©Alban Pernet
Haute Maurienne Vanoise

Vanoise National Park

Destination Savoie, holidays in the mountains, the great outdoors, hiking… Enchantment and emotion, this is the Vanoise National Park! Make the most of this haven of peace far from any pollution, enjoy the calm, the silence and the pure air. Discover this remarkable environment in the company of a warden or a mountain guide and deepen your knowledge of the fauna and flora. Brighten up your mountain holiday diary with photos of marmots, ibex, mountain lakes, snowy peaks and… blueberry tart savoured on the terrace of a mountain refuge!

France’s 1st National Park

This protected area, much of which stretches across Haute Maurienne Vanoise, was established in 1963, notably thanks to Gilbert André who was mayor of Bonneval sur Arc at the time. The central part, or “heart”, is a space that is protected by regulations in order to encourage biodiversity in terms of the landscape, the habitats and the species that live here, as well as preserving the local culture and alpine heritage.

In a few steps, you are in the heart of France’s first national park. Together with the Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy, they form one of the largest protected areas in the Western Alps. But never mind the superlatives, what matters most is to give you access to this land of unique experiences, a breathtaking landscape of peaks, lakes and deep valleys, an incredible diversity of plant life, and animals that you can observe close up in their natural environment, including marmots, ibex, chamois and bearded vultures.

Real mountain experiences and moments of awe that are made for sharing, like mountaineering, hiking and fishing at altitude. Turn your smartphone into a hiking GPS with the free app, available for download on App Store and Google Play.

The park features twenty or so glaciers, more than 100 peaks exceeding 3,000 metres, 600 km of paths and about forty refuges. With the Gran Paradiso Italian national park (14 km common border), it forms the largest protected space in Europe.

Wealth and diversity of wildlife

From large ungulates and birds to insects and amphibians, the Vanoise National Park boasts an undeniable richness of wildlife.

Herbivores (deer, chamois and ibex … all present in Vanoise), rodents (the mountain hare whose fur changes through the seasons, marmots that live mostly on the vast alpine grasslands, and various voles including the snow vole and the ring-billed mouse), carnivores (fox, badger, marten, stone marten, ermine), bats (common pipistrelle, northern long-eared bat), and insectivores such as the water shrew.

Among the 125 species of birds nesting in Vanoise, we observe the golden eagle, the crossbill, the nutcracker, the boreal owl, the pied flycatcher, the long-eared owl, the rock thrush, the rock sparrow, the black grouse, the rock partridge, the rock ptarmigan, the black woodpecker, the three-toed woodpecker (in France, only seen in Savoie and Haute Savoie) and the wallcreeper.

A third of the flora of France in Vanoise

The latest overview on the flora of France – “Flora Gallica”, published in 2014 – lists about 5,000 species of vascular plants (ferns and fern allies, conifers and flowering plants) present in mainland France. The Vanoise Massif alone is home to 1,700 species, or 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 habitats, the wide elevation range, the diversity of sun exposure, and major differences in the chemical compositions of the rock and soil from one area to another.

Get the “Park attitude”

Essential if we are to protect this exceptional but fragile natural habitat! Walk, run, take photographs, smell, listen, breathe, contemplate, observe, learn, convey, respect…

  • Visit on foot, without taking your dog (even on a lead), mountain-bike or paraglider
  • Appreciate the beauty of the flowers but don’t pick them, they won’t grow at home
  • Nourish yourself with the delicious local produce but do not feed the marmots
  • Optimise your water and electricity consumption when visiting the mountain refuges
  • Initiate yourself to the peaceful tranquillity of the mountains… and switch off
  • Stay on the paths and do not take short cuts between the hairpin bends on the way down
  • Explore without the car and use the shuttle buses whenever possible

An opportunity to get closer to nature…

The tasks of national park rangers are extremely varied and include proposing sessions throughout the summer to present their work and help you understand the secrets of the surrounding environment.

Don’t hesitate to call upon our certified “Esprit Parc” mountain leaders. As well as ensuring your
safety on the snowy trails, they’ll also stimulate your curiosity and make you more mindful of the mountain environment and eager to find out more.

For example, this is the best time of year to observe the marmots, which have emerged from hibernation to make the most of the warmth of the sun.

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Want to know more about the Vanoise National Park?

Visit the exhibition (free entrance) at the Maison de la Vanoise of Val-Cenis Termignon
go to visit the official website :

activities in the Park

All summer long, the Vanoise National Park’s guards and certified “Esprit Parc” mountain guides offer meetings around their job and their work environment.