Village website : www.ristolas-viso.com
is the smallest district in terms of population (95 inhabitants) but the largest in terms of size (8217 acres). It is also the only district you won’t come across by following the main road. Indeed, in order to discover the villages of Ristolas
, La Monta
situated between 1633m and 1695m of altitude, one must leave the main road to follow a smaller one which leads to a place where the mountains are pure, unrefined and sometimes uncontrollable!
On the 23rd May 1469, Ristolas was partly destroyed when the Segure torrent overflowed. In 1521 and again in 1629, fire set to work and the flames brought down many houses. In 1631, it was the plague’s turn to cause harm; back then the village was known as the village with only 9 married men left. In 1690, the Vallois, ravaged and ransacked the village. On top of all this, avalanches were a constant threat throughout the winter, devastating all on their way down. The inhabitants of La Monta and L’Echalp also had to deal with similar disasters and with the dangers of living in such secluded areas, on the French/Piedmont border.
During the Second World War, the area was evacuated. Upon their return, the villagers discovered ruins instead of their homes; the result of bombings. Only a few older houses remained standing. However, the damage inflicted by the war gave the inhabitants the opportunity to rebuild bigger and more modern farmhouses; this explains the distinctive yet not authentic architecture. Ristolas was rebuilt and welcomed villagers year round once again but it was out of the question to rebuild La Monta or L’Echalp. In La Monta, the custom house and the church are the only remains of what was once an old village. The custom house has become an accommodation where hikers are welcome to stay on their way around the Tour of the Queyras. L’Echalp on the other hand is being rehabilitated and many houses are under renovation. L’Echalp is a resurrected village where walkers can find a place to stay the night. Come discover the charm of these villages and their secrets ready to be shared.
Today, Ristolas is a “young”, friendly and welcoming village mostly thanks to its inhabitants wishes to make it so.