Regional natural park of the Bauges massif, France

The Regional Natural Park of the Bauges is located in the French region of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and extending into the departments of Haute-Savoie and Savoie. It brings together 67 municipalities, including 46 in Savoie and 21 in Haute-Savoie, plus six gateways. In total, the park has 67,000 inhabitants for an area of just under 90,000 hectares, in the Bauges massif, which generally extends between Annecy to the north, Aix-les-Bains and Chambéry to the west and Albertville to the east, limited to the south by the Isère valley.

The Bauges massif regional natural park was created on December 7, 1995. In September 2011, the park obtained the geopark label, the third in France.

The territory of the Bauges massif regional natural park is located in the Northern Alps, on the Bauges massif. It has an area of approximately 900 km 2, spread over the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie. It is made up of 67 municipalities. It is a medium mountain territory. The PNR of the Bauges massif brought together 67,000 inhabitants in 2014, giving a density of 79 inhab./km 2.

The nature park encompasses the entire limestone massif of the Bauges massif and extends down into the adjacent valleys and also has a share of Lac d’Annecy in the north. It forms an island of protected nature, where the villages, which mostly crouch between grassland and forests, are often surrounded by mountain peaks towering over 2,000 meters. These mountains preserve remarkable flora and fauna of around 1300 species of plants, 150 species of breeding birds, 9 species of amphibians. A nature reserve in the center provides the habitat of chamois,Mouflons and black grouses. One of the peculiarities of the rural heritage, which reveals the way of life and its development, is based on its diversity: the massif is formed by many small areas that are rich in identity and have maintained an intensive cultural and economic exchange with one another for centuries.

This territory offers great opportunities for discovery: the nature park can be explored on foot, on horseback, with a donkey, by bike, on a paraglider, on skis or snowshoes. After the core zone of Bauges, the discovery of its valleys, bocage landscapes, vineyards on the lakes and the large alpine valleys should not be missing. The residents offer products that make their pride: first and foremost the Tome de Bauges – cheese (AOC), without the apples, the pears, theTo forget honey, the aromatic and medicinal plants, goat cheese and the white and red wines of the eroded valleys of Savoy.

Department of Savoie
Aillon-le-Jeune, Aillon-le-Vieux, Allondaz, Arbin, Arith, Bellecombe-en-Bauges, Le Châtelard, Chignin, Cléry, La Compôte, Cruet, Curienne, Les Déserts, Doucy-en-Bauges, École, Épersy, Francin, Fréterive, Grésy-sur-Isère, Jarsy, Lescheraines, Marthod, Mercury,Montailleur, Montcel, Montmélian, Mouxy, La Motte-en-Bauges, Le Noyer, Pallud, Plancherine, Pugny-Chatenod, Puygros, Saint-François-de-Sales, Saint-Jean-d’Arvey, Saint-Jean-de- la-Porte, Saint-Offenge, Saint-Ours, Saint-Pierre-d’Albigny, Sainte-Reine, Thenesol, Thoiry, La Thuile, Trévignin,Vérel-Pragondran, Verrens-Arvey.

Department of Haute-Savoie
Alby-sur-Chéran, Chainaz-les-Frasses, La Chapelle-Saint-Maurice, Chevaline, Cusy, Doussard, Duingt, Entrevernes, Faverges-Seythenex, Giez, Gruffy, Héry-sur-Alby, Lathuile, Leschaux, Mûres, Quintal, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Jorioz, Sévrier, Val de Chaise, Viuz-la-Chiésaz.

Natural heritage
The Bauges are a mid-mountain range whose highest peaks (Arcalod, Trélod, Pecloz) are concentrated in the east, revealing a softer relief to the west (Semnoz, Revard). This massif presents a great biological diversity on its 90,000 hectares:
1,600 plant species: wild pledge, cyclamen, blueberry, male orchis, bear grape, Dauphiné cinquefoil, etc.
150 species of nesting birds: the black woodpecker, the melodious linnet, the flaying shrike, the golden eagle, etc.
Mammals: roe deer, stoat, greater horseshoe bat, marmot, beaver, etc.
Only 9 species of amphibians because few manage to live at altitude: the common frog, the common toad, the spotted salamander, the alpine newt, etc.

