Lying in a wide hollow at the confluence of two streams and being surrounded by thick forests, La Thuile is dominated by high mountains and wide glaciers.
Its position is strategic, since it stretches along the international road that links the Aosta Valley to France through the Little Saint Bernard pass.
In addition to its landscape and natural beauties, La Thuile owns some peculiar historical elements, since the area was inhabited and frequented in the Prehistoric, Roman, Medieval and Modern eras. Proofs of this can be found in the Little Saint Bernard area for sure, but the whole territory of La Thuile amazes and interests any kind of visitor.
WHAT TO SEE
● Cromlech: mysterious circle of 46 stones at the Little Saint Bernard pass, right at the border between the Aosta Valley and the Savoy region, that dates back to I millennium B.C.
● Saint Nicholas parish church: the building was rebuilt between the XV and XVIII centuries after the French devastations and was decorated after World War II. The crucifix dating back to the XV century, that surmounts the altar, and the tabernacle of the XVIII century are notable, as well as the sacred art museum that preserves statues and decorations from the XIII to the XIX centuries.
● Maison Musée Berton: the eclectic collection, donated from the Berton brothers to the municipality of La Thuile, includes about 200 pieces of handicraft, decorations, paintings and sacred art objects. In addition to this, the museum also owns more than 4,000 books that are mainly connected with Valdôtain literature.
NATURE AND SPORT
In summer, La Thuile is a true corner of paradise for trekking lovers, both because of the extension and variety of its routes and for the natural and landscape value of its hamlets: even inattentive visitors will soon appreciate the exceptional panorama of the area. From the stunning Rutor waterfalls to the route to the Verney lake, from the Youlaz to the Orgères valleys, to the Rutor, the majestic mountain that surmounts the town, close to which lies a wide glacier, where the kingdom of climbers begins.
Following the millenary road that leads to France, the pine woods slowly disappear and a wide upland suddenly comes into sight: it is the Little Saint Bernard pass. Here the Alpine meadow, whose colours constantly change, is almost a mystical place because of the remains it owns. From the circle of stones of the Iron age, whose true meaning is still obscure, to some ruins of the Roman, Medieval and Modern epochs. After having gone beyond the Hospice, the Chanousia Alpine botanic garden, appears: it hosts the most typical species of these highlands.
The mine past of La Thuile is perfectly visible today. A series of routes give the visitors the chance of visiting ruins and structures linked to the coal and silver mines.
La Thuile also owns a vast international Bike Park, served by numerous ski facilities. It stretches for more than 200 km, has more than 1,200 metres of positive drop and owns tracks for everybody, from downhill routes of the Valdôtain side to Enduro and cross-country slopes of the French side. Professional instructors make bikers discover these routes in total safety.
La Thuile even has a sport centre with football pitch, 5-a-side and tennis field, a gym and a playground for kids.
In winter La Thuile in completely different. The feather in its cap is the vast international Alpine ski area linked to La Rosière, France. Being one of the widest resorts of the Western Alps thanks to 160 km of ski slopes, the Espace San Bernardo is open until late spring and it is suitable for skiers (no matter their skills), freeriders and snowkiters. And for snowboard lovers, there is even a snowpark in La Rosière.
Cross-country skiing fans can try the three loops of varying difficulty, for a total of 11 km of slopes.
In La Thuile one can even practice heliskiing to rapidly reach the unspoiled snow of Rutor and Miravidi peaks.
Finally, both in summer and in winter, an indoor pool is available.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● Summer solstice at the Little Saint Bernard pass: the magic of the Summer solstice at the cromlech is a unique experience to be lived from a privilege point of view: clouds permitting, when the sun sets behind the Lancebranlette saddle a shadow advances and casts some particular outlines right in the cromlech.
● Fête des Bergers at the Little Saint Bernard pass: organised every two years on the Sunday that follows the feast of the Assumption (15th August), this event is related to the past, when the Valdôtain and French shepherds met for the cattle market. Today this event is rather important also because during that day one of the “Batailles de Reines” preliminary heat is held.
● Celebrations for Santa Margherita at the foot of Rutor: from the hamlet of La Joux the participants walk first towards the Deffeyes mountain hut and then to the small chapel of San Grato and Santa Margherita, built on a promontory that dominates the lake to avoid the floods that lashed the town in the XVI century.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
In addition to some easy strolls, which are abundant and rich in surprises (lakes and waterfalls only wait to be discovered!) kids can climb up in the mountains thanks to the ski facilities and reach a panoramic area that owns a heated outdoor swimming-pool.
Or they can participate to the MTB camp to discover the discipline or try push bikes. Or they can even approach horse riding thanks to the activities organised by the local manège.
The Fun Park is a playground where kids can find a bouncy castle, a trampoline, mini jeeps and equipment to practice archery and ping pong.
In winter kids can try the easy ski slopes together with the ski instructors of the Ski school or have fun at the baby snow park which has inflatable games and magic carpets. Various educational activities are organised at the Maison Musée Berton or at the Mini club. Finally, there is also an indoor swimming-pool.
● Altitude: 1,441 m
● Inhabitants: 800
● How to get there by public transports: after having reached Pré-Saint-Didier from Aosta, take the bus to La Thuile.