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At the foot of the Dents du Midi, the Salanfe dam holds around 20 million m3 of water, channelled through turbines 1,472 metres lower down in the Miéville power station on the Rhône plain. Although the power station has a very discreet appearance, you will nonetheless easily spot its location, just below the Pissevache waterfall. The power station produces around 110 GWh of electricity per year, an amount equivalent to the energy consumption of around 30,000 households.
A region that Nicolas Rouge, Chairman of Salanfe SA and Asset Manager at Alpiq's Hydropower Generation unit, has been particularly fond of since he was a child.
For Nicolas, the Salanfe region represents "one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Alps, with the happiness of seeing the Dents du Midi reflected in the Salanfe lake, while sitting on the terrace of the Salanfe mountain inn". Located an hour's walk from Van d'en Haut (Marécottes/Salvan), the guesthouse is easily accessible. "The guesthouse operators are very welcoming! It's a joy to be able to recharge your batteries up there. I particularly appreciate, even in summer, eating fondue or raclette on that terrace. I even had the chance to celebrate my 50th birthday with friends at the guesthouse one weekend." Starting from the guesthouse, you can then walk around Lake Salanfe in less than an hour. It is also possible to sleep at the guesthouse, in a dormitory or individual room. Remember to book beforehand!
While the dam and the guesthouse are only accessible to the general public by foot, the operating staff have a vertiginous 5 km-long cable railway, with a gradient of almost 95%, at their disposal for access at all times. Hold on tight!
Ibex and chamois also appreciate the area, especially in spring. With a bit of luck, you might even spot a few ibex on the dam. Yes, you read correctly: on the dam. Thanks to the special shape of their hooves, these bovids cling to the dam wall and lick the saltpetre, or salt, that comes out of the concrete.
The zoo and the natural swimming pool of Les Marécottes are also very popular spots in the Trient Valley. The zoo's restaurant is also well worth a visit, as is the Auberge de l'Union. To spend the night, you will find a campsite in Van d'en Haut and a hotel will soon be opening in the zoo.