The park got in september 2011international label supported by the UNESCO, Geopark, becoming the third Geopark France (87 th worldwide). This label rewards the park’s policy of promoting the geological wealth of the Bauges massif. The park is also home to a National Hunting and Wildlife Reserve created by ministerial decree, regulated by a prefectural decree: it is a territory for scientific studies and management of mountain game species (chamois, mouflon) and species. of heritage interest (black grouse, raptors, protected insects, etc.). Scientific monitoring methods and the understanding of the functioning of mountain ecosystems are studied there.

The park also has within it the national nature reserve of Bout du Lac d’Annecy, a vast wetland with a triple vocation: to protect the rich biodiversity of this area, to raise public awareness of this wealth, to manage attendance. The park’s mission in relation to natural heritage is therefore to know them, participate in their management with the conservatories of natural areas, farmers, foresters and ensure that they are properly taken into account in the projects and activities developed on the territory.

Max wurm s coutterand card The Bauges massif is mainly composed of sedimentary rocks formed under the seas between 180 and 66 million years ago. These rocks, folded during the erection of the Alps 20 million years ago, were shaped for a long time by powerful glaciers which extended to the gates of Lyon 24,000 years ago. The first known men in the area thus did not arrive until the end of the Paleolithic, around 13,500 BC. AD, after the retreat of the glaciers.

A human geomorphology
The tormented but nevertheless accessible geography of the massif and its original position surrounded by a network of major communication routes give this karst massif a great wealth of heritage.

The first habitatsrock painting mount peney
Caves and rock shelters offer prehistoric people sought-after habitats. They serve as base camps for hunter-gatherer fishermen like the Bange cave in Allèves, occupied from 13,500 BC. AD, and are sometimes decorated with cave paintings such as the shelter of Mont Peney in Saint-Jean-d’Arvey.

The lakes

palafitic site
Although populated since the Neolithic, the shores of Lake Annecy are particularly appreciated by craftsmen of the Bronze Age who built on the beaches many villages on stilts (called “pile-dwelling sites”). Now submerged, the remains of these villages are remarkably preserved. They constitute an exceptional source of knowledge of the first Alpine societies and as such, three of these villages are among the 111 pile-dwelling sites of the Alpine arc classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.

Gauls and Romans
During protohistory, the wide valleys which surround the massif offer basins favorable to the settlements of great European civilizations. The burials under tumulus of the village of Gruffy thus revealed an intense occupation under the civilizations of Hallstatt and La Tène during the Iron Age while the Gallo-Roman village of Casuaria (Viuz-Faverges) located on the road Milan-Geneva bears witness to the deep Romanity of the Savoyard valleys in the first centuries of our era.

Jarsy TerraceMedieval roots
From the Middle Ages, the meshing of the villages of the massif was completed. Glacial terraces, cones of excreta or valleys are favored for setting up villages sheltered from floods and above freezing mists.

Strong rocks
miolans castleThe glacial locks (Le Châtelard, Duingt, Montmélian…) and altitude flats (Miolans, Faverges, Marthod…) form natural defensive sites on which rise medieval fortresses (XI e -XV th centuries) such castles Miolans Chignin, Châtelard, Duingt, Faverges… of the modern era (XVI th XVIII th century) as the citadel of Montmelian or contemporary times (XIX th – XX th century) as the height of Tamié, battery Marthod or the height of Villard Mercury.

Lands of spirituality
tamie abbeyConversely, the deep and wild valleys such as the coomb of Lourdens (Aillon-le-Jeune), or the valleys of Tamié (Plancherine), Saint-Ruph (Seythenex) and Bellevaux (School) are from the Middle Ages domain of the monks who established abbeys and priories there.

Laborious valleys
edgingFinally, the major river systems of the Bauges allows the implementation of many mills, hammers and beaters that made the richness of the territory to the XVIII th and XIX th centuries, the image of the edge-tool Busillet to Marthod where the forges Allues in Saint-Pierre-d’Albigny. The city of Faverges owes its exceptional industrial development from the end of the Middle Ages to a resurgence captured and channeled through the entire town.

