The Vanoise National Park: A Magnificent Park In Savoie.
The Vanoise National Park was the first national park to be created in France, in 1963. Located between the high valleys of Maurienne and Tarentaise, in Savoie, this park encompasses high mountains reaching more than 3000 meters above sea level. It offers an extraordinary richness of fauna and flora.
Presentation of the Vanoise National Park
The Vanoise National Park is located in Savoie in the massif of the same name. It is situated at an altitude ranging from 1280 m to 3855 m (La Grande Casse being its highest point). It has 107 peaks over 3000 meters where many glaciers still exist.
The park includes two valleys (the Tarentaise where the Isère flows and the Maurienne where the Arc flows) and is composed of 2 zones:
• the Heart: 535 km²
• the Optimal Adhesion Area: 1465 km² and 29 communes
It has 14 km of common border with the Grand Paradis National Park (Gran Paradiso) in Italy. These two parks, twinned since 1972, form the largest protected area in Western Europe, with 1250 km² of protected areas.
History of the Vanoise National Park.
The Vanoise National Park was the first French national park to be created in 1963, under the impetus of associations such as the French Alpine Club and the Touring Club of France.
As early as the 1950s, the creation of a national reserve adjacent to the Italian Gran Paradiso National Park was considered to remedy the gradual disappearance of the Alpine ibex and chamois in the Vanoise massif.
The idea of a park in two zones gradually emerged:
• a central zone focusing on nature protection and public education
• a peripheral zone for animation and information showcasing local natural and cultural resources as well as agriculture and tourism.
Since the new law on national parks in 2006, the central zone has become the heart and the peripheral zone the optimal area of ??adhesion.
The flora of the park.
The Vanoise National Park presents a remarkable richness of flora and fauna. The park's flora consists of 1200 species, including 200 remarkable ones. Alpine flora coexists with oriental and southern species, as well as arctic-alpine species, witnesses of the great glaciations. Several of these species are protected at the regional, national, European, and international levels.
Among the species protected at the national level, we can notably mention androsaces, saxifrages, alpine columbine, bicolored sedge, boreal linnéa, the Blue Thistle, and the Piedmont Primrose.
Wildlife of the Park
The Vanoise National Park is home to the largest French colony of Alpine ibex (approximately 2600 ibex) and nearly 6000 chamois.
In addition to these large mammals, the park is home to marmots, snow voles, alpine voles, foxes, martens, and ermines.
There are 120 species of nesting birds in the park, including bearded vultures, golden eagles, alpine grouse, black grouse, rock partridges, and Eurasian eagle-owls. The park is one of the three major nesting sites for bearded vultures in the Alps.
The other attractions of the park.
With its mountain landscapes, glaciers and numerous high-altitude lakes, the Vanoise National Park is a popular destination for hikers. It offers 600 km of trails, including the GR5 and GR55 and the Via Alpina.
Discovery trails, geological tables and exhibition sites are also offered to visitors. For example, the old presbytery of Champagny-le-Haut houses the Glacialis space which will reveal the secrets of mountain glaciers.
Finally, the stations and villages of the optimal adhesion area offer a wide range of sports and discovery activities: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, climbing, via-ferrata, tennis, horseback riding, canoeing, hiking and themed walks.
The 60th anniversary of the Parc in Tignes.
This year, the Vanoise National Park celebrates its 60th anniversary. To properly celebrate this event, the Tignes resort will offer a full program of activities on July 8, 2023:
- Hikes in the Grande Sassière National Nature Reserve led by mountain guides and a botanist. The perfect opportunity to observe local fauna and flora!
- An altitude conference on the Grande Motte glacier and its evolution in the face of climate change with a glaciologist.
- The inauguration of an outdoor exhibition called "Tignes and the Vanoise National Park: a shared history" with free access throughout the summer.
- Stands run by local actors (associations, producers, breeders...) and a refreshment/restoration area.
- A concert on the shores of Lake Tignes.