Sarre - Fénis cycling and walking trail
Gressan, Aosta, Brissogne, Charvensod, Fénis, Pollein, Saint-Marcel, Sarre
Difficulties:F - Easy
from 01/03 to 30/11
An easy itinerary running alongside the river, in the area around the town of Aosta, idea for walking, running or cycling undisturbed.
Description of the route
The cycling and walking route runs along the banks of the Dora Baltea, the river that runs through the centre of the Aosta Valley. Classified as easy, the trail runs from Sarre to Fénis, crossing through the municipalities of Gressan, Aosta, Charvensod, Pollein, Brissogne, Saint-Marcel and Nus.
This mainly flat itinerary is suitable for cyclists wishing to train, as well as for families looking for a pleasant bike ride in the fresh air, well away from traffic. The trail is wide enough for two bicycles to pass one another easily, with a tarmac surface and gravel at the sides to separate it from the surrounding land and vegetation.
Ideal also for running or walking, the trail links up a number of sports areas, equipped with parking, which means you can join or leave the trail at several different points, and combine your cycling or walking trip with a number of other leisure activities. Just a short distance away from the points offering access to the trail, you will find sites of cultural interest, as well as villages offering bars, restaurants, hotel accommodation and other services.
Once completed, the cycling and walking trail will be over 20 km in length.
For the moment, the following stretches are practicable:
• Sarre-Aosta 2 km
• Aosta/Gressan-Pont Suaz 3 km
• Pont Suaz-Brissogne 4 km
• Brissogne–Saint-Marcel 3 km
• Fénis circuit 5.4 km
Main entrance points:
• Sarre sports area
• Montfleury sports area, Aosta
• Les Iles di Gressan sports and recreation area
• Tzamberlet sports and recreation area, Aosta
• Pont-Suaz sports area, Charvensod
• Charvensod sports area
• Grand-Place sports and recreation area, Pollein
• Golf Les Iles sports and recreation area
• Palafent traditional Aosta Valley sports area, Brissogne
• Saint-Marcel sports field
• parking area outside Fénis cemetery
• Tzanté de Bouva equipped area, Fénis
One of the entrance points to the cycling and walking route is the Montfleury sports area in Aosta, near the cemetery, with parking for cars and a parking area for camper vans, from which a walkway across the river leads to the sports area in Gressan, another possible point offering access to the trail. At the Montfleury sports area, the route follows the left bank of the Dora Baltea, heading up towards Sarre, where the trail ends at the sports area.
Not far from the Montfleury area, if you come off the trail, cross the trunk road and then the level crossing and go along Viale Europa to Piazza Salvadori, you will reach the megalithic area of Saint-Martin de Corléans, an archaeological site of international importance.
From the sports area of Gressan, the trail runs along the right bank of the river. At the end of the walkway across the Dora, there is a panel describing how the morphology of the river has changed over the years, and a little further ahead is a series of signs offering information, present at a number of points along the route, featuring a map of the whole cycling-walking route and the regulations for using it.
The Gressan sports area is made up of a huge green area surrounded by a 1 km round-trip cycling path that is also a keep-fit trail. Also present is a park for children, two springs, several benches and bar-restaurants, one of which also runs a small outdoor pool, open in the summer.
The Tsamberlet sports area in Aosta is also linked to the cycling and walking route, with the various sports facilities offered including an indoor and outdoor swimming pool (open from mid-June to mid-September) and an ice skating rink.
Continuing along the stretch of the trail that runs through the municipality of Gressan, the route links up with the regional road near a restaurant at the hamlet of Borettaz where you will find a farm that sells its produce directly; visits must be booked. This link is also often used by reckless mountain bikers, who, once they reach the end of the downhill trail that goes down from Pila to Aosta, carry on along the cycling trail until Pont-Suaz before coming out through it and returning to the Aosta-Pila cable car station, used to go up into the mountains.
At Pont-Suaz, in the municipality of Charvensod, you can also access the trail – as well as a number of food and accommodation facilities – from the village, which is also the most convenient point to leave the route and walk or drive to the centre of the town of Aosta, for a visit to its Roman monuments and mediaeval churches, or simply to find accommodation or take a stroll through the pedestrianised streets, lined with shops and restaurants.
The cycling route continues along the right bank of the river, in the municipal area of Charvensod, with access also from the sports field, near a restaurant and other services, leaving behind the industrial area of Aosta on the left before arriving at the “Grand-Place green area” in Pollein. This is a recreation area with a play park for children and a large park area in the centre, at the edge of which you can find benches and drinking fountains. The building at the side of the parking area (payment required) is surrounded on three sides by trees and a rock garden.
Continuing through the Brissogne area, the trail runs alongside the “Golf Les Iles sports area”, which offers a 9-hole practice course, a 25-metre outdoor swimming pool (open from the first weekend in June until the first weekend in September), and a small lake for water sports, as well as a bar and restaurant.
Also on the Brissogne stretch, the route leads to the Palafent multi-purpose facility, which includes a bar-restaurant with a parking area in front and an area set aside for traditional sports of the Aosta Valley (tsan, rebatta, fiolet and palet), where the championships take place in spring and summer.
The trail continues alongside the torrent, running around a protected nature area, the Les Iles humid area Nature Reserve, the most important site in the region where migratory birds stop off to feed and where several species of resident birds are also present. The path in the reserve heads towards the bird watching huts, and can be covered on foot only; bikes must be left in the bicycle racks provided.
The trail heads into the municipal area of Saint-Marcel before breaking off: the stretch between Saint-Marcel and Fénis is not yet completed, so it is necessary to continue along the road for about 4 kilometres. In Saint-Marcel, you can visit a distillery where you can also sample some of the local ham and other typical produce.
In Fénis, the trail runs along red asphalt and the route stands out more strikingly against the green of the meadows and the crop fields. This round-trip circuit is accessible both from the Fénis cemetery parking area and from the Tsanté de Bouva equipped area. Just a short distance away, the village offers visitor services, food and one of the best-known tourist attractions in the region: Fénis Castle.
In Fénis, you can also visit the MAV – museum of the Aosta Valley traditional craftworks.
Main rules for using the cycling and walking route:
• The route is open during the day only, from 15 March to 15 November
• All users must respect other users, avoiding behaviour that might impede the normal use of the route
• Dogs and horses are not allowed
• Cyclists must proceed at moderate speed, keeping to the right and taking care to control their bicycle depending on the number of people using the route
• Motor vehicles are not allowed, with the exception of owners of and persons authorised to drive on the agricultural land served by the route; authorised vehicles must proceed with caution, at a maximum speed of 30 km/hour, guaranteeing right of way to cyclists. Excluded from the above are surveillance and emergency vehicles and vehicles carrying out maintenance operations.