Dark and sloping forests, that of impressive cliffs and closing the horizon, that of unwelcoming wetlands… But as soon as you approach a little, the impression changes and never ceases to surprise until the end of its immersion. The surprise is at the height of the contrasts and amplifies the wonder.

The Isère valley
The south of the massif, in Combe de Savoie, stretches the Isère valley. Dammed during the 19 th century, the wide river bed has been replaced by a vast plain punctuated by some wet woodlands witnesses of an ancient past where floods and floods brought their share of silt and pebbles torn from the mountains Beaufortain, Vanoise or Lauzière. Conditions which today allow agriculture to benefit from fertile, deep soils that are well supplied with water. Conditions which have prompted Man to settle a little higher up the slope on the side of the Bauges. Thus passing by the historic road of the slope, one crosses all the villages of the vineyard of Combe de Savoie.

As you continue to climb the slope, it is first of all the dry lawns, their spring orchids and the song of crickets, grasshoppers and cicadas that accompany your ascent. Higher, as the slope straightens and becomes more rocky, the forest of oaks and boxwood takes place, recalling its Mediterranean lineage. Here are the white cliffs sometimes seen as the defenses of a fortress. The desire then comes to fly with the paragliders alongside eagles, hawks and other circaetes. You will have to leave the softness of this sunny hillside to find a new facet of the Massif des Bauges.

The great lakes
The two largest natural lakes in France bathe the feet of the Bauges massif and offer their share of impressions each season: mysterious mists enveloping the castle of Duingt, reed beds both graphic landscapes on the lakes and natural shelters for ducks, areas secret and impenetrable damp, beaches inviting to refresh… And behind the reflecting pool, an exceptional heritage classified by Unesco: the pile-dwelling sites. These remains of lake villages bear witness to the significant activity on the shores of Alpine lakes during prehistoric times and provide a precise image of the lifestyles of the populations of that time.

Walking towards the heart of the Bauges, you inevitably pass through landscapes of “balconies”. The urge to stop there is unbearable. How to resist the spring landscapes of orchards in bloom with the mountains of the neighboring massifs of Chartreuse, Belledonne, Beaufortain, Bornes, Aravis, or further afield, the Upper Jura or Mont Blanc ranges. The subtle balance between inhabited space, cultivated space and forest space reminds us here of the strength of man in the construction of the landscape and his responsibility in maintaining it.

The surprise is often at the height of the transition with the landscape previously crossed. Once past the cliffs, let yourself be charmed by the heart of the massif. Its broad valleys leave an important place to the meadows at the bottom of which flow “nants”, torrents historically sources of energy for the forges and nail factories.

They meet around a central artery: the Chéran, wild jewel of the massif, its slopes and wooded plateaus, territory of roe deer and deer, cyclamen and hooves of Venus. And in the middle of high altitude meadows, here and there, wet areas, rare in limestone massif.

You will be surprised by the color changes of the most emblematic of them: the Creusates bog; a 13-meter-deep sinkhole filled over the millennia with sediments and then with peat (non-decomposed fibrous organic matter).

Certainly it is not from the high mountains. Here, no glacier, no low alpine lawn. And yet, the informed hiker knows that the commitment to reach the summits is there. Beware of vertigo. From the start, these white limestone bars have been the focal point of your gaze.

After having crossed the forests of beech and fir, then of spruce, the high-grass mountain pastures where herds of cows graze in summer, the sloping lawns where chamois and mouflons have replaced them, a few rocky benches here hosting the ear bear, there the edelweiss, here you are at the top dominating the landscape, savoring new colors and new atmospheres each season.

The Massif des Bauges Regional Natural Park, labeled Geopark in 2011, is a remarkable geological territory. One can read in its landscapes or at the detours of exceptional sites some pages of the history of the Earth. Noted for its large limestone reliefs dotted with magnificent perched synclines, the Massif des Bauges Geopark is also distinguished by an exceptional underground and aquatic heritage.

