Pralognan la Vanoise
Gateway to walking in the Vanoise National Park in the French Alps
Pralognan is the gateway village to the Vanoise National Park, situated in Savoy in the French Alps and makes an ideal base for exciting mountain walking holidays.
Pralognan-la-Vanoise is a small historic village, which despite its ski facilities has retained a small convivial atmosphere and a certain charm. The oldest houses in the village date from the 12th century, when no doubt, the trees were cleared in this upland basin for the first time to create farmland for crops and grazing animals. Little changed over the centuries, despite its location on the Salt route between Chambery and Turin, the two ancient capitals of Savoy, when trade reached its height between the 17th and 19th centuries. This route passed by the beautiful Col de la Vanoise, a day's walk from Pralognan. During the 19th century, the early alpine climbers, such as Mathews who was the first man to climb the Grande Casse in 1860, would have still found only small hostelries in this tiny settlement. The 1st large hotel was built in 1895 at a time before skiing, when tourism in the mountains was in its infancy.
Since then, a number of other large hotels and buildings have been constructed, but none on a par with those in the nearby large ski resorts such as Courchevel or Mirabel. The first tourist office opened in 1905 welcoming early cross country skiers, walkers and nature lovers. The first ski button lift was built in 1937 and the cable car to Mont Bochor was built in 1957. Pralognan welcomed the sport of Curling as part of the 1992 winter Olympics held at Albertville. Despite this, its limited number of ski runs has helped to protect it against over-development. Today, Pralognan is the main gateway to the Vanoise National Park, with a large company of mountain guides, park monitors and an important centre of information.
Pralognan is an excellent base for both independent walking tours and guided walking holidays. We are able to offer a range of alpine walking and trekking holidays which explore this beautiful part of the Alps. We have a self catering single centre based independent walking holiday, which allows walkers to explore the area via a number of day walks. This is a relatively cheap and flexible option. There are at least 10 different walks of varying difficulties which can be taken from Pralognan. They range from easy walks of a couple of hours to strenuous days out taking in spectacular ridges and summits. The cable car and tourist train allow easier access to some walks during the summer months. Being much quieter than some mountain resorts, it is also a relaxing alpine walking holiday, far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
We also offer an independent trekking tour of the glaciers of the Vanoise. This is a 6 day trekking holiday which encircles the main glacial plateau at the centre of the Vanoise. Staying in mountain huts or refuges, this is a classic self-guided trek where you have to carry your own rucksack with all your own gear for the week. Your trek starts and finishes in Pralognan, where you have a night in a hotel. This exciting trekking tour is also run as a guided walking holiday during a week in July where you'll also have the security of being guided, as well as getting insights into the area. Our guided trekking tour of the Vanoise starts and finishes in Pralognan.
The Vanoise, was the first National Park to be created in France in 1963, largely to protect the declining population of Alpine Ibex or bouquetin. Later in 1972, the park became twinned with the Gran Paradiso Park in Italy along a 14km common border, and together they form the largest protected nature area in Western Europe. The Vanoise Park covers some 53,000 hectares of mountainous terrain ranging from lush valleys at 1280m to the top of the highest glacier covered mountain summit in the area, the Grande Casse at 3855m.
The Vanoise National Park park contains 30 mountain peaks over 3000m, beautiful rivers, waterfalls and lakes and numerous glaciers, including the Glacier de la Vanoise - a large glacial plateau at the heart of the park. Over 500km of footpaths cross the park and with a large network of huts, the Vanoise is an ideal destination for walkers wishing to enjoy dramatic scenery and abundant wildlife.
Follow the above links to find out more about our self-guided and guided alpine walking holidays in the Vanoise, France.