Réserve Naturelle des Isles du Drac

Natural heritage : Natural wonder

The Isles du Drac Nature Reserve is a reservoir of biodiversity at the gateway to the Grenoble metropolis. At the crossroads of mountain and Mediterranean influences, it is home to a mosaic of natural environments. Access to this site is restricted.

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Covering the entire 15 km length of the Drac riverbed, the geomorphological variety and the influence of mountain slopes with Mediterranean affinities give this peri-urban site, which has been heavily impacted by human activity (exploitation of drinking water resources, hydroelectricity, former gravel extraction, dyking), a very wide diversity of environments.

Organized around the river, the environments of the nature reserve are more or less linked to it: gravel banks, low-lying shores, terraces occupied by meadows and woodlands, wetlands and alluvial forests. To date, there are some forty different natural habitats organized in a complex mosaic that is home to 482 species of fauna and over 700 plant species. Some of these habitats, such as cladia, arborescent alluvial willow and alder-ash, alder-peat and ash-peat, are of Community interest.

8 plant species are protected at regional level: cirse de Montpellier, inule de Suisse, ophioglossus, flat-stemmed rush, erect micropus, sceler's buttercup, rocambole garlic and small-leaved epipactis.

The mosaic of natural environments also supports a wide variety of animal species. Among the most emblematic: the European nightjar, emblem of the nature reserve, the little bittern, the European beaver, the Girondine coronelle, the agrion de Mercure, the sea buckthorn sphinx and the wild blue, the natterjack toad and the flying squirrel.
The bed of the Drac has been off-limits to visitors by prefectoral decree since 1997. Water is released as part of the hydroelectric operation of the Notre-Dame-de-Commiers dam. Water levels can rise very quickly, creating a real danger of drowning. Bollards and signs bearing the words "access forbidden" indicate the limits set by the prefectoral decree.
The areas open to the public are the Chasse Barbier site, accessible from the Plaine de Reymure in Vif, and the Promenade Thiervoz, accessible from Claix and Varces.
For further information on the Reserve's accessibility, please visit the manager's website: www.rnr-drac-jarrie.fr

Pets on a leash permitted. Camping and bivouac prohibited. Gathering prohibited.


Free of charge. The Reserve manager organizes visits for the general public and schoolchildren all year round. For further information, contact or reservesnaturelles@grenoblealpesmetropole.fr.

Opening periods

All year round in areas open to the public (Chasse Barbier and Promenade Thiervoz).
Visitors must respect the tranquillity of wildlife, particularly during the bird breeding season, from March 1 to June 30.

Equipments and characteristics

  • Pets refused