La réserve des Deslioures
The reserve is the biggest site in Europe for the “Queen of the Alps”. Created in 1993 by the ONF (forestry commission), this “sanctuary” is included in those natural sites classified Natura 2000.
The Queen of the Alps, or blue thistle, is a species found all over the Fournel valley, so much so that it was the first emblem of the Parc National des Écrins. In fact the thistle is spread over 40 hectares of which 17 hectares are in the Réserve des Deslioures, and this was the reason for it being classed Natura 2000.
The Queen of the Alps, called the blue thistle because its leaves are edged with slightly spiky (but not stingy) teeth, is a rare, nationally-protected species. Furthermore, it can live for up to a hundred years, which is a miracle for a herbaceous plant!
Apart from the Queen of the Alps, nearly 900 flower varieties have been counted within the Réserve biologique des Deslioures.
The Reserve aims to inform visitors of the need to protect the thistle, as well as the general importance of the site. In parallel, the ONF (forestry commission) created a discovery trail, the aim of which is to give a better understanding of natural high valley areas such as Fournel.
Thus the Réserve biologique des Deslioures is an important tourist attraction, a visit definitely worth the detour.
Crédit photos : Jan Novak Photographie Destinations Écrins