Lifestyles in Val Cenis

Val Cenis is made up of 5 villages that live all year round. Before the arrival of winter sports and the creation of the ski resort, the inhabitants lived mainly from agriculture and livestock farming, but also from the passage of traders and pilgrims who crossed the Mont Cenis pass on their way to the Italian foothills. An ancestral way of life that still has an impact on local habits, traditions and culture.

Entertainment at Val Cenis

Agriculture is still alive and well

Until the middle of the 20th century, agriculture was the main activity in the villages of Val Cenis : Bramans, Sollières-Sardères, Termignon, Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard.

Bread was baked in the communal oven and tomme cheese was made in the mountain pastures. The Termignon fair, where livestock and equipment were bought, was very popular and still takes place every year on the first Sunday in October. Cheeses were brought down from the mountain pastures, and one of them has earned an excellent reputation thanks to its rarity and inimitable taste: Termignon blue cheese.

In 1954, farmers grouped together to form a dairy cooperative in Lanslebourg. This agricultural unit, now extended to the entire Haute Maurienne, is owned by 40 farmers and produces Beaufort, PDO since 1968, and Bleu de Bonneval, a trademark registered by the dairy cooperative of Haute Maurienne Vanoise. Agriculture is still very important at Val Cenis and Haute Maurienne Vanoise. Local products are valued and sought-after. Farmers and stockbreeders are also often "double workers": farmers and ski instructors, for example. In winter, your ski instructor can talk passionately about "his" mountains, where he spends much of the spring and summer, with his Tarine and Abondance cows producing the milk that will be transformed into Beaufort.

Val Cenison a tango tune

While the natural environment has always been exceptional at Haute Maurienne Vanoise, living conditions have sometimes been harsh. In the mid-19th century, when the country was still part of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, some families preferred to leave the region and try their luck much, much further afield. In particular, some families emigrated to Argentina on the Plateau de la Plata. The Val Cenis Tango Festival is the result of these relationships, which have endured despite time and distance.

Lifestyles at Val Cenis, to the tune of a tango!
Lifestyles at Val Cenis, agriculture still alive and well

Village festivals and local legends

At Val Cenis, as everywhere else in the mountains, local roots remain strong. Traditions are alive and well, and supported by all. Village festivals, particularly religious ones, are always a highlight for the locals, and are also a great opportunity for locals and holidaymakers to meet and share ideas, like the Saint Laurent festival in Sardières, or the huge August 15th festival in Bramans, where thousands of people flock to watch the procession of Mauriennaise women in traditional costume, and the parade of firefighters in Empire uniform. August 15 also sees a re-enactment of the legend of the "14 hats", the story of a band of brigands who once plagued the region. One of the legends of Haute Maurienne Vanoise's rich intangible heritage.

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