The European and international Geopark label recognizes an exceptional geological territory and a work of animation and promotion of its heritage. In 2011, the Massif des Bauges Regional Nature Park became the third French Geopark, during the 10th European Conference (European Geopark Network) in Langesund (Norway).

Window on time, the Geopark of the Bauges massif tells here part of the geological history of the Alps. The diversity of its rocks testifies to the very varied landscapes which succeeded one another, from the sea to the mountain range. It also testifies to a rich glacial past which shaped its forms, organized the circulation of its underground water, conditioned agricultural practices. This geological heritage has long guided the entire history of human occupation. If the era of easy energy has made us somewhat forget this anchoring to the Earth, this link remains essential, and a value for the future! The Geopark invites you to discover these relationships using all the means available: fun or gourmet discovery,, hikes or sports explorations of the massif.

Each component of this geo-heritage is identified by remarkable geological objects. Of scientific, educational or cultural interest, these elementary bricks made it possible to defend the candidacy for the Geopark label. Each geosite present on the territory represents a milestone in the geological history of the Bauges massif. The Geopark invites you to reconstruct the thread of this story by browsing these sites, as you wish, like so many invitations to travel, in time and space. Simple walks in enchanting sites, we hope they will make you fall into the extraordinary history of the Earth.

The Bauges geosites
About fifty geosites are now identified in the area. Some have already been enhanced or developed to make them accessible, others are still in their natural setting! Some sites are easily accessible, while others require special support or technical skills. The Massif des Bauges Regional Nature Park has embarked on a process of progressive enhancement of these sites. With the help of all local partners, these sites will gradually reveal themselves to you.

Current or recent phenomena will inform you about the dynamics of mountain environments, the diversity of landscapes, rocks and structures, and will immerse you in the geological history of this territory. The water play in the limestone massifs will immerse you in a playful quest. In short, let yourself be won over by this geo-logic, it will make you travel.

Cultural heritage
The park’s mission is to improve knowledge of and promote its heritage, by informing the local population and visitors.

This heritage is evolving because it relates to a changing living space. It is both its fragility and its strength. Fragility, when these changes threaten to destroy a heritage that no longer meets an economic need. Force, if, beyond purely economic concerns, it makes it possible to give meaning to values such as quality of space or conviviality in a period when standardization often leads to a trivialization of living conditions.

The Bauges natural and regional park has around twenty historical monuments on its land. The fortified sites, such as the fort of Tamié (built in 1870), the religious buildings, like the Mont Sant-Michel, the Romanesque church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Cléry and the abbey of Tamié, the small built heritage of villages, such as bread ovens, basins and oratories, or the ingenious techniques of old sawmills and mills, or even local products from the mountain pastures and hillsides are all riches that the massif can take advantage of for its development. During village festivals, all the heritage, such as bread ovens, old sawmills and tanneries, is then revived.

The Heritage Paths collection, initiated in 1997 by the park, aims to introduce all the different small countries that make up the massif.

The park organizes many exhibitions and shows to showcase the bauju country. It also supports local associations in the organization of their cultural events, such as the European Heritage Days and the European Night of Museums. The park also finances associations wishing to restore and protect unprotected heritage elements (chapels, washhouses, bread ovens, wells, etc.).

Art of living
Discover an accordion tune, taste a matouille or rissoles, buy a unique pottery, dream in front of an exhibition of old photos or contemporary art, participate in a land art installation, observe the stars after a concert, vibrate at a live art show in an exceptional setting… This is just a glimpse of the know-how and authentic experiences to be had in the Bauges massif.

Cultural events
The Bauges massif is rich in artists and associative initiatives which punctuate the year with quality cultural events. Musicians, storytellers and artists from all walks of life will take you on a sensitive discovery of this generous territory. Among these, since 1999, the Music & Nature Festival in Bauges has taken place every year on the territory of the Park: in summer the villages welcome the best musicians in a refreshed approach to classical music. The festival combines artistic standards with the human and friendly dimension of small mountain churches, piedmont villages or towns and countries of art and history.

