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Modane (depuis Loutraz).JPG
A view of east Modane (from Loutraz)
Blason ville Fr Modane (Savoie).svg
Coat of arms
Location of Modane
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region location map.svg
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Coordinates: 45°12′08″N6°40′25″E / 45.2022°N 6.6736°E / 45.2022; 6.6736 Coordinates: 45°12′08″N6°40′25″E / 45.2022°N 6.6736°E / 45.2022; 6.6736
Country France
Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Savoie
Arrondissement Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Canton Modane
  Mayor (20202026) Jean-Claude Raffin [1]
71.04 km2 (27.43 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018) [2]
  Density43/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
73157 /73500
Elevation1,054–3,560 m (3,458–11,680 ft)
(avg. 1,067 m or 3,501 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Modane (French pronunciation:  [mɔ.dan] ; Italian : Modana) is a commune in the Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France.


The commune is in the Maurienne Valley, and it also belongs to the Vanoise National Park. It was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia until the Treaty of Turin in 1860.



View of Modane from La Norma [fr]. Modane, panorama (2015).JPG
View of Modane from La Norma  [ fr ].

The commune of Modane is located in the Alps in the department of Savoie between the Vanoise massif to the north and between the Massif du Mont-Cenis  [ fr ] and the Massif des Cerces to the south. Crossed by the Arc river, it extends to the doors of the Haute-Maurienne. The issue of the attachment or not of Modane in the Maurienne Valley or Haute-Maurienne differs depending on the disciplines of economics, geography or geology. For economists, Modane is attached to Haute Maurienne, arguing that the city has a very strong influence on the villages of Haute Maurienne, through economic and administrative infrastructure such as shopping centres, schools or the railway station for example. However, for the great majority of analysts, Modane is a commune attached to the middle part of this valley, both by the relief (encompassing the whole canton is a dug coal-bearing furrow which extends to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne), and by the industrial history of this sector. [3]

With an area of 7,104 acres (2,875 ha) [28.74 square kilometres (11.10 sq mi)], the commune extends along a north–south axis on both sides of the valley. To the north, Modane is bounded by the Roc des Saints Pères, and the Aiguille de Péclet (northwest) and the Dôme de Polset (northeast). To the south, also from west to east, these are the Refuge du Mont-Thabor  [ fr ] (marking the boundary with the department of Hautes-Alpes), the Cime de la Planette, the Pointe du Fréjus  [ fr ] and the Cime du Grand Vallon (marking the boundary with Italy) which delimit the neighbouring communes of Modane and Italy.

The Modane territory extends in a particular form. Indeed, a relatively short east–west width on the north side of the valley (a few hundred meters to a maximum of 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) between the peaks), is much larger on the south side (about 2 to 8 kilometres (1.2 to 5.0 mi) from the South shore of the CRA to peaks). From north to south, the municipality extends however over a length of around 15 kilometres (9.3 mi).

In Vanoise, the town is dominated by the Dent Parrachée at 3,697 metres (12,129 ft), the Pointe de l'Échelle at 3,427 metres (11,243 ft), the Rateau d'Aussois  [ fr ] at 3,117 metres (10,226 ft), the Aiguille Doran at 3,039 metres (9,970 ft), the Dôme de Polset at 3,566 metres (11,699 ft) or the Pointe Rénod at 3,374 metres (11,070 ft). To the south stand the Pointe de Longecôte at 3,100 metres (10,200 ft), the Aiguille de Scolette at 3,508 metres (11,509 ft), the Belle Plinier at 3,076 metres (10,092 ft), the Pointe d’Arrondaz at 2,937 metres (9,636 ft) and also the Pointe du Fréjus  [ fr ] at 2,934 metres (9,626 ft).

These peaks, however, leave easy passages, particularly frequented during summer by hiking tourists, either to the Tarentaise Valley or to Italy. In addition, some welcome ski resorts located within walking distance of the town, among which are Aussois, La Norma  [ fr ] and Valfréjus  [ fr ].


Modane features an alpine climate, with long, very cold winters and short, warm summers.

