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the path enters a pine forest, through which a miserable road leads down to the valley above Terinignon, into which there are sone magnificent peeps. There is still, however, a long and fatiguing descent to make before that little town can be reached. There is a path which, going from the hamlet of St. Marguerite, skirts the Mont Parouffa , behind Lanslebourg, and leads directly to the latter town, but, though a shorter, it is even more fatiguing than the route to Termignon, and one which it is difficult to pass with a laden mule. At Termignon the path from the Vanoise falls into the great route of ihe Cenis, which in an hour takes the traveller to Lanslcbourg (Route 127.). .
ROUTE 124. (See Route 127.)
ROUTE 125. PONT DE BEAUVOISIN TO AIX BY THE MONT DU CHAT. The road to the Mont du Chat leaves Pont de Beauvoisin to follow a course on the right bank of the river Guiers Vir, through the villages of Belmont and Tramonex to St. Genix, a large village near the confluence of the Guiers with the Rhone, thence turping abruptly up the latter river, it continues on its left bank for about 10 miles, through some fine scenery, until it reach
Yenne, a little town most agreeably situated on a rising ground above the Rhone, nearly opposite to a fort, finely placed on a rock above the Rhone, called St. Pierre Châtel, which, on the French side of the river, defends the passage.'
Yenne existed in the time of the Romans, under the name of Ejanna, and, according to some au borities, Epaona. It lies in the ancient route from France to Italy, by The Mont du Chat, which, was much used before the opening of the Grotto near les Échelles. The whole neighbourhood is very rich in cultivation. Corn, wine, and fruit-trees abound. The white wines named Marétel, and Altesse, grown at Lucy, OB. the banks of the Rhone, a little north of Yenne, owe iheir excellence to plants which were brought here froin Cyprus, by a duke of Savoy, or the lords of his court.
from Yenne, a road, which is not in a very praiseworthy condition in the plain, though it is the route of a daily dili ulice from Lyons to Aix le Bains, leads directly towards the Mont du Chat, by Chevalu, distant four miles from Yenne. This village is situated at the foot of the mountain. The exfreine richness of the country cannot fail to draw the attention of the traveller, and when, beyond Chevalu, the road ascends. and rises high enough above the surrounding country, ils, excessive fertility is its striking feature.
The road over the mountain is well constructed. The summit of the Mont du Chat rises on the riglıt; on the left, steep slopes and precipices descend to the base, ending in rich pasturages, in which there are some little lakes or larns. Many tourniquets in the road give a gradual asient, and at the end of an hour the summit is attained. The scene, on looking back towards France, is one of the most sertile in the world, studded with villages and towns, and so extensive, that where the distant mountains of Tarrare do not limit the horizon, it subsides into indistinctness. Immediately below, on the same side, are the rich pasturages of the western slopes of the Mont du Chat. Beyond these are the valley of the Rhône, and the hills and plains which extend to the Ain.
On the summit of the pass there is a level, about 300 yards across. The road passes on the southern side of a large mass of rock which is upon it. The summit of the pass is covered with stones, rocks, and brushwood. A temple formerly stood here, of which the foundations may be traced, and many of the stones around, made part of the building. The stones have been well cut, and the cornices of many are yet tolerably perfect. An inscription was found here by Dr. Cramer, which has given rise to the idea that the temple was dedicated to Mercury. “We have said,” he observes, “ that the temple on the summit of the Mont du Chat was reported to be dedicated to Mercury, but the inscription itself hardly bears out this opinion, M. Albanis de Beaumont, in his description of the Alpes Grecques, calls this mountain the Mons Thuates, but without giving his authority. Now, Theut and Thait, in Armoric, are the names of the deity who presided over highways, and who was much worshipped by the Gauls; hence Cæsar says, that the people principally worshipped Mercury, who had the same office ainong the Roman deities. The name, Therefore, of Mons Thuates. would argue a passage very high antiquity, and the temple, is really dedicated to Mercury, would tend strongly to the confirmation of this opinion.” – Dissertation on the Passage of Hannibal.
It has been satisfactorily shown by De Luc, and by Wickham and Cramer, that the army under Hannibal here encountered its first dilliculties in passing the Alps. After having ascended the Rhone as far as Vienne, he led his army across the country of the Allobroges, by Bourgoin, les Abrets, and Aouste (Augusta Allobrogum), now a village on the left bank of the Guiers, nearly opposite to Yenne, thence by Chevalu (Leviscum), across the Mont du Chat to Chanbery (Lenimcum).
The form and character of the Mont du Chat agrees entirely with the account, by Polybius, of those events which could only in such a peculiar locality occur, but the inquiry cannot
*8.be condensed into the space that could be anorded here. It 18 has been clearly shown by the above authors, that the army
* passed the Mont du Chat to Chambéry, thence to Montmeil 21 jan, and up the Val Isère to Conflans, Moutiers, and St. Mau::- rico, and passed into Italy by the Liitle St. Bernard.
From the summit of the Mont du Chat, 5000 feet above the CVD level of the sea, the view on the eastern side is one of sur
passing beauty. It appears to overhang the lake of Bourget, into whose deep blue waters it seems only a leap. Beyond is the rich valley of Chambéry, extending from Albens to the
Mont Granier: the town of Aix seems to be at your feet across zoni the lake : on the right, the city of Chambéry lies like a mo
del; hundreds of hamlets and villages speckle the beautiful 3 inte valley, which is bounded on the opposite side by the rich charm en slopes of the Mont d'Azi, and the Dent de Nivolet, far beyond 01", are seen the mountains which bound the Val Isère, and the O snowy sumınits of those which extend to the Dauphiny Alps.