Know-how and craftsmanship
Do you live or visit the Bauges massif? The Park offers you a cultural break among the artists and craftsmen of the territory. These lovers of beautiful work, guarantors of exceptional know-how, work with passion and with respect for tradition to revive or to create unique and character objects that embellish our daily lives. Meet them on the Paths of Art…

From limestone to lime
arclusaz wallLimestone, the main rock of the Bauges massif, is logically the main construction material. Used as rubble stone, as freestone or reduced to lime, limestone is used in almost all the buildings of the territory, whether they are churches, castles or simple peasant houses. However, the most remarkable limestones such as the Curienne stone or the veined stone of Doussard are reserved for the most remarkable works (altars, pedestals, frames, etc.), while the limestone beds of the Arclusaz mountain are used to extract slabs from which we will make basins or stone walls on the field.

Mortine and adobe on the margins
marthod farmHowever, like the tormented geology of the massif, the heritage is not monolith and on the eastern slopes of the Dent de Cons we can see constructions in black schist (here called mortine), while at the west of the massif on the hills of the Albanians where rocky outcrops are rarer, the houses are built of adobe.

Fire stones
molasse houseMolasse, sometimes used for the construction of houses where it abounds, is generally reserved for ovens and fireplaces because of its refractory properties. However, it is rare in the heart of the massif where we prefer travertine (called tuff here) which is extracted locally.

Roofs of straw, earth or stone
roof favergesThe roofs were traditionally thatched and sometimes tavaillon (wooden tile) in some mountain pastures. But the noble and bourgeois houses are frequently covered with slates brought from the neighboring valleys of Tarentaise and Maurienne, except on the shores of Lake Annecy where we favor the tortoiseshell tiles produced in Saint-Jorioz from the clay of the swamp.

The curves of wood
TavalansAlthough abundant, wood remains little used in construction apart from the cladding enclosing the barns and hayloft. Note, however, the famous tavalans of La Compôte using trees bent by the snow to create lines under the roof overhangs, the barns of the Entrevernes valley with walls made of woven alder branches (wattle) or even the dishes. in toured maple called Argenterie de Bauges which made the fortune of the hamlet of La Magne in Saint-François-de-Sales.

In the past, iron and coal
worn stoneFinally, if the iron mines of La Sambuy, Arith or Saint-Jorioz and its surroundings played a secondary role in the metallurgical industry of the massif, the Entrevernes lignite mine had a significant economic impact on the entire region. northern part of the massif.

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Gourmet encounters
Landscape, geology, terroir, biodiversity… Come and savor the values of this terroir and enjoy the authenticity of the Bauges massif! From a gourmet walk in the vineyards in Combe de Savoie to meeting alpacists during the Alpine Route, the players in the territory will share with you all the flavors of the Bauges Geopark in a friendly atmosphere. Honey, organic bread, Tome des Bauges, wines, aromatic plants, trout, herbal teas… The restaurateurs will introduce you to local products through fine and gourmet cuisine.

Fauna flora house
Since 2017, the Maison Fauna Flora can be visited in summer! On site, you will find a tourist information point, a shop of local products. A new life has to be invented for this central site in the life of the Bauges Devant. At the foot of the highest peaks of the Bauges, in the village of Ecole, the Maison Fauna Flora opens the doors to nature. Among the sixty interactive manipulations and the models of the permanent exhibition, come to better understand the relationship between Man and nature. Test your knowledge of the massif, play at differentiating the animals and meet Tim who will give you the keys to the formation of the relief today. Explore the massif.

Outdoor activities
In a natural heart, perched above the lakes of Annecy and Bourget, the Bauges massif invites you to a wild stopover, for a day, a weekend or a longer stay. Come and practice hiking, whitewater activities, climbing, mountain biking, cycling, caving… and the Geopark spirit.

Walk around
Walk or hike, discover the Bauges step by step… The Geopark offers you all the paths of discovery. Whether you are a sportsman or a contemplative walker, a wide choice of outdoor activities awaits you to discover, in your own way, a unique massif. Whether sporty, quiet, aerial, aquatic or even underground, choose your way of discovering the Bauges massif: it will certainly make you discover an unexpected link with the geology of the place. Location of the canyons, the best climbing or caving sites, the Bauges limestone has something to tell you everywhere.

