Two skiers descending tree-lined piste with mountain background.

Le Dévoluy

La Joue du Loup & SuperDévoluy, Hautes-Alps

In the southern French Alps close to the Franco-Italian border, with more likelihood of good weather compared with ski areas further north, yet with very significant snowfalls.

It’s a long journey for skiers driving from the UK, although airport transfers are much more rapid, particularly from budget flights into Genoble, Marseille, Turin and Cuneo.

Wide view of skier on piste beside drag-lift with snow-covered valley and mountains in background

The Ski Area

The Dévoluy lift-pass covers the combined ski areas of La Joue du Loup and Superdévoluy, which are linked by an efficient lift system. While not overly demanding, the skiing is varied and the style relaxed, with the emphasis on blue-graded cruising. Reds are not far behind, although there’s nothing which need deter confident intermediates. They’ll get to discover a few more challenging pistes, including the steep drop from La Pierra (2510m) and the exhilarating skier-cross-style run into Surperdévoluy on Les Meules. The apparent high proportion of drag-lifts is deceptive, as these mostly serve novice and advanced terrain, while the majority of skiers will be taking the 4- and 6-seater high-speed chairlifts. Two new draglifts for 2016/17 in the La Joue du Loup sector, take the pressure off the Télémix lift and provide an alternative during closures in high winds. Finally, the beauty of the surroundings will come as a very pleasant surprise to those accustomed to narrower, more confined valley settings.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1470m - 2500m
Le Dévoluy
Pistes Total:
100 km
Le Devoluy domain piste bar
9 Green
27 Blue
14 Red
5 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 24
15 Draglifts
5 Chairlifts
1 Télémix Gondola/Chairlift
1 Gondolas

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Wide overview of La Joue du Loup village, wide valley and snow-covered mountains

The Ski Village

It would be hard to imagine two more contrasting architectural styles than those of village-like La Joue du Loup (whose predominant chalet style blends successfully into the landscape) and purpose-built SuperDévoluy (whose high-rise impact is nevertheless upstaged by the majesty of the surroundings). Newer development here is, however, on a low-impact scale. Each side of the mountain thus has its devotees and there’s a high proportion of private ownership, as the area has long been a favourite of family skiers from Marseille, Provence and the Mediterranean Coast. The relaxed style is unmistakably that of the sunny South. It’s very French and moving steadily upmarket (with self-imposed limits on further development in La Joue du Loup).
We based ourselves in La Joue du Loup, whose shops and services are mainly clustered around a circular pedestrian area in the centre of the village, with a choice of restaurants, bars and ski shops just a few steps away at the foot of the pistes. We found a good range of services including a very nice interiors shop, a 'quincaillerie' (hardware store) plus ski shops and equipment hire outlets. For food shopping, there are two delicatessens selling a wide range of regional products and ready-prepared meals. There’s also a mini-market for groceries, plus a boulangerie.
A Tourism Office situated at the entrance to the village offers a welcome service to guests on their arrival.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

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Young skiers with ski instructors beside mountain restaurant at Le Devoluy.

Best For

Families will love this place, as will early intermediates and those who prefer to enjoy their skiing in a safe, relaxing environment with great scenery and no nasty surprises. Not that it lacks the occasional challenge once you know where to look. Mixed-ability groups should therefore be happy.
While coming here rather than to the more familiar areas further north requires something of a leap of faith, those looking for an affordable, no-nonsense quality ski experience combined with a surprisingly good snow record (particularly in recent seasons) will find the Hautes-Alpes ski resorts a revelation.

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Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery

Snowboarding

At 2000m altitude, a fun park for all levels including beginner and experienced mogul lines.
1 Snowparks
1 Snowboarder Cross


Cross-Country Skiing

Diverse trails with panoramic views.
35km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Relaxed linked-domain skiing with a South of France feel.
  • Well-groomed and well-signed piste network.
  • Fast-improving lift system.
  • Accommodation for most budgets and tastes.
  • Dependable recent snow record.
  • Solid value, without compromises on the ski experience.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • Long distances for those driving from the UK.
  • Your friends probably won’t have heard of it (yet).

