rising to nearly 4000 m. On the northwest side of the valley, the peaks are 2600-2800 m, with the Tête Noire, only 3 km away, at 2917 m.
The village has narrow streets between old buildings with lovely facades and wooden balconies. The Place de la Mairie has pink-marble fountains, and some vestiges of the ancient fortifications remain. Le Monêtier-les-Bains has two hot-water springs, one at 34°C and one at 38°C, and the village has been a thermal spa since Roman times.
The commune of Le Monêtier-les-Bains includes a number of little hamlets isolated in the rugged mountains. Le Monêtier-les-Bains and the surrounding hamlets have a number of old churches and chapels from the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
The surrounding mountains are magnificent, and the views are breathtaking. The area includes high mountain lakes and glaciers, including Monêtier and Casset. Local fauna includes chamois, marmottes and snow hares, and the alpine flora is extremely rich.
History of Le Monêtier-les-Bains
First record, Stabatio, named after a Benedictine Priory founded in the 9th century by Saint Elrade, Abbey de Novalése, who was famous for having saved the region from an infestation of snakes.
Gallo-Roman: the town was a staging post on the Roman road between Grenoble and Briançon.
Apr - Foire
June (End) - Fête village
• GPS: 44.975864, 6.507809
IGN (1/25,000) #3536 OT "Briançon, Serre-Chevalier, Montgenèvre"
IGN (1/25,000) #3436 ET "Meije, Pelvoux, Ecrins Parc"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #6 "Ecrins Haut-Dauphiné"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #10 "Queyras Pays du Viso"
The surrounding mountains are full of hiking trails. The GR 54 (Grande Randonnée) goes to the south from the village, past a 2698 m peak and over the Col de l'Eychauda (2425 m). The GR 50 runs down the Vallée du la Guisane, passing along the flanc of the mountains across the road from the village. The GR 57 follows the peaks just to the north, crossing over the Col du Chardonnet (2649 m).
Transportation Le Monêtier-les-Bains
There's excellent train service to/from nearby Briançon. From the Briancon train station, the SNCF runs a shuttle bus to Monetier, costing 25 F and taking 30-40 minutes. The shuttle runs every hour or two, from 6h40 to 18h15.
Department 05, Haute-Alpes Buses
- See Beyond's Haute-Alpes (05) Bus Schedules for downloading Haute-Alpes bus-lines map and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).