Ice Climbing, Gorges de Ballandaz, Savoie, France

Savoie is a French department in the Rhône-Alpes region of the French Alps.Together with the Haute-Savoie, Savoie is one of the two departments of the historic region of Savoy that was annexed by France on June 14, 1860, following the signature of the Treaty of Turin on March 24, 1860. For history before 1860, details of the annexation, and modern regionalism, see Savoy.

It is widely accepted that Savoie takes its name from the Latin Sapaudia or Sabaudia, meaning land covered in fir trees.

Savoie was long part of the states of Savoy; though beginning in the 16th century, it was occupied by France several times. It was integrated into the Mont-Blanc department from 1792 to 1815 (and partially into the Léman department from 1798 to 1814). The province was annexed by France in 1860. The former Duchy of Savoy became the two departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie.

Moûtiers, capital of the former province of Tarentaise Valley (French: Vallée de la Tarentaise) ceased to be the county seat after a law passed on September 10, 1926.

Savoie, along with Albertville, hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics, with ski events at Tarentaise and Beaufortain. The other main alpine valley is the Maurienne, connected to the Tarentaise valley by two passes, the col de la Madeleine and the highest pass in Europe the col de l’Iseran. The Maurienne valley was through the col du Mont Cenis, the major commercial route between France and Italy. It’s one of the longest intra alpine valley in the Alps.

Savoie is part of the Rhône-Alpes région. It borders the departments of Haute-Savoie, Ain, Isère and Hautes-Alpes in addition to Italy.

Much of Savoie is covered by mountains:

Mont Blanc Massif
Belledonne Massif
Aiguilles d’Arves Massif
Massif des Cerces
Aravis Range
Mont Cenis Massif
Bauges Massif
Chartreuse Massif
Vanoise Massif
Beaufortain Massif

The department is crossed by the Isère river, which has its source in the Iseran pass. Its two main lakes are Lac du Bourget (the largest and deepest lake entirely in France) and Lac d’Aiguebelette, one of the least polluted in France due to a 1976 law forbidding any use of motorboats on the lake.

Ice Climbing, Gorges de Ballandaz, Savoie, France

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