The Bauges massif offers you hiking circuits and discovery trails to walk around, exceptional sites to cool off but, the Bauges, it is also a wide choice of activities to explore, or resorts to have fun.

Water Activities
Fly fishing in wild places, canyoning supervised by professionals or swimming in the two large alpine lakes, come and cool off in a total change of scenery.

To explore
From underground worlds to snowy slopes, passing through the air, the massif invites exploration.

The stations
The 4 stations of the Park have a strong link with the territory. Their tourist, pastoral and forestry activities guarantee the quality of the landscapes available to you.

6 towns at the gates of the Park
Half an hour from the heart of the Park, the towns and gateways surround the Bauges massif, offering residents and visitors quality services and other possibilities for escape.

Chambéry, City of art and history, offers a rich historical, contemporary and cultural heritage: guided tours of the city center and the Museums, to the House of Parks and the mountain, to the Château des Ducs de Savoie, to the Savoisien Museum, the city offers a whole range of events and conferences. As for the Espace Malraux Scène Nationale in Chambéry and Savoie, it offers a rich cultural program for your evenings… Finally, you can discover the House of Parks and Mountains.

Aix-les-Bains, City of art and history, invites you to share its sweetness of life anchored in history, on the shores of Lake Bourget; city of water, both linked to thermal springs and to the lake with a multitude of sports or relaxation. Come and discover the city, the collections of the Faure Museum, stroll on the lake esplanade, passing by the vagabond garden, attend the Musilac Festival or the Romantic Nights… You will not be disappointed.

Albertville, city of art and history, Olympic city located at the crossroads of Alpine valleys, has been a land of exchanges and meetings since its origins. The medieval city of Conflans, its ramparts and its alleys dominate the city of Albertville. The Dome Theater, Museum of Art and History of Albertville-Conflans, the House of the Olympic Games in the city center and the Olympic Park, which has become a sports and leisure area, welcome you.

Ugine, located between the Massif des Bauges and the Val d’Arly, welcomes you with many events, such as the Fête des Montagnes and its Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions.

Annecy and its agglomeration (Agglomeration of Art and History), will surprise you throughout the year with Museums (Castle Museum, Palace of the Island, CITIA, city of the moving image…), cultural spaces (Bonlieu Scène Nationale…) and Festivals (Cinémino, Animation Film Festival, Italian Film Festival, Noctibules…); Annecy and its lake are definitely worth a detour!

Rumilly will conquer you with its Notre Histoire museum and the cultural season of the Quai des Arts. This city, in the heart of the Albanian, reflects a particular attachment to nature and the environment and invites you to discover its arcades and old quarters.

Nothing better than ending your stay in the Bauges massif with a wellness session in one of the spa towns at the foot of the Park.

Aix-les-Bains is a city of water: soothing and mysterious water from the lake and revitalizing and vitalizing water from its thermal springs. This water, with healing virtues, already known by the Romans, has attracted many populations throughout history. Hydrotherapy is part of the historical and cultural heritage of the city and reveals its benefits in the heart of generous nature.

Challes-les-Eaux, spa and health resort, nestled in the Combe de Savoie, at the gates of the Bauges and Chartreuse mountains, between lakes and mountains, also welcomes you in an environment promoting well-being and conviviality.

Gastronomic heritage
The Bauges massif, quality land. Quality of meadows, alpine pastures, orchards or vineyards. Every farmer works here to make a product they are proud of. Among all the quality products that you will come across, a certain number benefit from the “Product of the Park” brand. This recognition is based on three criteria: the local origin of products, the human dimension of farms and respect for the environment.

Forest, mountain, flower, acacia, chestnut, fir honey… The diversity of landscapes and altitudes allow the production of a beautiful range of honeys. The beekeepers work with the farmers to offer you honey from flower meadows, extracted and potted in one of the only collective honey houses in France. In Bellevaux, a fertilization station works for the preservation of the black bee, a local bee.

