The main route to France from Turin runs through the Susa Valley, passing near the region’s main ski resorts. The one real sight to spot is the Sacra di San Michele, a forbidding fortified abbey anchored atop a rocky hill; it’s an easy day-trip from Turin. Susa itself, reached by a minor branch of the rail line, was once a modest Roman town and is now a modest provincial town – a pleasant stopover but with little else to lure you.

Taking the parallel Chisone Valley to the south back towards Turin, you will encounter a much more bucolic and less-developed area, dotted along the way with small towns. The picturesque slate-roofed hamlet of USSEAUX, whose weather-worn old walls are decorated with colourful murals, is well worth discovering and makes an agreeable spot for lunch.

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