Retour lake is a beautiful lake in the heart of the Vanoise natural park. You go up from the village of Chatelard Montvalezan or you can go up from Bourg Saint Maurice. The whole area is protected, Vanoise is the oldest French national park, created at the beginning to protect the "bouquetin", an animal that isn't very often seen but it was a success: there were 100 two centuries ago, now there's 2,500. You can bathe in the lake, but the water is pretty cold. Refreshes you after the two hours it took you to climb to the plateau, and the Retour passage, which turns back to town. 5 miles from Italy and you can continue to walk there, or the border village of Grande Golette is cute.