Climate data for Modane, Savoie, France
Record high °C (°F)9.0
Average high °C (°F)−1.0
Daily mean °C (°F)−5.5
Average low °C (°F)−10.0
Record low °C (°F)−31.0
Source: NOAA

Neighbouring communes

The commune of Modane is bordered by nine other communes in France, besides its southern limit marked by the Franco-Italian border. To the west, Modane mainly borders Saint-André and Fourneaux, but also to the south-west, Freney, Orelle, and Névache in the neighbouring department of Hautes-Alpes. To the north, in the Vanoise National Park, the bordering communes are Saint-Martin-de-Belleville to the north-west, with Les Allues and Pralognan-la-Vanoise to the north-east. To the east lies Villarodin-Bourget, with Avrieux to the south-east.

Routes and transportation

The road into Modane on the D 1006 arriving from the Col du Mont-Cenis Entree Modane (73).JPG
The road into Modane on the D 1006 arriving from the Col du Mont-Cenis
The entrance of the Frejus Road Tunnel in Modane Entree Tunnel du Frejus.JPG
The entrance of the Fréjus Road Tunnel in Modane
A Paris-Milan TGV in the Gare de Modane TGV Artesia a Modane.JPG
A Paris-Milan TGV in the Gare de Modane


The commune is at the French end of the Fréjus Road Tunnel, one of the major transalpine road crossings along with the Mont Blanc Tunnel, linking France and Italy. Out of the tunnel, the A43 autoroute begins and which leads to Chambéry and Lyon, also passes on the heights of the commune (in Charmaix).

In addition, the D 1006 (former Route Nationale 6), an important route coming from Chambéry, also passes through Modane before continuing up to the Col du Mont-Cenis and the Italian border. The road is also the main axis of the commune, which it crosses through the full length of the centre. However, it has several street names including, from west to east: Avenue de la Liberté, Rue de la République, Avenue Jean Jaurès and the Cours Aristide Briand.


The commune of Modane is home to an international railway station, the Gare de Modane, in which receives trains from Turin in Italy, through the Fréjus Rail Tunnel, and with trains to Chambéry, as well as the TGV on the Milan (Italy) to Paris route. The whole of the French part of the line is owned by the Réseau Ferré de France (RFF), the upstream network is managed by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, society of FS ( Ferrovie dello Stato ), the lower part and the station being under the management of the SNCF. There is therefore an electrical disconnection and signaling changes upstream (catenary supports also bear inscriptions in Italian).

The railway line serving Modane is the Maurienne line, or its official name the ligne de Culoz à Modane (frontière) [line of Culoz to Modane (border)]. It marks the territory of the commune of Modane looping 180° between its exit from the station and its entry into the Fréjus tunnel.


A view of Modane, circa 1920 Modane PLM 1900.jpg
A view of Modane, circa 1920


The modern spelling Modane is not attested before circa. 1700. Previously, there were Amoudane, Amaudane, Amaldanus. The initial vowel has therefore fallen from use (taken for the preposition à [to]). The word could come from a proper name, that of the keeper of a manso, Amaudanes, mentioned in a cartulary of the 12th century.


In 1871, following the opening of the Mont-Cenis rail tunnel Modane quickly became a border city. The Italian journey began between Italian immigration and transit trade and the population increased significantly. However, the increasingly strained relations between France and Italy lead to the construction in 1885 of the Fort du Replaton, an interdiction fort to monitor the entrance of the tunnel.

During World War I, a train carrying some 1,000 French troops from the Italian front derails while descending a steep hill in Modane; at least half of the soldiers are killed in France's greatest rail disaster. [4]

During World War II, the city was bombed on 13 or 17 September 1943 by Allied aircraft. The objective of the bombing was the station, an important centre of transit between France and Italy. The bombing caused 60 victims and 100 houses were destroyed. A second bombing took place on the night of 10–11 November 1943, killing five civilians. [5]

In 1969, the city turned to tourism. A chairlift departing from Fourneuax and joining the hamlet of Charmaix on the commune of Modane, at 1,550 metres (5,090 ft) altitude, was indeed created, like the d'Arrondaz snow stadium, allowing skiing at 1,550 to 2,500 metres (5,090 to 8,200 ft) altitude.

