The ski resort of Val Cenis is located in the Haute-Maurienne region of Savoie. It is located on the border with Italy and has a large ski area with 125 km of pistes. The resort ranges in altitude from 1,300 to 2,800 metres.
Val Cenis: 1 resort, 5 villages
Val Cenis is a winter sports resort easily accessible from Annecy and the Haute-Savoie. It is composed of 5 villages:
Since the merger of the different villages and the creation of the new commune in 2017, Val Cenis Vanoise is the second largest commune in mainland France in terms of surface area. The same year, the resort celebrated its 50th anniversary.
A unique access to the Mont Cenis pass and to Italy
The resort of Val Cenis offers a direct and unique access to the Mont-Cenis pass, from Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard. The road was built in 1802 by Napoleon. But the area had already been crossed by Hannibal and his elephants, via the Savine valley and the Col du Clapier. At the top of the pass, you can reach Italy and Turin via the Val de Suse.
Another option is to discover the numerous 6 forts present:
- La Turra
- The fort of Ronce
- Le Mont Froid
The history of this thousand-year-old gateway to the Alps is told in the Pyramid, which you will find on the road to the pass. You can also take advantage of your stop to visit the nearby Alpine Garden, which features many flowers from the Alpine arc.
Val Cenis, a place of culture
Baroque art has a predominant place in the Haute-Maurienne valley and in Val Cenis. The numerous chapels and churches are representative of this. There are about twenty of them, spread throughout the valley. Some are open all year round, others are only open for guided tours, such as the one in Lanslebourg.
But a little tip if you want to do the Baroque Way, go to the Tourist Office. The keys to the chapels will be given to you and you can enjoy these architectural jewels in peace.
The Val Cenis ski area
The Val Cenis ski area is spread over 125 kilometres of pistes and 1,400 metres of vertical drop. This vast area is suitable for all levels. The most experienced skiers can easily enjoy the upper part of the area, while the less experienced can focus on the lower part. They can also take the Vieux Moulin gondola and access accessible runs. In a few figures, alpine skiing in Val Cenis is :
- 1 snowpark
- 1 easy park
- 1 border cross
- 29 lifts including 2 gondolas, 13 chairlifts and 14 drag lifts
- 55 runs including 5 black, 23 red, 18 blue and 9 green
The Escargot run, the longest green run in Europe
The resort of Val Cenis has a particularity. In winter, you can ski on the departmental road, transformed into a green run. This is the longest green run in Europe, at 10 kilometres.
And even though the Escargot piste is simple and has an average width of 20 metres, all skiers love to try it, beginners and experts alike. It must be said that the view of the Dent Parrachée is particularly beautiful. You will also appreciate the small icefall a few turns before arriving in Lanslebourg.
The best rated hotels
Depending on your budget, we have selected for you three accommodations in the heart of the Val Cenis resort. They all have very good reviews from guests.
Alpazur Val Cenis
Alpazur Val Cenis is a family hotel located in the heart of the village of Lanslebourg. It offers a view of the Arc River and the ski slopes of Val Cenis. The ski lifts are only 100 metres away. Pets are welcome at the hotel.
From 95€ per night.
Hotel Saint Charles Val Cenis
The Hotel Saint-Charles is located in Lanslebourg. Just walk around the building to put on your skis and reach the chairlifts. This 4-star hotel features an indoor swimming pool and has charging points for electric vehicles.
From €187 per night.
La Clé des Champs
La Clé des Champs is a hotel located only 200 metres from the Vieux Moulin cable car. The accommodation offers a beautiful view of the mountains, including the Vanoise massif. Ski storage is available for guests.
From 131€ per night.
The most beautiful chalets
For an unforgettable holiday in the mountains, we offer three flats or chalets for rent. They are very popular with holidaymakers.
Chalet Grand Croix
The Grand Croix chalet is located in Lanslebourg. It has a surface area of 100 m² and can accommodate 8 to 10 people. It has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The pretty terrace allows you to enjoy the view of the mountains. The ski lifts are 300 metres from the chalet.
La Réchasse is a 110 m² chalet located in the village of Termignon, in Val Cenis. It has 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. The village ski lifts are 400 metres away. They will take you to the top of the ski area.
Le Cocon de l’Arcelle
Le Cocon de l’Arcelle is a flat located at the foot of the slopes in Val Cenis Lanslevillard. You will have direct access to the Vieux Moulin cable car. Ideal for 2 people, the flat has a balcony and a ski room.
Downhill skiing is not the only sporting activity that can be enjoyed in winter in Val Cenis. There are cross-country skiing routes which are accessible free of charge. They are spread out between Lanslevillard, on the Chemin du Petit Bonheur side and Bramans with the Val d’Ambin.
You can also try other activities such as
- Ski touring
- Ski joëring
The athletes of the resort
Every resort has its athletes. Val Cenis is no exception to this tradition and has several former international skiers. We present three of them.
Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin is a skier from Val Cenis born in 1977 in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. A specialist in downhill and Super-G, he began his career with the French team at the Kitzbühel downhill in 1998. The French skier won one World Cup race and one second place in Val d’Isère and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In 2010, following an injury, he announced that he was putting an end to his career. Following this, he opened a ski rental shop in Val Cenis.
