The « Hérisson » river originates from the Saut Girard, which is fed by the waters of Lake Bonlieu and the Ilay Lakes.
Visit the 31 waterfalls and torrents of the Hérisson on a 3 hour hike (7.4 km round trip) and prepare to be amazed by the magix of this unique valley.
For almost 7 centuries, the Hérisson valley has been a place of intense activity. Humans settled here to use the driving force of water and the area's wealth of natural resources: hemp, iron ore, grain, wood, etc.
You'll see industrial remains along the lenght of the hike: they bear witness to the activity that lasted until the advent of electricity in the late nineteenth century.
The Hérisson Falls have been classified as a protected landscape since April 2002.
What does this means?
It means that government services carefully monitor what happens on the site. As manager of the site, the Pays des Lacs Federation of Councils must obtain authorisation from DREAL (Regional Directorate of Environment, Planning and Housing) to implement safety work or landscaping (installation of guardrails, construction of viewpoints etc.) and from French government architects for work on buildings.
A listed natural heritage site requires significant investment. Since it started managing the site, the Federation of Councils has carried out the following work:
- Construction of toilets and a waste water treatment system
- An Information Point
- A visitor centre, "La Maison des Cascades"
- Safety work (€270,000 for the replacement of railings, construction of bridges etc.)
- Landscaping works (rehabilitation of viewpoints, information boards, etc.)
Parking fees help finance all of these facilities and maintenance of the site. (Parking is payable only in high season).
Landscaping and safety work is jointly funded by the European Union, the French government and the General Council of the Jura.