Historical and religious heritage

Théâtre de la basilique Montmayeur à Aime

Remarkable sites

In the heart of the Tarentaise valley, the Savoyard villages are home to a remarkable heritage, with a number of sites that bear witness to its rich history. They invite you on an amazing journey through the past, all the way back to Neolithic times.

Patrimoine Tour Montmayeur La Plagne Vallée
La Plagne Vallée en été
Basilique Montmayeur Aime

On La Plagne Vallée side

In the heart of the valley, near the marketplace in Aime la Plagne, there is a Roman basilica that dates back to the 11th century. It is known as Saint Martin’s Basilica, although its official title is the Church of Saint Martin’s Priory. It was built on the foundations of what was first a Roman civil basilica then a Carolingian church. Inside, in the choir stalls, you can see frescos from the 12th/13th century. Don’t forget to visit the basement with its exhibition of stones that were carved in Roman times and its mysterious crypt. Not far from the Isère river stands the Tour Montmayeur, built in the Middle Ages. Nowadays, the tower houses an exhibition about the architecture of the houses in the Tarentaise valley and a reconstitution of a scene from daily life in medieval times.

The Pierre Borrione Archeological Museum is in the upper part of the town, in what used to be the main church in Aime. The museum exhibits objects that bear witness to the first human occupation of the Tarentaise: prehistoric tools, grave goods, Gallo-Roman architecture, jewellery, ceramics, coins… It is named after its founder and patron, Pierre Borrione, a doctor and mayor of Aime, who was anxious to preserve the many vestiges from his town’s and the valley’s past. From this promontory, you can admire the view, as well as the bell tower of the parish church, built between 1675 and 1678 and dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary. It has all the characteristics of Baroque art. Note the 3 sundials on the south and east facades.

Beaufort de Savoie

In La Côte d’Aime

Go into the Old-Time School, where you can sit on a bench and leaf through exercise books or pick up a pen in the reconstituted classroom. The village dairy closed in 1970, but in the museum there is a collection of objects connected with cheese-making and the Alpine pastures and a shop where you can purchase local products: cheeses, crozets (Savoyard pasta squares), jams and craft items.

From Montméry to Valezan

Montméry is a little village that is typical of the south-facing side of the Tarentaise valley. In the dairy you can see the large copper cauldron where the Beaufort cheese was made and the notebooks where the weight of the milk delivered was listed. Watch a film of the Beaufort being made by the last cheesemaker who worked in the dairy. When you go into the Maison de Joannès, it’s like going back to the last century, with this recreation of a house from olden times when men and beasts lived in the same building, with objects from his own childhood as well as those of his parents and grandparents. Continue on to Valezan, where the church of St François de Salles (early 18th century) has a large altarpiece which highlights a tabernacle in gilded wood.


Panorama sur La Plagne depuis le sommet du Bécoin

The Heritage Museum | Plagne Centre

In the Espace Pierra Menta in Plagne Centre, the Heritage Museum reveals the history of La Plagne. Three permanent exhibitions look back at the history of mining in La Plagne, the bobsleigh and the construction of the resort. Did you know that the miners used to hold bobsleigh races on the road before the track was built for the 1992 Winter Olympics? You can follow the creation of the different sites in La Plagne, stage by stage, in the period photos.

A rich religious heritage

Make the most of your travels around the valley of La Plagne and the surrounding villages to go into the many churches and chapels.


La Plagne Vallée en été

Above Centron, Saint-Laurent’s church watches over the village of Montgirod. It survived a fire in 1944, started by German troops. Saint-Laurent is celebrated in August every year. Before you go back down to the valley, make a detour to Villaret to visit its chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist. At 720 m, it shelters a surprising altarpiece covered with baroque ornamentation. Take the time to discover the angel’s face that is plump on one side and skeletal on the other, or the seraphim with 3 pairs of wings. The most original chapel is in the hamlet of La Combe, on the mountainside above Villette. It is dedicated to St Guérin and has no cross. The small building with a slate roof has walls that are open on two sides. The highly original tabernacle (the stump of a larch tree decorated with stones cemented to it) encloses a small clay statue of a shepherd.
Just a few turns above Aime la Plagne, Villaroland was an important hamlet with its own chapel. With its rare medieval architecture, Saint Eustache’s chapel has remarkable frescos that were restored in the 15th century.

Village de La Plagne Champagny en Vanoise en hiver

The Baroque Trail

The Chemins du Baroque ® were inaugurated in 1992, as a new form of cultural tourism trail. The itinerary links over 90 sites, several of which are in the La Plagne area. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the faith of the inhabitants and the talent of local Piedmontese and French artists produced masterpieces in the valleys and their creations can be admired in the local churches, chapels and oratories. Baroque art appeared at the end of the Renaissance, following the Counter-Reformation started by the Catholic church to counteract the rise of Protestantism. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) put art at the forefront of its bid to reconquer worshippers. What are the features of Baroque architecture? The facade is quite austere, but the cherubs and the twisted columns inside are gilded.
Chapelle à La Plagne Montalbert
Clocher village le bois Champagny en Vanoise

The villages

In Longefoy, La Superga chapel was built on a hill in 1853. It is a scale model of the famous Superga sanctuary near Turin. Continue on to Montgésin and its chapel dedicated to Notre Dame des Neiges with rich mural paintings and an ironwork grid that dates back to 1758. A number of elements (including the altarpiece) have been restored by thirty or so volunteers. On the south-facing slope of La Plagne, come and admire St Sigismond’s church in Champagny-en-Vanoise. You can’t miss it with its leaning bell tower, set on an outcrop of gypsum as you come into the village. Inside, you can try to count the gilded cherubs on the tabernacle, there are over a hundred!

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