Upper reaches of the valley of the Arc
The Maurienne derives its name from the local patois for ‘wicked river’ (mau riau), and the Haute Maurienne lies along the upper reaches of the Arc valley, a clutch of simple stone-clad villages crouched in the lee of craggy mountains south of Val d’lsère.
At the foot of the Col du Mont Cernis (2,083 m) and the road to Italy, Lanslebourg is the home of the regional tourist office which arranges tours of local churches at Avrieux. Bessans, Lanslevillard, and Termignon, the surprising repositories of ornate Baroque art. The best preserved of the villages is Bonneval-sur-Arc with its spidery narrow streets and rough cottages weighed down by their heavy slate roofs.