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At the edge of the Parc National des Écrins, the plateau d'Emparis offers a splendid view on the massif des Écrins and the tops of the Meije massif. This plateau, an oasis for hikers, has kept a big shepherd’s tradition. You might cross a herd of sheep during your hike, led by sheepdogs
The Emparis plateau is one of the largest concentrations of alpine pastures in the region. It is above all one of the most beautiful natural sites in Oisans. Hikers come in large numbers to Lac Lérié or Lac Noir, and magnificent viewpoints allow you to admire emblematic peaks of the Ecrins massif, notably the Meije and the Râteau.
The Natura 2000 sites are "fundamental tools of the European policy for the preservation of biodiversity", can we read on the Natura2000.fr site, adding that these spaces are "designated to protect a certain number of habitats and species representative of European biodiversity. In practice, economic and social activities as well as infrastructure projects can be carried out on Natura 2000 sites provided that they are not detrimental to the protected species or habitats.
With regard to the Emparis¸ plateau, the challenge is to preserve its exceptional biological richness. This set of alpine pastures is located at the intersection of two biogeographical areas, the Internal Alps and the Intermediate Alps. The site is also at the climatic boundary, between the Northern Alps and the Southern Alps. We can also mention its great geological variability or its contrasting geomorphology. These are all ecological variations that could not be more conducive to the development of several animal and plant species.
The landscapes of the Emparis plateau are marked by agro-pastoral activities. The hamlets are surrounded by several meadows of great biological wealth. At 2,200 meters above sea level is the mountain pastures where hikers are sure to come across herds of cattle and sheep. Visitors also discover a number of wetlands there.
Couples and families alike enjoy spending time on these flowering meadows as far as the eye can see. They are vast green spaces where you are sure to enjoy a peaceful moment. The setting could not be more perfect for recharging one's batteries. These spaces are all the more attractive as you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Meije and its glaciers.
The Emparis plateau is also characterized by steppe landscapes, linked among other things to geographic and geological criteria, but also to agricultural and pastoral activities. For those who want to learn more about the history of pastoralism in the Oisans, a detour to the Departmental House of Alpine Pastures is recommended.
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