The Vanoise National Park

1st National Park created in France, the Vanoise National Park extends over a large part of the Haute Maurienne Vanoise. Enjoy this haven of peace, far from any pollution, appreciate the calm, the silence, the pure air. Discover this remarkable and preserved environment accompanied by an instructor-guard or a mountain guide, enrich your knowledge of the fauna and flora.

1st French National Park

A National Park created in 1963

In the heart of the Vanoise National Park, you will easily come across marmots from April to September. You will also be able to observe ibexes, high altitude lakes, and the Vanoise glaciers... A natural resource area to discover all year round, on foot, with snowshoes or by ski touring.

The Vanoise National Park is a protected area, mostly on the territory of Haute Maurienne Vanoise, founded in 1963 thanks to Gilbert André, then mayor of Bonneval sur Arc. The central zone, called "heart", is a totally protected area with regulations that promote the biodiversity of landscapes, environments, species and preserve the cultural and mountain heritage.

In a few steps, you are in the heart of the first National Park of France and one of the largest preserved spaces in Europe. Indeed, the Vanoise National Park adjoins the Italian Grand Paradis National Park. Together, they form one of the largest protected areas in the Western Alps. Ibexes and chamois have been able to move from one to the other in peace for decades.

 

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Richness and diversity of the fauna

Ibexes, chamois, marmots, eagles, lammergeiers...

The richness of the fauna of the Vanoise National Park is undeniable. The Park is home to large ungulates as well as birds, insects and amphibians.

Herbivores (deer, roe deer, chamois and ibex...they are all present in Vanoise), rodents (with for example the variable hare which changes its livery during the seasons, the marmot, various voles of which the snow vole, the collared mouse), carnivores (the fox, the badger, the marten, the weasel, the ermine), bats (the common pipistrelle, the northern earwig) and insectivores like the water shrew are widely present in the heart of the Vanoise National Park. Some animals are easily observed, like the marmot or the ibex. For others, you will need patience, a little luck and a good pair of binoculars.

Among the 125 species of birds nesting in Vanoise, we find the golden eagle, the crossbill, the blackbird, the Tengmalm's owl, the black flycatcher, the great horned owl, the rock blackbird, the black grouse, the rock partridge, the rock ptarmigan, the black woodpecker, the three-toed woodpecker (observed in France only in Savoie and Haute-Savoie) and the tichodrome.

You may be lucky enough to be flown over by the huge bearded vulture, one of the largest birds in Europe. This bone-feeding vulture nests in the inaccessible cliffs around Val Cenis-Termignon and Bessans.

Visit the exhibition (free access) of "La Maison de la Vanoise", in Val Cenis-Termignon, to learn more about the lammergeier and the whole Vanoise National Park.

An extraordinary flora

One third of the flora of France is present in Vanoise

The latest synthesis on the flora of France "Flora Gallica", published in 2014, lists about 5000 species of vascular plants (ferns and allied plants, conifers and flowering plants) in metropolitan France. The Vanoise massif alone gathers 1700 species, i.e. a third of the flora of France on less than 0.5% of the national territory!

This exceptional diversity is explained by the variety of environments present. On the border between the Northern Alps and the Southern Alps, Haute Maurienne Vanoise is home to alpine pastures, dry grasslands, wetlands and high altitude sectors. The different rocks present also allow many species to find their favorite habitat.

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Adopt the "Park Attitude

To enjoy the richness of the Vanoise National Park, respect the environment and the rules of the Park.

  • Come on foot, without your dog (even on a leash), leave your mountain bike and paraglider at home (some itineraries are however accessible to mountain bikes and bicycles, in Aussois and Val Cenis)
  • Admire the beauty of the flowers without picking them, they will not grow back in your home
  • Feed on tasty local products but don't feed the marmots
  • Optimize your water and electricity consumption in the huts
  • Follow the trails and do not cut the laces on the way down
  • Take the shuttles instead of your car

A walk or a hike in the heart of the Vanoise National Park offers a superb experience of nature. Open this extraordinary picture book with your children, awaken their curiosity, make them aware of the environment and respect for it... That's what real mountain vacations are all about!

A privileged meeting with nature

The rangers of the Vanoise National Park, whose missions are very varied, offer you all summer long meetings to present you their job and help you to discover the secrets of this environment which surrounds us.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with the mountain guides who have the "Esprit Parc" label. While guiding you safely on snowy itineraries, they will be able to attract your attention, arouse your curiosity and make you want to know more about the mountain environment.

With them, you will be able to meet the animals without disturbing them, you will learn more about the survival techniques of the fauna and flora in winter, you will see the effects of climate change by discovering high altitude lakes that did not exist a few years ago...

Discover also the outings, walks and hikes, summer and winter, proposed by the guides and guides of Haute Maurienne Vanoise.

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