Perched at a height of 1,974 metres, the Mont-Cenis massif stands proudly, offering an impressive panoramic view characterised by its vast lake of turquoise waters, its mountain pasture and its historic forts.
Today, Lake Mont-Cenis is a reservoir, built in the 1960s for energy purposes. This natural gem is the sixth-largest man-made reservoir in France. Commissioned in 1970, this Savoyard dam spans a length of 1,400 metres, with a height of 120 metres to retain the waters of Lake Mont-Cenis.
Located on the Franco-Italian border, this exceptional location is loaded with history and allows visitors to discover a host of activities, while enjoying its unique beauty.
Lake Mont-Cenis: discover the beauty of this Alpine lake
To find out more about Lake Mont-Cenis, all you have to choose between taking the car or setting off on bike or foot.
Historic treasures of Mont-Cenis
Since the Middle Ages, Mont-Cenis, its lake and its mountain pass have been a crossing point for armies. Thanks to its military past, today we can see forts and ruins dotted around the lake. The circular fort of Ronce, a remarkable example of Italian architecture, can be admired in summer, when snow-cover allows. On the other hand, the Fort de la Turra, erected by the French, was built in reaction to growing tensions between the two nations.
The mountain pastures of the Mont-Cenis massif
Lake Mont-Cenis benefits from a unique microclimate allowing a distinct alpine flora to thrive, characteristic of this massif. The Mont-Cenis Alpine Garden, which surrounds the Pyramide Museum, can be discovered free of charge every summer and brings together over 250 species of mountain flowers.
Discovering the shores of Lake Mont-Cenis
For visitors seeking tranquillity and a peaceful atmosphere, Lake Mont-Cenis is the ideal location, offering a beautiful escape far from the busy tourist hubs. Walks around the lake encourage a real connection with nature for those hoping to experience a moment of well-being or reflection.
What’s more, the lake is home to a multitude of mountain- or gravel-bike trails, to take on at your own pace. In particular, the “discovery” circuit offers a beautiful tour of the lake. The path which runs along the shores allows visitors to observe the local flora and fauna, in a location where silence is golden.
Lake Mont-Cenis is not a just a place to visit, it is an invitation to slow down, take a deep breath and reconnect with yourself amid a natural and peaceful atmosphere.
Activities nearby the Lake of Mont-Cenis
Lovers of nautical activities will be enticed by the numerous opportunities offered at the Mont-Cenis Nautical Activity Centre. At an altitude of 2,000 m, the highest nautical activity centre in Europe offers a number of vessels to rent in summer. Here, you’ll find rowing boats, canoes/kayaks, pedalos and fishing boats, though the site’s flagship activity is sailing.
In this spectacular alpine setting, visitors can sail across the lake – a fun and original way to enjoy its treasures. On the shore, fishers can set up in the hopes of catching trout or other local species. Despite its turquoise waters, swimming is not permitted in Lake Mont-Cenis.
In winter, the lake freezes and the snow-capped mountains transform into a haven for winter sports. Discover the legendary Escargot slope on a snowshoe hike.
Hikes with panoramic views: discover nature around the lake
Lake Mont-Cenis is surrounded by a multitude of signposted hiking routes for all levels, offering unbeatable views of the Alpine mountain range.
One of the most popular routes is the tour of Lake Mont-Cenis. With five hours of walking, this easy and well-signposted path is suitable for all ages. What’s more, lake levels vary across the seasons, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of the ancient Italian embankments constructed in the 1910s. In spring, it is even possible to see marmots in their natural habitat.
For those looking for a more demanding hike, the Signal du Petit Mont-Cenis route is a real must. This difficult trail, leading to the summit at an altitude of more than 3,000 m, offers a gratifying climb with spectacular panoramic views over the Vanoise glaciers.
Finally, for a truly unique experience, you can even set off on trails leading to Italy, with the option to spend the night in a refuge or bivouac.
Discover the tranquillity of Lake Mont-Cenis and enjoy a unique experience by the water!
Lake Mont-Cenis has become much more than a simple energy structure: it is a real treasure located 2,000 m above sea level in the heart of the Alps.
Its rich historic heritage, surrounded by impressive peaks like the Pointe de Ronde, also represents a major cultural attraction encouraging visitors to explore this exceptional site.
It is also the perfect location for those seeking a peaceful tourist experience, far from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.