The Royans-Vercors have roads in seemingly impossible places, grandiose panoramas, underground cave and river systems hewn out of the rocks. Faithful to its history, the Vercors holds dear the memory of its heroic past during World War II and invites the visitor to tread the paths of freedom.
These vertiginous and spectacular roads connect the Vercors mountain massif with the rest of the world. The daring routes, hewn directly out of cliff faces, often overhanging the abyss or passing through series of tunnels have made the remarkable roads of Combe-Laval, the col de la Bataille or the Petits Goulets justly famous. This is also a favourite playground for the historic Monte Carlo rally and those who prefer two wheels to four.
Above ground, the limestone citadel of the Vercors reveals its dizzy vertical cliffs (Vierge du Vercors or Combe Laval), its majestic natural amphitheatres, its expansive plateaux (Plateau d’Ambel or Gagères), dense forests (forêt de Lente), unexpectedly deep gorges contrasted with lush pastures. The area is also home to an exceptionally rich flora and fauna. Below ground, we enter the kingdom of cavers and potholers, and a range of cave systems and potholes such as the grotte de la Luire or la Draye Blanche. All of the above contributes to the outstanding attraction of this landscape, a constituent part of the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors. Since 1985, the park has been custodian of the Reserve Naturelle des Hauts Plateaux, the largest in metropolitan France. 17,000 hectares without a single road or village. Nature in the raw, of a rare beauty, criss-crossed by long distance footpaths such as the GTV (Grande Traversée du Vercors).
The Drôme and more specifically the high Vercors plateaux are especially famous for their rôle as iconic French Resistance sites and one of the most important maquis in France. La Chapelle-en-Vercors, St Agnan–en-Vercors and Vassieux-en-Vercors paid a tragic price for this status in the summer of 1944. The entire region is today a centre of pilgrimage featuring a number of sites of collective memory. A central element of the ‘Site National de la Résistance’, the ‘Mémorial du Vercors’ at the Col de la Chau is set in natural surroundings, on the edge of a cliff, in the commune of Vassieux-en-Vercors. It offers views over the whole of the Vercors massif and the battlefield. close by, the ‘Musée départemental de la Résistance’ describes the daily life of the maquis. You can also visit the ‘Nécropole de Vassieux-en-Vercors’, the ‘Cour des fusillés’ at la Chapelle-en-Vercors or the entrance of the Grotte de la Luire at St Agnan-en-Vercors.