The valley takes its name from this village, located at an altitude of 1427 metres.
The village centre has held onto all its old customs from feudal times: it is built around the local lords’ castle, even if all that remains is a turreted tower, after it was destroyed in 1212. Around 1400, thechurch of San Nicola was built on the ruins of the castle. The church houses valuable wooden altars elaborately adorned in gold. Close to the church is a small panoramic viewpoint overlooking the waterfalls that the Ayasse river forms when flowing spectacularly into the ravine below.
In the XIX century, the valley was king Vittorio Emanuelle II’s favourite destination and he owned a royal hunting lodge at Dondena.
At Champorcher, you can see the hand made hemp products, all worked on a wooden loom – sheets, towels, table covers, bags, all done with hemp materials and finished off with delicate handmade lace and trimmings produced by the Lou Dzeut Cooperative. Near to the cooperative, the hemp museum is situated inside an ancient building in the centre of the village of Chardonney.
Rye bread is typically found in this area and even comes in a enriched version with chestnuts, cumin and dried fruit. It is baked once a year on the first Saturday in August, in the town’s communal ovens. Eaten fresh, it gives off a delicious fragrance but can also be preserved on special wooden racks, known as “ratelë” for some months. Once dried, the bread is cut using a special tool known as a “Copapan”.
From Champorcher, the valley rises up as far as Dondena, to open spectacularly onto a vast basin dominated by Rosa dei Banchi (3164m) and ending with the Miserin lake, one of the most enchanting in the Graie Alps. The Notre-Dame des Neiges sanctuary overlooks the lake and is an ancient oratory that became famous for the miracles that took place there during celebrations in 1630. From then onwards, it became a pilgrimage destination and acquired the title of Sanctuary.
In winter, the Champorcher resort, equipped with modern lifts, offers Alpine ski slopes that run for more than 12 kilometres as well as cross-country routes.
With its pure air, some peaks can be reached with Alpine skiing.