A NATURAL ADVENTURE
The area has a rich natural heritage, including gorges, canyons, caves, freshwater rivers, pretty valleys, lush plateaux prairies and forests galore, plus of course the imposing central massif, all of which are home to diverse flora and fauna and several rare species of birds and fish. As well as being designated a regional nature park in 1970, the Vercors also contains France’s largest nature reserve, which stretches across 17,000 hectares protecting a large pine forest and more than 700 species of flora.
But don’t be fooled by this picture of wilderness and conservation. This is no quiet, rural outback. In fact, the area has a busy annual social and cultural agenda – and not just for the many tourists who flock there in winter and summer. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy a varied events programme and an endless choice of sporting activities. And should they want more, Valence and Grenoble are both just 50 minutes away by car.
Tilly Cresswell, who has lived in this part of France with her family since 2000, says it was the lure of the “great outdoors adventure” that first brought them to the Vercors.
“My husband was a keen climber,” Tilly explains. “He discovered the area by chance on a caving holiday and wanted to return for the climbing. We fell in love with the area and eventually followed our hearts here. It’s ideal for outdoor types, though you have to be up for an adventure as we get all the seasons here, including beautiful summers but also cold winters with lots of snow.”