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • If you ski for the pure love of it, rather than the brag-value, then the southern French Alps really are well worth getting to know.
  • Download the app for webcams, activities etc. Available for iPhone and Android.

Practical Information

Getting there

By Car
For Dover-Calais ferry travel, other cross-channel routes, offers and bookings visit P&O Ferries

From Grenoble follow the RN85 (Route Napoléon) to Corps. Turn right before the main village following signs to La Joue du Loup and Super Dévoluy.
From Sisteron take the N75 then the D994. Just after Veynes take the D937which will take you to the ski stations.

By air
From Marseille you can transfer by the Navette Blanche for around 35€ per adult. This winter service operates from the airport and from the TGV station at Aix. See the Navettes Blanches website for details.
It is also possible to fly to Grenoble for transfers by train or by bus from the train station.

By train
Several options are available. Travel by TGV Paris to Grenoble where there is a bus connection from the station with Devoluy Voyages. The transfer takes just under 2½ hours - advance booking essential. Alternatively, take the TGV Paris to Aix-en-Provence to catch the Navettes Blanches shuttle service from the station, booking obligatory. There is an overnight train from Paris Austerlitz stopping at Veynes Devoluy at around 0630hrs. The bus service Devoluy Voyages takes passengers to La Joue du Loup (30 mins) and SuperDévoluy (60 mins), advance booking required.

Book your TGV fast train from Paris or Eurostar’s ski train direct to the French Alps with .

Transfers
Visit Ski-Lifts for the best range of ski transfer destinations from airports and main rail stations.


Things to do

In typical Famille Plus resort style, there are plenty of outdoor off-piste activities to try. Snow-shoeing, ski-touring, ski-joering, snake-gliss, quad-bike (the pedalling sort), frozen waterfalls, dog-sledding, snow-mobiling and paragliding are all available to try. If you prefer something more relaxing, there's a choice of sauna, aquaspa and massage, plus the mulit-activity Sports Centre at Superdévoluy. A new spa centre O'Dycéa is currently under construction at La Joue du Loup - due to open its doors in 2018.


Infants are well catered for with nurseries, and there's kindergarten with the ESF Piou Piou ski school. There's also lots of family fun such as safe taboggan areas. There's a programme of indoor entertainment especially for young children.


Le Dévolouy is also a real treat for gourmands and lovers of regional foods - you can even follow a trail called Couleurs Dévoluy visiting artisan producers along the way. The local restaurants are also a great way to discover what the region provides in terms of speciality foods.


For more information visit Le Dévoluy or contact the Tourist Offices in La Joue du Loup or Superdévolouy.



Where to stay

Tried and testedLes Hauts de la Lauzière

La Joue du Loup
05250 Agnières-en-Dévoluy

Chalets at Hautes de la Lauziere, Joue de Loup

Individual traditional style timber chalets situated in a quiet area on the edge of the village but just a few minutes’ level walk to the foot of the slopes, the shops and services.
We stayed in a 2-bedroom chalet sleeping six people, which had fantastic views from the balcony. There is a spacious living and dining area on the ground floor with a well equipped kitchen and a wood burning stove.
On the first floor, one double and one twin bedroom are adequately sized with a convenient bathroom on the same floor. A ground-floor shower room and toilet are useful for guests sleeping downstairs on the pull out sofa-bed.
There is a heated indoor swimming pool and sauna for guests, situated behind the Reception area at the top of the site. Outdoor parking is in a small number of dedicated areas.


Where to Eat

Tried and testedLou Patou

La Joue du Loup
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 58 84 78

Situated on the front de neige, Lou Patou is a justifiably popular, informal and cosy restaurant serving traditional specialities in a contemporary style.
The Planche Patou (15,50€) is a great introduction to some of those regional flavours including Tourtons, Raviolis and Gratin d’Oreilles d’âne served on a wooden platter and followed by Tourtons sucré and coffee, presented with a glass of Génepi. We enjoyed an excellent Gratin Ravioles aux Cepes (11,50€).
Don’t miss out on eating here, but do make a reservation to avoid disappointment. Menu in English available.