The descent is peculiarly exciting. The road is safely and finely made, which winds down the steep side of the mountain, but in many places the parapet is seen to cut abruptly against the deep blue lake, and suggests the idea of its being thousands of feet, à plomb, below.
On reaching the base, however, there are fields, rich woods,
and villages on the steep slopes which rise from the lake, vel but this extends only to Bordeau, beyond this village there is
no path by the lake: its shores are too abrupt, at least as far as Hautccombe, If the traveller would go direct to Aix, a palb on the left leads to the village of Bordeau, where a boat can be hired to cross the lake to the opposite shore, and a walk of twenty minutes leads to Aix, and the comfortable pension of Maison Vernat.
The direct road continued to Chambéry from the Mont. du Chat, passes through Bourget, where the plain of Chamþéry commences, this is traversed for about seven miles to the city from Bourget through the villages of Motte and Bissy, and amidst a luxuriance of vegetation which cannot be imagined.
About a mile and a half from Pont de Beauvoisin the high road to Les Echelles is left; and at the village of Domessin a narrow road turns off to the left, and leads over a low hill well wooded, and thence through a remarkably rich plain, that extends to those limestone precipices which are a conuinuation of the ridge of rocks that make so formidable a
barrier at les Echelles. Avoiding the principal road to La Bridoire, and crossing the plain direct from near Pont de Beauvoisin, the path abruptly approaches these precipices. Ciose to their bases a zigzag path, very steep, leads up the talus formed during many ages by the débris; in some places, however, the path is so narrow, that the wall of(the precipice can be touched by one hand, whilst the other overhangs the steep and dangerous descents below:in some places two persons cannot pass each other. A little time is gained by this short cut, and there is some chance of adventure, and the situations are striking, but it is scarcely worth the fatigue. It leads to the same hamlet, Bridoire, which is highly picturesque in its situation, its cottages, and its water-mills. From this place the road ascends, crosses a ridge, and enters upon the basin of the lake of Aiguebellelte, a rich open valley, finely wooded ; and where a view of the lake is obtained, the whole scene is beautiful.
The road undulates amidst the magnificent walnut trees which abound here, and passes through the village of Lepin, offering some very fine views. There is a singular character of tranquillity and retirement in the spot : the scenery resernbles that of the most beautiful of our Cumberland lakes, but the visit of a traveller is so rare an occurrence, that insiead of a crowd of visitors, and a season (or visiting, a yea may pass away without any other stranger being seen than a lille négociant making a shorter cut to Chambéry than by the great road to Les Echelles.
A ridge divides the village of Lepin from that of Aiguebellelle, at the extremity of the ridge on the left, overhanging the lake, is a château, in a most romantic and beautiful siluation ; the road on the other side of the ridge descends to Aiguebelleite, and passes the ruins of the castle of its barons; it is of high antiquity; its foundation is unknown, and it is therefore attributed to the Romans : it is recorded to have been repaired in the 11th century. It was burnt and demolished by one of the dauphins of Vienne, in the 15th century.
Aiguebellette is a poor little village, in a most beautiful situation; it has a miserable little inn, which cannot furnish even decent wine and refreshment in a country so abundant
y not even fish from the lake : these are taken and sent to distant markets. The government claims a beggarly tax upon the right to fish of about 121. a year; the lake is celebrated for the excellence and abundance of its carp, trout, and other fish. The lake is about three miles long, and two wide; its depth varies, but it is generally about 150 feet deep. Around the lake are fields and meadows, but most of the slopes of the surrounding mountains are wooded. Oats, barley, pota:
toes, Indian corn, and flax are grown in the spots cultivated.
It is curious that a tradition exists here that Hannibal passed with a part of the Carthagenian army by Aiguebellette ; and the inhabitants also speak of a distinguished stranger who lived long in retirement in this beautiful solitude, and lest many proofs of his benevolence, but died without leaving a name.
On proceeding from Aiguebelletle the path skirts the churchyard, and enters a line of meadows beneath magnificent walnut trees. Soon, however, it begins to ascend the mountain side, and rises over the intervening trees, presenting views of the lake, the villages around it, and the distant bills which slope down and border the Rhone. The road now becomes very steep, ascending in zigzags, sometimes sunk in the crues of the mountain, at others rounding the projections, and increasing, as the observer rises above the lake, the beauty with the extent of the view. At length, after a very fatiguing ascent for an hour, the summit is attained, and a glorious view is presented over the basin of Chambery, similar to that which is seen from the Mont du Chat; but, though not so elevated, it is, perhaps, superior; the idea of a fall into the lake of Bourget does not, as there, make the traveller shrink from the parapet. Instead of looking down into the lake, it is seen, at its nearest point, about eight miles off, resting at the base of the steep Mont du Chat; and opposite to it are the houses of Aix.
Chambery seems, from the Aiguebellette, to be just below the observer; and, in the road to it from Les Echelles, which may be seen, the cascade of Couz is distinctly observed; its bright white line forming a very small speck amidst the extent and scale of the surrounding objects. The valley, too, between the Dent de Nivolet and the Mont Granier is more opened, and the richly-wooded and cultivated scene more extended : few such glorious views are presented as that offered to the eye of the traveller from the mountain of Aiguebellette.
The descent from the summit of the col may be made by two routes : that on the right seerns to have been the old Roman road, but it is now impracticable for horses. There are traces of its having been a well-constructed road, in the remains of high and very thick dry walls, which supported, towards the plain, its terraces. Albanis de Beaumont says that, after half an hour's descent by this road, there are many stone coffins found at the foot of the lateral rocks, with slabs which formerly covered them, upon which some characters are seen, though they are too much effaced to be read : blocks, too, of cut stone are found, and he conjectures, that they are the ruins of a chapel dedicated to St. Michael, which