Village & History
Montgenèvre is a small village and resort situated at 1,850m on the French side of the expansive Milky Way ski area. In comparison to many other areas it has a great snow record, remains very reasonably priced, and has convenient ski to your door slope accessibility.
Montgenèvre remains less known than other ski areas and therefore often quieter during the peak periods. The best time to visit Montgenèvre is during the week, when queues are non-existent.
The Ski resort of Montgenèvre dates from 1907. In February 2007 the birth of France’s eldest winter sport resort was marked by the village's organisation of the first International ski competition, celebrating 100 years of high society sports events and an evolution which have been celebrated with pride all throughout last winter season.
The ski resort has an attractive village lined on either side by Alpine forests and compactly organised. Its stone buildings are clustered around a small church, and the atmosphere is both traditional and cheerful. Montgenèvre is more than just winter and summer sports and boasts many historical landmarks.
Destroyed during the fire started by the Duke of Savoie’s troups, then rebuilt during the 18th century, its architecture is of typical Italian inspiration. The characteristic church tower with its “fanal” is the exact copy of the oil lamp hung up to the original bracket which guided the lost travellers in the fog or in snow storms.
The restoration of its 19th century frescos was achieved in December 2005.The church has also been restored in 2006.
The “Obélisque Napoléon”
Built at the limit between Italy and France to celebrate the end of the work done on the Montgenèvre road, and raised in honour of Napoleon, it was inaugurated in 1804.
NOTRE DAME DES 7 DOULEURS CHAPEL
“Notre dame des Sept douleurs” chapel
In this restored chapel (in 1996), an engraved stone (from 1780) can be seen on the wall. The Santiago shell painted above the entrance door honours Santiago for his travel to Compostella. (Montgenèvre being on the route of his pilgrimage).
SAINTE ANNE CHAPEL
Another chapel recently restored is the St Anne chapel to the entrance of the village, on the Italian side and St Roch chapel, along the ancient Roman way.
LE FORT DU CHABERTON
Montgenèvre due to its history and location is surrounded by numerous forts.
Located on the border between France and Italy, Montgenèvre has witnessed many conflicts. To defend itself and watch over the boarders, different forts have been built around Montgenèvre.
The most noticeable of all is without any doubt the FORT DU CHABERTON, also named the “fort des Nuages” (the forts of the clouds).
Culminating at 3135 meters, with both a French and an Italian aspect, it’s one of the highest forts in Europe.
Built between 1900 and 1914, the summit had to be mined to make it 6 meters smaller. Over 300 workers were needed to build this technical and complex fort.
There are 8 turrets making up the visible part of the building, however the majority of the fort remains subterranean.
On 10 June 1940, Mussolini declared war on France and on 21 June the French troops posted in the surrounding forts bombed Chaberton and its resident 320 men.
In 1957, the fort was emptied of all its weapons and now remains the highlight climb for many hikers.
THE GONDRANS FORT
The FORT DES GONDRANS, built from the 19th century onwards, is a group of batteries and blockhouses meant to defend the heights of Briançon from the Anges pass.
THE JANUS FORT
The FORT DU JANUS was built between 1886 and 1903 on the Janus mountain.
A subterranean building more than 900 meters long which extends the Ligne Maginot, was added between 1931 and 1937.
During summer a visit to the fort is organized once every 2 weeks.
First International ski competition held in Montgenevre in 1907.
Montgenevre in the early 20th century -still predominantly an agricultural community.