Hautes-Alpes (05460) Population: 71 Altitude: 1610 m
Ristolas is a tiny mountain village at the far eastern edge of the Queyras Natural Park, the last village on the road following along the Guil river towards its source in the mountains dividing France and Italy.
Three km up the valley past Abriès, the commune of Ristolas contains the village of Ristolas and the hamlets of La Monta an L'Echalp.
From Château Queyras village, the road goes northeast up the Guil valley past Chateau-Ville-Vieille (3 km), Aiguilles (7 km), Abriès (12 km), Ristolas (15 km) and Ristolas-L'Echalp (19 km).
Ristolas village sits at the south side of the Guil river, opposite the road leading up the valley. It's a small settlement with just four or five short streets, marked by a village church with tall bell tower in the village center.
• GPS: 44.773469, 6.956852
IGN (1/25,000) #3637 OT "Mont Viso, St-Veran, Aiguilles"
Some serious mountain hiking trails pass through Ristolas village, La Monta and l'Echalp hamlets. Our photo here shows the 7 Degrees East gîte in l'Echalp. On our last trip to the village (Sept 2015), two hikers were sitting at the terrace in the evening waiting for the refuge to open; they had just hiked down from the Col de Valante (3051 m), beside the 3841 m Monte Viso.
Grande Randonnée hiking trails GR58, GR58A, GR58B and GR58C pass through here, crossing various cols over the mountains along the French-Italian border, including Col Agnel (2744 m) and Col Sellière (2834 m).
Variants of the GR58 trail criss-cross through the mountains of the Queyras, and pass through the villages of Aiguilles and Abriès, and connectes with the GR5 trail at Château-Queyras.
L'Arche des Cimes
- This is a wonderful nature museum, presenting the flora and fauna of the Quyeras mountains and natural park. Apart from the stuffed-animal decorated atrium in the center space [photo], the museum has many displays and learning games, including "egg" booths where you can hear and learn to identify regional birds and animals.
- Location: Where the road bridge enters the village just after crossing the river (GPS: 44.773674, 6.957169).
- Open: July-Aug: daily, 12h30 18h30; June, Sept: Wed-Sun, 13h30-18h30; Christmas vacation to end Mar: Mon-Fri, 13h30-18h30
- Entry: 5 €; kids 6-16, 2.5 €