In the meadows or the pastures, you will not be able to miss the herds of Tarine, Abondance and Montbéliarde cows. Their milk is used to make the flagship product, Tome des Bauges (Protected Designation of Origin). But also taste Reblochon, Abondance (Protected Designations of Origin), Emmental, Tomme and Raclette de Savoie (Protected Geographical Identifications), offered by the fruit and farm producers. Goat cheeses (including the Protected Designation of Origin Chevrotin) and sheep cheeses are also offered to you in around thirty farms in the villages and mountain pastures.

Mondeuse, Chignin-Bergeron, Roussette… In Combe de Savoie, all your senses will be awakened in the middle of villages and vineyards clinging to the slope. Visit the cellars of passionate winegrowers, and come and taste in moderation quality wines resulting from authentic know-how. In the Combe de Savoie region, the “Vineyards and Discoveries” label will guide you for exciting discoveries of the wines, grape varieties and landscapes of these sunny hillsides.

Aromatic and medicinal plants
Willowherb, arquebus, beetle, verbena, lemon balm… Behind these sometimes little known names hides a range of aromatic and medicinal plants cultivated and picked in the Bauges. Transformed into liqueurs, aperitifs, herbal teas, syrups or balms, these plants reflect all the diversity of tastes of our territory. Saffron producers have also settled in the Bauges, thus perpetuating this traditional culture of the Alps.

Dairy cow farmers are diversifying by offering local beef. Tasty meat, coming from animals born and raised in the territory of the Park, between meadows and mountain pastures.

Apples and pears
The famous apples and pears from Savoie (Protected Geographical Identification) await you, to eat with a knife, or transformed into juice, sparkling or cider.

Economic activities
Agriculture, tourism, the timber industry and a dense fabric of SMEs and SMIs constitute the main economic resources of the massif.

The Bauges massif regional natural park is a mosaic of agricultural land with areas dedicated to breeding, beekeeping and viticulture. The massif has anchored its agricultural development on the enhancement of ancestral know-how. The economy of the massif bases most of its income on eight products which have adopted signs of quality:

Five have a controlled label of origin (AOC): Reblochon, Savoie wines, Abundance, Tome des Bauges and chevrotin offered by the fruit and farm producers. Goat’s and sheep’s cheeses are also offered in some thirty farms in the villages and mountain pastures.
Three have a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI): Emmental from Savoy, apples and pears from Savoy and Tomme de Savoie.

Agriculture has always carried economic and social life in the Bauges. It has contributed to protecting the natural heritage of the massif as well as to the development of exemplary biodiversity.

The agricultural world is a strong reality: first of all, it is a visible presence thanks to the herds of cattle in the meadows or the mountain pastures.

It is then an economic asset since it still provides a livelihood for the population before the timber industry and tourism, with 1,000 active farmers. The Bauges massif has 24,000 hectares of agricultural land, including 6,000 hectares of mountain pastures. The know-how of farmers has encouraged the development of dairy farming with Tome des Bauges as emblematic products. The latter is a constantly growing production which has obtained the recognition of the AOC.

The agriculture is divided by geographic areas: east, orchards high valleys grow apples and pears. To the south, the vineyards located on the sunny slopes of the Combe de Savoie reveal the subtle aromas of Savoy wines which have been appreciated since Roman times. In the center, there are areas dedicated to breeding. The herds are made up of rustic dairy cows belonging to the pure breeds Abondance, Tarine and Montbéliarde. The diversity of landscapes and altitudes makes it possible to produce a beautiful range of honeys. Beekeepers collaborate with farmers to offer honey from flower meadows, extracted and potted in one of the only collective honey houses in France.

The agricultural profession is very structured and structuring for the park thanks to the involvement of farmers in the collective such as agricultural groups, cooperatives and associations of farmers in the Bauges natural park.

After agriculture, tourism and leisure are the other major source of wealth for the Bauges massif, both in terms of the income it generates and the number of jobs it generates.

The offer of accommodation and tourist activities is well developed throughout the territory and includes a large choice of practices, both in winter and in summer. For almost thirty years now, tourism development has appeared as one of the alternatives to the decline of the agricultural economy and the local employment crisis. Today, thanks to the enhancement of its remarkably well preserved cultural and natural heritage, tourism in the Bauges massif sees its development assured.

