The history of Champagny-en-Vanoise

champagny le bas entree village

Champagny-en-Vanoise is a French commune located in the Savoie department. It is located in Tarentaise in the Bozel valley. Champagny is best known not only for its ski resort in winter, linked to the La Plagne ski area, but also for its hiking trails, especially in the Vanoise Park in summer.

For a long time Champagny-en-Vanoise was nicknamed “La Perle Rare” (The Rare Pearl), notably for the beauty of its landscapes. Champagny is a main village formerly called Champagny-le-bas and a valley of villages in the Champagny-le-haut valley, famous for its cross-country skiing in winter and hiking in summer.

logo champagny ancien

Old logo

Champagny-en-Vanoise is a village resort located at an altitude of 1250m and facing south. Champagny-le-haut is situated between 1400 and 1590m altitude.

The history of Champagny is very old. The first traces of occupation date back to 2500 years BC.

The population grew little by little until it reached 823 inhabitants in 1848. Today the commune has 534 inhabitants.

champagny en vanoise jadis

Farming and stockbreeding were the main activities in Champagny le bas and le haut. There was a lot of grazing and some workers used to go back and forth to the Villard du Planay to work in the factory. Champagny also attracted some spa-goers from Brides-les-Bains, located about ten kilometres away.

The resort took shape in 1959. It was in this year that 2 lifts were created at Nourgeval and Plan Roulant. It was also in this year that the first holiday camp was created (Joie et Soleil). Tourism developed in winter with skiing and in summer with hiking.

In 1963 the first French national park was created: the Parc National de la Vanoise. Champagny is part of the launch and Champagny-le-bas officially becomes Champagny-en-Vanoise. 43% of the commune’s territory thus became a protected area.

In 1965, following the development of La Plagne, Michel Renaud, then mayor of the village, proposed a referendum on the direction to take with regard to the extension of the ski area. It was then decided to create a long chairlift linking Champagny to La Rossa and two lifts: Les Borseliers and La Rossa. The ascent of the chairlift lasted 20 minutes and had a capacity of 700 people per hour.

la rossa jadis

In 1971 and after the construction of the ski lifts, the link with La Plagne was successfully completed.

Year after year, the resort developed and modernised, notably increasing the number of beds. In 1986 the old chairlift was replaced by a much more efficient gondola lift. The village now can accomodate 3000 people.

In 2002 Champagny acquired a multifunctional municipal swimming pool.

A year later Champagny continued its development and created a 22 metre high ice tower in Champagny le haut, the highest in Europe!

In 2007 Champagny innovated and created the Espace Glacialis in Champagny-le-Haut, a space dedicated to understanding the evolution of glaciers.

More recently, in 2017, the swimming pool was given a roof in order to operate in winter.

Two years later, in 2019, the gondola gets a makeover with new, more spacious cabins.

Today Champagny-en-Vanoise is an integral part of one of the largest ski areas in the world: Paradiski.

Nice video tribute to the village:

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