Born in 1982 in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Claire Dautherives is a former member of the French national ski team. Specialising in slalom and giant slalom, she took her first steps in the World Cup in Maribor in 2003. She has since put an end to her career and lives in Lanslebourg.
Yves Dimier is a former member of the French ski team. He has three World Cup podiums, including a second place in Madonna di Campiglio in 1996. Between 2006 and 2010, Yves Dimier was appointed Alpine Technical Director at the French Ski Federation. He was then responsible for the alpine skiing events at the Sochi Olympic Games and became the director of the Val Cenis ski resort in 2014.
Must-see events in Val Cenis
Every year, the resort of Val Cenis organises events. Over the years, they have become unmissable and attract many curious and sporty people.
Tous en Piste
Every year, the weekend before the Christmas holidays, the resort of Val Cenis organises Tous en Piste! For the occasion, many activities are available on the ski area, partially open: biathlon course, snake gliss, Big Air or DVA initiation. At the same time, there are food stalls in several places in the ski area. On Saturday evening, a concert is proposed.
A great opportunity to start the winter season with family and friends.
La Grande Odyssée
The Grande Odyssée is a major sled dog event which passes through the Haute-Maurienne and Val Cenis every year. Two stages are particularly awaited. The mass-start, which starts in Bessans and the polar base, with a night arrival at the Mont-Cenis pass.
If you should attend the race, make sure you wear warm clothes. We recommend that you stand on the Chemin du Petit Bonheur or near the crêperie des Glaces on the slopes.
The Transmaurienne Vanoise
The Transmaurienne Vanoise is a mountain bike competition that was created in 1989. During 8 days, events are organised in Haute-Maurienne and in the resort of Val Cenis. Today, it is a reference in the mountain bike world. The various competitions allow everyone to try their hand, from the most experienced athletes to children.
In 2023, the Transmaurienne is launching a new project, the Mode Festival. It will be possible to ride freely on the roads of Val Cenis and Aussois during the whole weekend.
The Tango Festival
Every year, Val Cenis hosts the Tango Festival. It must be said that during the 19th century, some villagers decided to leave for Argentina or Uruguay, in order to find easier living conditions. This part of the history of Val Cenis has therefore created important links with Latin America and the tango.
This international festival is seen as a way of paying tribute to distant cousins through dance and music. The highlight of the event is the Milonga de las Nubes, which takes place on the Mont Cenis pass at an altitude of 2,100 metres.
Several types of ski passes are available in Val Cenis. They are available for children under 5 and over 75 years of age. With the purchase of an annual ski pass, it is possible to ski unlimited in the Haute-Maurienne Vanoise areas, such as Bonneval-sur-Arc or Val Fréjus.
If you book your ski holiday every year during the month of November, you can take advantage of this to buy your passes online. And thanks to the dynamic pricing, you will benefit from discounts. In concrete terms, the earlier you book your ski pass, the cheaper it will be.
In Val Cenis, you can do several snowshoeing itineraries. Most of them are easy to access and suitable for all levels. You can hire equipment in a shop.
Le Chemin du Petit Bonheur
If there is a path to follow in winter with snowshoes, it is the Petit Bonheur. You can stay in the Val Cenis area or decide to go to Bessans by this path. A nice walk in the forest to do with the family. We advise you to take the sledges for the return journey. You will be able to enjoy some nice descents. But be careful, this path is busy and you may meet other walkers.
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutesDistance: 8.7 kilometres to BessansVertical drop: 360 metres
The Mont Cenis trail
To do this walk on snowshoes, you must take the Ramasse chairlift in Lanslebourg. Once at the top, you will just have to walk towards the pass. Once at the top, you can enjoy the view of the Mont-Cenis lake. You will also have the opportunity to meet sled dogs in action.
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutesDistance: 4.3 kilometres round tripElevation gain: 139 metres
Ideas for activities in summer
The resort of Val Cenis is not only active in winter. It is possible to keep busy in summer too. Many activities are proposed. Among them, we propose you :
- The via ferrata.
Several are accessible in the Haute-Maurienne valley. We recommend that you try the one in Lanslevillard, which will offer you a beautiful panorama of the neighbouring mountains. And for the more enthusiastic, why not try the Pont du Diable in Aussois? Guaranteed sensations, especially when crossing the Arc in a zip line.
There are many in the commune of Val Cenis. Some are in the Vanoise National Park, such as the Bellecombe lakes tour. We also recommend the Savine lake, on the Petit Mont Cenis side. Very accessible, this walk is nevertheless long. It will lead you to the Col du Clapier and the Italian border.
Mountain biking. The Haute-Maurienne has more than 200 km of mountain bike trails. You can easily find routes adapted to your level. If you are new to this sport, don’t hesitate to ask a professional to accompany you. You can also rent mountain bikes or electric bikes directly in Val Cenis.
Access and public transport
The resort of Val Cenis is easily accessible by train. Simply get off at Modane station and take a shuttle bus or taxi. For those who come by car, you will leave the motorway at exit n°30. You should then take the departmental road 1006 to Val Cenis.
Another positive point is that the Mont Cenis pass will allow you to go to Italy for a day or more between May and October, depending on the snow conditions.
Video presentation of Val Cenis
Val Cenis – Tourist office
Resorts close to Val Cenis
Other resorts are located close to Val Cenis Vanoise. We can think of Bonneval-sur-Arc or, on the other side of the Iseran pass, Val d’Isère and Tignes.