Venosc is primarily known and appreciated for its traditional charm and craft shops, with visitors being attracted by the authentic, rustic village setting. The maze of paved, pedestrian lanes are characteristic of these old mountain villages. It is easy to forget that Venosc is also part of the international resort of Les 2 Alpes, located higher up on the old pastureland of Vensoc and Mont-de-Lans.
- Shops: crafts and local produce
- Cable car link to Les 2 Alpes (8 mins)
- White water sports base
- Well-preserved traditional village
- Access to the heart of the Ecrins National Park
Venosc offers a full range of activities. There is much to do in the resort of Les 2 Alpes, in particular the renowned mountain biking descent to Venosc, which can be rapidly reached via the cable car. Other activities can be enjoyed on the banks of the Vénéon River and the gateway to the Ecrins National Park, including rafting on the turquoise Vénéon waters, riding donkeys along its riverbanks and, of course, hiking in the Park. In the winter, the ski resort is just a cable car ride away, whilst skijoering and donkey-pulled sledge rides are available near the village.
History and Heritage
Nomadic tribes, hunting, fishing and gathering, roamed the valley from ancient times. They also created the path that still leads up to the plateau of Les 2 Alpes. Sedentary village communities emerged between the 13th and 15th centuries and then in the 17th century, visitors – engineers, topographers, botanists and geologists – arrived in the valley to study the mountains.
In the 19th century, Venosc became the capital of flower peddling. Most men left for the winter to earn a few pennies selling flowers and other articles. With their intimate knowledge of the valley, the farmers, chamois hunters and shepherds gradually became guides.
In 1972, a cable car between Venosc and Les 2 Alpes gave tourists the opportunity to discover the Vénéon valley, whilst in 1973, the creation of the Ecrins National Park put this unspoiled valley into the spotlight. Tourists enjoyed its well-preserved scenery, hiking potential and tranquillity. In 1995, the current cable car was opened…
Peddling was a winter activity, steeped in family tradition in Venosc. Rather like migrating birds, peddlers left to sell local produce and became well known the world over for their trade in alpine flower bulbs.
The pioneer is said to be Pierre Vaneal from Venosc, who, back in the 19th century, started selling mountain flowers, such as rhododendrons, gentians and edelweiss. In 1825, having noticed how the rich owners of ornamental gardens were attracted by these rare and sought-after species, he decided to sell the bulbs and roots of these plants, drawing colour pictures of them. Other pedlars quickly started to diversify their products and they soon had enough money to use the railways. They started to gather supplies from other regions, from the Loire Valley or Paris, to complete their range.
They then added seeds to their range and travelled not only all over France and Europe, but also as far as Beirut, Constantinople and Kiev. On account of its long winters, Tsarist Russia bought many of the bulbs, which were sold for a high price as many of the specimens froze during the journey. One of the pedlars, Veyrat de Venosc, became the florist of the Russian Tsar and made his fortune in Moscow. Many of them went right round the world, travelling on cargo boats or fishing boats as far afield as Hong Kong, Japan, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Cuba, Brazil and the United States.
For more information, contact Office de Tourisme de Venosc-Vénéon