Arvier is to be found at a height of 776 metres in a small valley where vines are grown, a clear indication of man’s stubbornness to use all the land available to him: this is where the famous “Enfer d’Arvier” red wine is produced, and one of the first Val d’Aosta wines to obtain D.O.C. status: its dry taste and hints of wild rose tell the story of this village and its inhabitants who struggled long and hard over the centuries to build the terracing on the sunniest slope.
In Roman times, this village was known as Arebrigium (from are=taken and briga=plain) and was used as a military camp along the route to the Gauls. Traces can still be seen and have recently undergone restoration work.
The parish church is in the town centre with its museum of sacred art, Romanesque bell tower and the La Mothe Castle, built towards the end of the XIII century, while in the nearby hamlet of Leverogne you can admire the frescoes in the pilgrim hospice founded in 1368.
From the hamlet of Grand Haury (10 minutes by car from the Capital), where you can still see the ancient water powered windmills and saw mills, you can easily walk to the enchanted Montmayeur Castle whose cylindrical tower is still standing.
Driving up the Valgrisenche you will come to the sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Rochefort whose backdrop is the magnificent Château Blanc glacier, while the hamlet of Planaval in the Valgrisenche with its austere tower built in the XIV century is the starting point for the splendid Alpine ski itinerary in the Rutor mountain range and for inebriating heliski descents, or if you prefer, the Planaval Strong House.
From the hamlet in La Ravoire where you will find examples of architecture from the Low Middle Ages and a rock gym for climbing lovers, you can take the scenic pathway that leads to the Lac Lolair nature reserve.
Arvier is the birthplace of Maurice Garin, winner of the first Tour de France in 1903. Like many from Val d’Aosta, he had emigrated to France to work as a chimney sweeper. When he started cycling, he earned himself the name of “le petit ramoneur” (the small chimney sweeper) for his minute, slim physique. He finished the first Tour in 94 hours and 33 minutes, with an average of 25.679 riding a bicycle with a 16kg fixed wheel! His resistance was legendary: he won the Paris-Roubaix twice and the Paris-Brest-Paris once (1,200km, two days and two nights race!), taking the lead by more than two hours. Disqualified from the Tour in 1904 because he was towed by a car, he withdrew from racing.