The "Tour de l'Oisans" is the name given to one of the most strenuous alpine walks: the 'GR54'. It is circuitous, traditionally beginning and ending at the alpine resort of Bourg d'Oisans 40km (25miles) to the east of Grenoble. The massif it encircles is that of the Ecrins, the bulk of which is a National Park. The landscape is stupendous. There are wondrous views and nowhere along the whole route lacks interest. The valleys are rich in individuality, the hamlets varied in style and facility. Forest, meadows, bare mountainside, scree, scant tracks, stones, bushes, rocks, streams, pools, rivers, lakes, glaciers are the ingredients and very little roadwork is encountered.
The GR54 should not be attempted by anyone who has not had a thorough 'primer' of approaching difficulty elsewhere in the Alps. The Mont Blanc Tour is similar in scale: of distance and total ascended altitude, taking about the same time in which it can be accomplished.However, the GR54 is more difficult, being severe and exposed in places with attendant increase in danger and risk. Nevertheless, thousands flock to the area annually. The French quite rightly recognise its grand potential and there is a constant passage of people progressing their way around the paths.
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