A suspended footpath

The footpath of Les Gorges de la Diosaz offer a spectacular and unusual visit into a natural and wild environment. The shaded and well equipped footpath is easy and solidly implanted, sometimes into the steep rock face, sometimes even crossing the torrent by agreeable footbridges, allowing you to enter into the mysterious and picturesque landscape. A good idea for a stroll, this natural site is as fascinating in good weather as it is in the rain.

 

You can observe and admire the natural erosion of la Diosaz and contemplate the majesty and raw beauty of Mother Nature while standing in front of the cascading waterfalls. 

All along the footpath, the jets of white froth contrast with either the black and green schist, or the grey and red oxidised rock speckled with bright yellow lichen.  Waterfall follows waterfall with a constant roar as the water throws itself into giant bowls and deep gulfs to finish in a transparent froth before continuing its way down the gulley through rocks shaped by the water.  Bare tree trunks, piled up on the banks of the torrent give witness to the violence of the storm waters. 

 

Numerous information boards explain the geology and history of the gorges helping you to better understand this listed site. More than 100 types of ferns have been found in the site.


The site creation

In 1871, Achille Cazin (Professor of physics and researcher into thermodynamics) the then owner of the "îles de la Diosaz" was struck by the beauty of the gorges and wanted everyone to share his find.  He started up a company whose sole aim was to construct a passage through the gorges.

 

To carry out the project, the carpenter in Servoz, Pierre Berthoud, needed enough motivation to match the size of the challenge!  The perils to which the workers were exposed in the gorges at that time were phenomenal.  We can imagine them suspended from the steep cliffs by heavy hemp ropes while trying to attach hundreds of metal supports.   They were the precursors to today’s high rise acrobatic workers!  The landscaping work, not only difficult but very dangerous, was completed without incident in 1875 (after five years of toil).  The 1500 tourists who visited the site that summer were the first to visit the new “Alpine attraction”.


A little more of history

From a grandiose aspect, this walk takes on an almost supernatural dimension for some, thanks to the presence of a curious monument at the entrance to the gorges.  Marked with several inscriptions is the tomb of a poet, a victim of his passion for grand scenes of nature “It is with both marvel and fear that one should visit this place marked by nature, spurting forth its majesty and power”, or even “the French Government honours science and the arts, protects scholars and artists.  The soil of the Republic welcomes strangers from every land with hospitality”.

 

The priest of Les Houches Joseph Lombard (1833-1900), poetically described the site in 1874:

 

“My sides are steep and no one can without fear contemplate my current in the bed of rocks ; The mountain towers in front of me: I melted through the mountain and opened up a labyrinth to where my torrent rushes…”