In fact, more and more tourists [ref. necessary], but also local urbanites, come to the Bauges regional natural park because this region is very attractive: diverse mountain landscapes, presence of two large lakes (Lake Annecy and Lake Bourget), diversity of cash. Culinary specialties and local products also contribute to the attractiveness of the massif (cheese, wines, honey, meats and cold cuts) as well as the cultural heritage.

The Bauges massif allows the practice of various sports activities both for summer and for winter such as hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding as well as climbing, paragliding, caving, canyoning, fishing in summer. The snowshoes, the sled dog, the Joëring skiing and, of course, the ski slope and cross-country skiing in the four stations (Revard, the Aillons-Margeriaz, Semnoz and Sambuy).

To accommodate tourists, many accommodations are available such as hotels and chalets (in Margériaz). The installation of an eco-bivouac on the Semnoz also makes it possible to educate tourists about the preservation of the environment, by living in harmony with nature.

Timber industry
Located in the heart of the Alpine furrow, the Bauges massif regional natural park has a forest context favorable to the development of the forest-wood sector, which is complete and dynamic. It strongly influences local activities and allows for example the creation of jobs.

With an afforestation rate of nearly 60% and a forest area of more than 90,000 hectares, the territory of the park enjoys a long forestry tradition. The public part of this forest (43%) is managed by the National Forestry Office and the private part (57%) run by two groups of forest owners. The forest is an abundant resource for the production of timber and fuelwood (timber withdrawals are estimated at 60,000 m 3 per year on the scale of the massif). It also constitutes protection against natural risks, as well as a rich and specific reservoir of biodiversity (species and heritage habitats).

The species mainly present and worked on this territory are spruce, fir and beech. To exploit this resource, in 1960, a network of forest roads was developed in order to make part of the massif accessible, mainly to forestry tractors (skidders).

The diversity of trades (sylviculturist, forestry contractor, operator, cabinetmaker, carpenter, joiner, wood turner, etc.) which make up the wood industry, contributes to the cultural richness of the territory. The park has identified in 2014, 100 companies in the 1 st and 2 e wood processing on the Bauges. The first transformation (sawmills) is an essential link but represents only 2% of the activities of the sector while the 2 nd(joinery, framework, timber frame house, etc.) constitutes 73% of the activity on the massif. Despite everything, 83% of the wood harvested is recovered outside the massif and the quantity of wood from the Bauges massif recovered by secondary processing represents only 21% of purchases.

By decree of Aug 10, 2006, the territory of the park has been labeled a center of rural excellence for wood processing activities. Thirteen companies, representing 174 jobs, were involved in the process.

Recognizing these advantages, the park has shown a willingness to support the forest industry the massive since its inception in 1995 through its charter, and in 2001 through a 1 st forest charter territory. A second Forest Charter, covering the period 2009 – allowed the development of actions and financing in favor of the forest and the timber industry to meet 4 major challenges:

Promote responsible and multifunctional forest management;
Develop the mobilization of local wood resources in a sustainable way;
Locally promoting the wood resource;
Develop a forest-wood culture with everyone.

The ongoing renewal of the Forest Charter for the Territory of the Bauges massif should make it possible to continue the actions undertaken such as the mapping of forests with High Ecological Value, the improvement of forest services, support for communities and companies in the sector to better promotion of local wood.

The park accompanies projects, provides support to businesses, publishes forest development documents, conducts awareness campaigns but does not manage the forests in the area.

Architecture & Planning
The characteristics specific to the architecture of the Bauges are not limited to the canton of Châtelard and the Leysse plateau. Traits are found in the area of Cusy, Saint-Ours, Saint-Offenge, in the Albanian region and even in the whole of the Chambéry lock.

From the location of the village to the choice of materials, the house is imbued with various factors: available materials, agro-pastoral activity, environment, climate, etc. Thus, the environment dictated an agro-pastoral way of life organized according to the seasons: a habitat at several altitude levels between villages and mountain pastures to take over the functions of living and working. This architecture, in its morphology and its details, has managed to compose with the geography of the place.

Tags: France