La Fouley has 2 or 3 hotels a supermarket and a sports shop. While we wouldn’t recommend the hotel Edelweiss, there was nothing wrong with it and with little other choice you may end up here.
Diary – Sunday July 18
Lavachey – Arnurva – Rifugio Elena – Col Grand Ferret – La Peule – Ferret – La Fouly
It had rained most of the night and in the morning the cloud was on the road outside the hotel. The weather forecast was for showers in Italy, but more sunshine in Switzerland – just the incentive we needed to push over the Col Grand Ferret. We had a big breakfast with fresh milk straight from the cow, which tasted like milk never had to us before, bought a picnic lunch from the hotel (great value) and headed out into the drizzly mist.
The road up the valley is flat and soon the mist stared to lift a bit. After an hour having passed Arnurva the path/track starts to climb – not too steeply, but enough to be tiring. After a big zigzag we reached the Rifugio Elena – more of a tourist/day walker café than a refuge, with the owners keen to serve the day trippers and a bit rude and offhand to us. We had a quick coffee and a hot chocolate to warm up and caught a few glimpses of the Pré de Bar Glacier though gaps in the clearing cloud. The refuge does have some photos of the glacier in years gone by and it’s interesting and a little shocking to see how it has receded in the past 25 years.
We kept our heads down and 1 1/2 hours later we were standing on the col with one foot on Italy and one foot in Switzerland.
The sun broke through in patches, so we stopped and opened our excellent packed lunch and relaxed for a while on the col – it was just a shame Mont Dolent was still swathed in cloud.
It was an easy stroll downwards to the buildings at La Peule (where they serve drinks and food). We just refilled our water bottles and pushed on down a track that winds down to the stream in the bottom of the Swiss Val Ferret. From here it is only a few minutes down the road to Ferret.
The path leaves the road here to take a detour past 2 or 3 gites, but it isn’t really worth it, in hindsight it would have been better to walk down the road into La Fouly, which has a supermarket and a couple of hotels.
We stayed at Hotel Edelweiss (there is also a dortoir here). The place reeks of the seventies, and we felt it was too expensive for what it offered, though we had just crossed from inexpensive Italy to Switzerland and we did get a room with a view of the mountains. But by 4PM we were sitting in the sun enjoying a beer. At 4:30PM a huge thunderstorm came out of nowhere and we were glad to have finished the day.
With little other choice, we ate in the hotel. The set meal was raclette or there were a la carte options like pike-perch which was good but didn’t compare to the meal in La Vachey, though to be honest that was so good it’s unfair to make a comparison.
By this stage our bodies were feeling battered and we were generally quite tired but we were just as determined to go on. The forecast for the next day was showers and sunny periods so it could be a mixed day.