La Norma

We are going to tell you the false legend of the Esseillon barrier...
Attention, the route is not physically marked, it is only available on the application.


We'd like to tell you the false legend of the Esseillon Barrier...

A very long time ago, Marie-Christine, Marie-Thérèse, Charles-Albert, Victor-Emmanuel and Charles-Félix - the five Titans of the fair kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia - were having fortifications built across two hectares on the Esseillon Barrier. Charles-Albert, Marie-Christine and Charles-Félix in the North, Marie-Thérèse in the South, and the great Victor-Emmanuel at the centre, reigning from his throne of rock. Above all else, these "super-heroes" worshipped the Cross of the Kingdom of Savoy. One fine day, they heard that hordes of savages were gathering in the lower lands. Monstrous beings that lived in the darkness of Dauphineland and other dark counties of the Frankish kingdom were forming a frightening army on the threshold of Savoy and there was no doubt that they would soon arrive in Modane...
"Sister Marie-Thérèse, can you not see them coming?" asked the other four giants day after day for thirty long years. "No, I tell you, just like yesterday, I can see no hordes coming from below." And so it continued...
Worn down, tired of waiting in the scorching summer sun and the freezing blizzards of the dismal winter, the Titans eventually froze and turned into rock. Ever since, the Esseillon Barrier has featured in the landscape of Haute Maurienne Vanoise, perched like an enormous phantom vessel on the edge of the abyss, just above the River Arc.

You can discover the true history of this site on a two-hour tour of the apartments of the princes and princesses of Savoy. But don't expect any four-poster beds. The furnishings are rather Spartan in style!

Period of opening

Closed temporarily.


Free access.


Several departures possible:
- Modane from the Maison Cantonale - parking nearby - In summer accessible by bus via lines S52 and S53, bus equipped with a bicycle trailer every day except Saturday.
- La Norma from the Tourist Office - parking at the base of Loirsirs - In summeraccessible by bus via line 2 - no bike transport possible.
- Aussois from the Maison d'Aussois - parking nearby - In summer accessible via line S52, bus equipped with a bike trailer every day except Saturday.

Let's go

Itinerary overview

  • Difficulty
    Difficulty Level bue - Medium
  • Positive elevation
    Positive elevation 271 m
  • Distance
    Distance 9 km
  • Negative elevation
    Negative elevation 271 m
  • Maximum altitude
    Maximum altitude 1487
Download .GPX file Discovery by mountain bike - « Esseillon(s) », les forts sans effort depuis La Norma