Vallon des Vaux
A refreshing outing in the Vallon des Vaux and Vallon du Flonzel nature reserves
Chavannes-le-Chêne – Le Martinet – Chêne-Pâquier – Chavannes-le-Chêne
Setting off from Chavannes-le-Chêne’s town hall, we take the footpath facing us leading to the Vallon nature reserve. At the crossing near the spring we turn right. The Vallon, or valley, is home to chamois, so keep your eyes peeled. We follow the waymarked path heading towards Rovray. We pass the cliffs, catching glimpses of Chêne-Pâquier village on the other side. Once out of the wood, rather than go to Rovray, we leave the waymarked path to skirt a clearing on our left, following a grassy path alongside a little stream. We join an access track, following it as far as the end before entering the wood again via a path on our left just before a pile of stones. Arriving at the bottom of that path, we turn right. We carry straight on as far as the steps on our left, which we go down. We then bear left and follow the Vaux stream, heading towards its source. At the Tour St-Martin (St. Martin’s Tower) we head towards Molondin and cross the Flonzel nature reserve via a short rise – more exercise for the legs. After the sewage farm, we take the path on our left and continue towards Chêne-Pâquier in the shade of hazel trees. St. Martin’s Tower can be seen on leaving the wood. It can be visited for views of the surrounding countryside. We then take the footpath that brings us to Chêne-Pâquier. Its elliptical church was erected in 1667. Owing its curious shape to a quarrel between the carpenter and mason building it, the chapel is worth a visit. The path continues via the wood on the return leg to Chavannes-le-Chêne, its Bernese bridge and ancient mill. For a variant that misses out the Molondin loop, take the shortcut via St. Martin’s Tower. This itinerary lops almost an hour off the walk.