Mont‑Cenis lake

Between France and Italy, at an average altitude of 2,000 metres, lies the Mont-Cenis plateau. A magical place with a special microclimate, endemic flowers that grow nowhere else, and mountain pastures that are well tended by cows, sheep and farmers.
This is a lovely area to explore on foot or by bike, with an easy loop around a turquoise lake, carpets of rhododendrons, violets and blueberries, and mountain pastures that give an unforgettable taste to the cheeses made right here at the dairy farms.
This place steeped in history is well worth taking the time to visit. You’ll discover that the pass used to be crossed by stagecoach or train, that Montaigne wrote his will at La Ramasse, that this road was plotted by Napoleon and that there was once a hospice by the lake…

A unique place

Mont-Cenis

between France and Italy

A unique place!

Since Antiquity, the whole Mont-Cenis area has always had its strategic and commercial importance but it also played a military role during the Second World War. Many fortifications are still present and can be visited, like the forts of Ronce, Varisselle, La Turra and Malamot.

At an altitude of 2,000 metres, Mont-Cenis was a very busy passageway between the Haute Maurienne valley in France and  the Susa valley in Italy, and was home to a hospice, a priory and a natural lake.

The “gravity dam” built between 1962 and 1968 feeds, among others, the hydroelectric power stations of Villarodin-Bourget.
After the priory was engulfed, a pyramid-shaped chapel was built and can now be walked around in the alpine garden where some rare species of flower can be seen.

The turquoise waters of the lake and the peaks rising to more than 3,000 metres make this place symbolising the history of Savoie, a key visit in the town of Val Cenis.

A place that’s vibrant with farmers and producers, herds in the alpine meadows (Beaufort AOP production area), a traditional festival on the third Sunday of July, the late-Auguest “Milonga des Nuages” tango festival, mountain-bike and hiking trails, a trail race (EDF Cenis Tour), mountain refuges and restaurants.

Around Mont-Cenis

  • Manmade lake
  • Reservoir of 315 million m3
  • 6th largest artificial reservoir in France
  • Altitude 2,000 metres
  • Category 1 public fishing grounds for brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout and Arctic char
  • Mountain pass road open from May to November
  • Remains of the Fell Railway, Napoleon’s ladders etc.
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