History of Peisey-Nancroix

Savoy, a land of heritage

It attracted settlement from the Iron Age. It seduced the Allobroges, peasants coming from the Danube banks, 500 years BC.


People have settled both in Peisey and Nancroix since the 11th century. These early inhabitants surprisingly displayed their sense of democracy as the mountain pasture belongs to the rural district. People shared the fruits of their work. The councilors are elected for a limited period: the ideal system! Right or wrong? What’s for sure is the prosperity of both villages was so great that the 18th century Peisey church boasts the highest spire throughout Tarentaise. Moreover, its parishioners started building the below-mentioned sanctuary: Notre Dame des Vernettes.

In the 18th century too, a silver bearing lead mine was exploited in Peisey area. In 1802, Napoleon set up the prestigious Ecole des Mines (national school of mining engineering) relocated to Paris in 1815. For technical reasons, the mine was closed in 1866, leaving behind an interesting museum.

More generally, the region belonged for a long time to the kings of Sardaigne, dukes of Savoy.

It was temporarily French from 1793 to 1815 and has been part of France since Napoleon 3rd’s accession to the throne in 1860.

The district was named Peisey-Nancroix in 1934, at the advent of tourism in the region. In 1948, Peisey-Nancroix was linked to Plan-Peisey by what was then the longest ski lift in France. In 2003, the inhabitants showed once again their forward thinking when the « Vanoise-Express », the most important cable way in the world, carried 200 people in a cabin. It takes them to Montchavin over the deep valley (380 m) which separates the domain of Les Arcs from La Plagne’s. In summertime, it is possible to take this impressive elevated ride at set hours.

For the inhabitants, the sky’s the limit: try and follow suit!

Savoyard baroque art

It is the origin of a myriad of chapels whose style and location are a delight to art lovers. The most famous chapel is dedicated to Notre Dame des Vernettes: charming and an easy walk from Peisey, with little difference in altitude (1816 m)… a breath of fresh air, a faith experience or an opening to culture… whichever you prefer!

Notre Dame des Vernettes (1816 m)

The legend says that a miraculous healing occurred there in 1702 near a spring. It was the beginning of pilgrimage. A first chapel was erected and destroyed shortly after by an avalanche. The inhabitants of Peisey-Nancroix did not give up; a little lower, on an area of land planted with larches, they started building a large chapel with additions and finely-worked decoration which was completed after 80 years of hard work. The last restoration of this jewel of the baroque art dates back to 2008. Thanks to that, the chapel looks as it used to at the end of the 18th century.

Open daily from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm.

Yearly pilgrimage on July 16th.


The Romans took over the region and constructed impressive connections between Italy to Gaul. In 290, a Savoyard named Maurice rebelled against the Romans' cruel regime. Martyred by his death, he became Saint Maurice, spiritual father of the Savoy region.

In the 10th century, in order to assist the pilgrims, the peddlers and the soldiers, Bernard de Menton initiated the building of a refuge at the pass which links the Tarentaise to the Aoste valley in Italy. The holy man did the same thing at the pass located between the Aoste valley and Valais (Switzerland). Since then, both passes bear his name. The « Little » Saint-Bernard, the meeting point between the inhabitants of Savoy and the Aoste valley is only 2188 metres high. The « Great » Saint-Bernard reaches 2469 m on the way from Aoste to Valais. The Little Saint-Bernard is 48 km from Peisey, via Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Séez. An alpine garden is located near the refuge. It is of much interest to experienced botanists and undoubtedly fills all nature lovers with wonder.


You’ll be dazzled by Savoy’s captivating heritage. Surely, you won’t be disappointed if you rent « Le Dahu » cottage in Plan-Peisey.

Here in the midst of Savoy, you can easily enjoy a blend of cultural and sports activities.