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Retrouvance® : hiking tour in the Jura's montains

Retrouvance® : hiking tour in the Jura's montains

Retrouvance® is an all-inclusive itinerant hiking formula: accompaniment, accommodation, food and luggage carrying.
Created by the ONF, this stay that combines the pleasure of hiking and respect for the environment is offered by Pedibus.

This Retrouvance® tour takes you through the hills and valleys of the Valromey, located in the Bugey region at the southern end of the Jura Mountains and whose highest point is the Grand Colombier at 1531 metres. This limestone territory, shaped by glaciers, is crossed by numerous rivers. Preserved from urbanisation, the Valromey has remained very rural. The route crosses a variety of landscapes: "black" forests, mountain pastures, coombs and hedgerows. Its prime location in front of the Alps offers surprising panoramas. This trip invites you to discover its preserved natural areas, its bucolic setting, its architectural and historical heritage.

During this easy hike, you will be accommodated in the heart of a village and in typical and warm stopover gîtes, all located in the middle of nature. There are two old forest houses, the Gîte de la Lèbe and the Chalet d'Arvières, with a guaranteed wild atmosphere. The basic accommodation is in dormitories, but three double or triple rooms are available in hotel formula (if you book early enough).

Difficulty: hiker level 2 out of 5: from 550 m to 780 m of difference in altitude, from 5 h to 5 h 30 of walking per day.
Group size: 6 to 13 people.
Supervision: state-qualified mountain guide, with a thorough knowledge of the massif.

The stages are divided as follows:

Day 1: Champagne en Valromey (532 m) - Gîte de la Lèbe (860 m).
Meeting point at 1.45 pm at the Virieu-le-Grand train station (transfer upon reservation at registration) or in front of the Tourist Office of Champagne-en-Valromey at 2.30 pm. You must arrive at the meeting point, ready to go hiking, with your backpack ready and your hiking shoes.
Start of the trip by crossing the Valromey countryside and discovering the Thurignin Gorges. Climb up to the Col de la Lèbe. Evening at the Observatoire de la Lèbe. Meal and night at the Lèbe forest gîte.

Difference in altitude: + 570 m, - 240 m, length: 11 km, duration: 3 h 30.

Day 02: Lèbe forest lodge - Songieu or Hotonnes
Cross the communal forest of Cormaranche and climb to the panoramic viewpoint of Planachat (1234 m). Descent into the valley through the village of Lompnieu to reach the Puits des Tines. Les Tines is the local name given to the "marmites de géant", spectacular erosion of the limestone rocks. Depending on the availability of accommodation, you can be accommodated in a gîte d'étape in Songieu or Hotonnes. The stages of Days 02 and 03 will be adapted as best as possible according to the place of accommodation.

Height difference: + 650 m, - 810 m, length: 20 km, duration: 5 h 30

Day 03: Ruffieu or Songieu or Hotonnes - Les Plans d'Hotonnes (1117 m)
This day in a more open setting takes you to discover the villages and hamlets of Valromey.
A bucolic route through the Séran valley leads to Bassieu. After discovering the sites of the Fontaine d'Argent and Châteauneuf, the medieval capital of the Valromey, you reach the peaceful Etang des Alliettes before reaching the village of Hotonnes (736 m). Your real ascent begins and allows you to reach the Grange du Plat (1035 m), nestled in its clearing. The profile softens and from clearing to clearing, you reach your highest point at 1125 metres before descending to Les Plans d'Hotonnes. This small resort is renowned for cross-country biathlon and has produced many champions in this field.
Overnight in a gîte d'étape.

Difference in altitude: + 780 m, - 370 m, length: 19 km, duration: 5 h 30.

Day 4: Les Plans d'Hotonnes - Chalet d'Arvières (1174 m).
Today's hike links the Plateau de Retord to the Grand Colombier massif via a beautiful and long crossing along the Corniche du Valromey. Discover the panorama of the Mont-Blanc and all the Alps. Continuation to the Chalet d'Arvières, accommodation for the next two days. A technician from the Office National des Forêts will be present during the day.

Difference in altitude: + 430 m, - 390 m, length: 18 km, duration: 5 h.

Day 5: Chalet d'Arvières - Loop trail - Chalet d'Arvières.
A loop hike that takes you over the open spaces of the Sur Lyand plateau and then up the Griffe du Diable. The route is much simpler than the name suggests. The route continues towards the Charbemènes pass and the summit of the Grand Colombier. You will be able to admire the spectacular 360° view of the Jura, the Mont-Blanc massif, the Aravis, the Bauges, the Chartreuse and sometimes even the Massif Central. Return to the chalet at Arvières.

Difference in altitude: + 650 m, - 650 m, length: 16 km, duration: 5 h.

Day 06: Chalet d'Arvières - Champagne en Valromey (532 m)
Descent to the village of Lochieu. Visit the Bugey-Valromey departmental museum to learn about other aspects of the area and make you want to come back.
A wild trail along the Arvière leads to the spectacular Vauclusian Resurgence of the Groin. After passing through the village of Vieu, we come full circle.
End of the trip at about 4.30 pm in Champagne en Valromey or at 5.15 pm (transfer on reservation at registration) in Virieu Le Grand station.

Height difference: + 200 m, - 850 m, length: 17 km, duration: 4 h 30.

The timetables have been calculated for a pace of 300 metres per hour uphill, 500 metres per hour downhill and 4 km per hour on the flat, in order to be able to compare the different walks with the same base. They only concern the actual walk, all meal times, breaks and contemplation times are to be added.

The organiser of the trip and the guide may sometimes have to modify the itinerary indicated. These modifications are always made in your interest, for your safety and comfort.

Open period

From May 24th to 29th CANCELLED
From May 31 to June 5 CANCELLED
From June 14 to 19 CANCELLED
From July 5 to 10 CANCELLED
July 26th to 31st
August 2 to 7 CANCELLED
From 30 August to 4 September
From September 6 to 11 FULL
From September 13 to 18 FULL
October 4 to 9
From 1st to 6th November


Adult: from 668 to 688 € depending on the period chosen.
Supplement of 68 € per person for a double or triple room, subject to availability at the time of booking.

Supplement of 18 € per person for the return transfer between Virieu-le-Grand train station and Champagne-en-Valromey, to be booked at registration.

The price includes :

Organisation and supervision costs.
Dormitory accommodation with full board.
The evening at the Lèbe Observatory.
The intervention of a technician from the National Forestry Office.
A visit to the Bugey-Valromey museum.
Luggage transport at each stage.

The price does not include :

The picnic on the first day.
Drinks and personal expenses.
Individual equipment.
Transport to reach Virieu-le-Grand or Champagne-en-Valromey on the first day and to leave Champagne-en-Valromey or Virieu-le-Grand on the last day.
The return transfer between Virieu-le-Grand and Champagne-en-Valromey (to be booked at registration if necessary, with supplement).
Cancellation - assistance - repatriation insurance.


  • Booking obligatory
  • Set down on-site for groups
  • Airport or station shuttle bus

Adapted tourism

  • Not accessible in a wheelchair

In addition to the reception

Spoken languages

  • French

Methods of payment

  • Bank/credit card
  • Cheque
  • Credit transfer

Point de départ / arrivée à la gare 01510 Virieu-le-Grand Show / Hide location


Booking centre, Office de Tourisme Bugey Sud Grand Colombier
  • 04 79 81 29 06
  • contact@bugeysud-tourisme.fr