Les Ecrins

Quick facts

  • European Diploma of Protected Areas (code FR940002)
  • Since 1990
  • Country: France
  • Administrative region: Not available
  • Surface area: 920 km2 (92000.00 ha)
  • Marine area: Not available

Source and more information: Council of Europe


Site contact authorities

Manager Philippe Traub
Information Parc National des Ecrins Domaine de Charance 05000 GAP Tél: 04 92 40 20 10 Fax: 04 92 52 38 34 e-mail: pnecrins@wanadoo.fr
Official contact international  
Official contact national  
Official contact regional  
Official contact local  


General character of the site Situated partly in the Departement of Hautes Alpes and partly in Isère, Les Ecrins lies at the centre of a star formed by seven deep valleys of dissimilar character. It is France' largest national park. In altitude it ranges from 810m to 4102m; it owes its landscape variety to its disturbed geological past and the effects of climate. Each valley is unique with an extraordinary range of altitudes, climates and rocktypes, which explains its richness in animal and plant species. The objective of the Lauvitel strict nature reserve (700 ha) created in 1955 is to survey the natural evolution of the habitats (mountain pastures and spruces) and the species. It ranges from 1500m to 3169m. Its acces is forbidden to the public. 
Vulnerability The high visiting frequency at certain entrances to the central zone forms site conservation problems. Public utilities (parking sites, picknick sites, walking paths, ...) are realised with traditional techniques (without importing external materials), allowing to keep reversable constructions, not mortgaging the future of the sites and respecting the "naturality" of the environments. These techniques are based on restauration principles for historic monuments and the observation of traditional practices in the valleys of the Ecrins massif.The regression of traditional grazing practices causes the regression of landscapes and environments directly influenced by these activities: pastures on terraces, mountaineous Alp grasslands, "bocages",.... A programme of agri-environmental measures (supported by the European Union) is being developed to maintain these exploitations and to improve their environmental impacts. 
Owner The park is jointly owned by the local authorities (73%), the state (24%) and individual landowners (3%). 
Documentation Council of Europe - European Diploma Series (1990), Parc national des Ecrins- France, Strasbourg,35p. 
Habitat types  
Potential vegetation  
Geomorphology The forms of relief give evidence of the ancient glacier erosion and also show contemporaly actions such as erosion and deposit from mountain streams. It also demonstrates a role in periglacial climate on alpine and snow level. 
Educational interest -20 parc houses and visitor centres (400.000 visitors/year)-information boards and educational tracks-Sensitisation programme concerning the theme "Art and nature"-Pedagogical cooperations with local schools, in the framework of interactions "city/mountains" and animation for an educational network concerning the environment 
Cultural heritage Mixture of constructions and mountain buildings (chalets of the Alp grasslands,...), collectif buildings (ovens, fountains, washing houses, chapels, ...) in the villages in the valleys, spatial management of mountaineous areas (walls, little walls, cobble stone paths, ...) and private buildings (farms, chalets, houses, ...) which represent the cultural patrimony of the mountaineous lifestyle, construction modalities or exploitation types which strongly regress nowadays.Some remarkable landscapes, used by men, with a high cultural value: "bocage du Champsaur", mowing grasslands on terraces of the high Romanche. 
Management plan  
URL official http://www.les-ecrins-parc-national.fr/ 
URL interesting  

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100