Tried and testedLa Tania

La Joue du Loup
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 58 95 22

Situated at the foot of the slopes, this bar restaurant is popular with young people. We chose two vegetarian options from the menu, Tagliatelle aux Cèpes and Gnocchi au Parmesan, but there was plenty of choice including pizzas, steaks, fish and their speciality of traditional dishes.


Tried and testedL’Op Traken

La Joue du Loup
Tel: +33 (0)6 64 91 70 69

L'Op Traken mountain restaurant, Le Devoluy

Mountain restaurant with a sunny terrace plus tables inside, situated under the Fontettes télémix. It serves a variety of snacks and a choice of crêpes which are generous enough for a skier’s lunch. The daily special was excellent value at around 12€.


Insight: Le Dévoluy

View from chairlift of trees, mountains and ski pistes at Le Devoluy

Insight: Le Dévoluy

The drive up from nearby Gap is a breeze, but our own arrival via Grenoble and the celebrated Route Napoléon is a more time-consuming approach, despite offering an unforgettable introduction to the captivating scenery of the Southern French Alps. Much of it still slumbering beneath a thick blanket of snow, but the village of La Joue du Loup, situated to one side of the ski area of Le Dévoluy, looks and feels welcoming, with development on a refreshingly human scale. So far, so good.

“Les Meules, a real roller-coaster run, snakes its way in skier-cross style through what feels at one point like the ultimate half-pipe before firing us back out again neatly beside the village, with broad smiles on our faces..”

Le Devoluy ski lift
Skier on Marmottes piste, Le Devoluy

Le Dévoluy popular with intermediate skiers

The following morning we board the Fontenettes télémix lift to begin discovering the ski area. Getting our bearings proves interesting at first, since our piste-map is a model of clarity when it comes to illustrating the lifts, but fails to name the pistes. That’s different. Fortunately they turn out to be well-signed, and we have a great time dropping down the blue- and red-graded runs towards the forest above the village.

Heading over to the SuperDévoluy sector couldn’t be simpler, the liaison being accomplished via a choice of routes, the simplest of which is a long blue cruise from the top of Fontenettes. We have every intention of doing so, but along the way pause for a welcome lunch-break at L’Op Traken before heading back up to 2200m on the Festoure high-speed 6-seater chairlift to appreciate the extraordinary views. From the top the full effects of the season’s mammoth snowfalls are clearly visible, even in late March.

This image provides the vast backdrop to our the exhilarating, more direct onward run all the way down into SuperDévoluy. En-route there’s a choice of red-, blue- and even green-graded terrain, guaranteeing its popularity with aspiring early intermediate skiers and while still being thoroughly enjoyable for those with a great deal more mileage under their skis.

Family-friendly architecture

The scale of SuperDévoluy’s original architecture isn’t to everyone’s taste, but we can tell you that it actually looks a lot better when you’re skiing down towards it than it does on the printed page. In its time it’s also offered countless ordinary families in the region an unexpected opportunity to secure their very own ski apartment along with the prospect of limitless visits to the mountains. They still come, of course, and bring with them a refreshingly down-to-earth atmosphere of fun which you can sense as soon as you arrive.

Not that everything is obvious. Experience has taught us that the outer reaches of any ski area often produce some of the most memorable and least-trafficked skiing. Sure enough, above SuperDévoluy our instincts are rewarded on Les Meules, a real roller-coaster run which snakes its way in skier-cross style through what feels at one point like the ultimate half-pipe, before firing us back out neatly beside the village, with broad smiles on our faces. With more practice you could have even more fun, which is something we look forward to doing when we’re able to get back to update our impressions.MountainPassions heart icon

Ski-lift, family, Le Devoluy