In 1983, the promoter of Tignes, Pierre Schnebelen, created a new station from d'Arrondaz. It built the estate on the hamlet, two cable cars of 1,550 to 2,737 metres (5,085 to 8,980 ft), joining the top of Punta Bagna. A new international ski resort was created: Valfréjus  [ fr ] (station attached to the municipality of Modane). Between 1983 and 2008, the station evolved to have 7,000 tourist beds.

Politics and administration

Modane town hall in 2007 Modane, hotel de ville (2007).JPG
Modane town hall in 2007

2014 municipal elections in Savoie  [ fr ]

List of mayors

List of mayors of Modane
StartEndNamePartyOther details
June 1995March 2008Claude Vallet DVG
March 2008March 2014Jean-Claude RaffinDVG
March 2014In progressJean-Claude RaffinDVG


Modane is twinned with:

Population and society


In 2017, the commune had 3,097 inhabitants.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
Population without double counting from 1962 to 1999; municipal population for the dates afterwards
Source: EHESS [6] and INSEE [7]




Collège: La Vanoise Collège



Business and shops

The ONERA site in the commune of Modane and Avrieux. Onera.jpg
The ONERA site in the commune of Modane and Avrieux.


In 2014, the capacity of the commune, estimated by the organisation of Savoie Mont Blanc  [ fr ], is 7,849 tourist beds in 870 establishments. [note 1] Valfréjus  [ fr ] ski station concentrates most of these beds and structures (over 70%). [12] The accommodation of the commune is as follows: 139 furnished; 8 apartment hotels; 5 hotels; an outdoors facility; one holiday village and one gîte or overnight gîte. [12]


The Tour de France cycling race came to Modane, starting stage 19 there, in 2011. Modane is due to welcome the return of the race during the 2015 Tour de France, for the start of stage 20, the penultimate stage, on 25 July.

Local culture and heritage

Places and monuments

Former entrance to the Frejus Rail Tunnel Ancienne entree tunnel ferroviaire du Mont-Cenis.JPG
Former entrance to the Fréjus Rail Tunnel
The chapel of Saint-Jacques Chapelle Saint-Jacques (Modane).JPG
The chapel of Saint-Jacques


Personalities linked to the commune


Arms of Modane Blason ville Fr Modane (Savoie).svg
Arms of Modane
The arms of Modane are blazoned  :
Gules two bars of or raised in pale, to a cross drilled and lowered argent, the cross stitched on the bars, surmounted by a Fleur-de-lis or; and to a tower crenellated five pieces of the same, open of sable and stitched on the cross.

See also



  1. Savoie Mont Blanc's  [ fr ] structure, for this statistical data, the capacity in terms of tourist beds of a station or a commune adds merchant establishments, which belong to the hospitality sector, and non-market accommodation, which implies no commercial transaction as secondary residences. [12]

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Although not as well known as other resorts right on the other side of the mountain like Val Thorens, it is popular with the French as ski resort in winter and as mountain destination in summer.
At 8 km (5.0 mi) from Modane, it is ideally located in the Maurienne region with good transport links in and out of Lyon, Geneva, Grenoble and Chambéry. Aussois can also be reached from Turin via the Fréjus Road Tunnel, linking Bardonecchia in Italy and Modane.
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The resort offers 55 km (34 mi) of slopes, 21 slopes.

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  1. "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
  3. "Pierre Dompnier, La Moyenne Maurienne".
  5. "1C 1001 SNCF ex-1CC1 3805 SNCF (161DE 5 PLM)" . Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  6. Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Modane, EHESS. (in French)
  7. Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  8. "Jacquemmoz Agence de Modane". Archived from the original on 2001-04-05.
  9. "CRF de l'Albaron". Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  10. Article entitled "Paradoxe", in Air & Cosmos, n° 2430, 21 November 2014, page 4
  11. Viollet, Pierre-Louis (2005). Matussière et Forest GoogleBook - Histoire de l'énergie hydraulique. ISBN   9782859784140.
  12. 1 2 "La capacité d'accueil touristique en Savoie-Mont-Blanc". le site Savoie-Mont-Blanc - Observatoire. 19 December 2014. Les données détaillées par commune, et par station : nombre de structures, nombre de lits par type d'hébergements (fichier : Détail des capacités 2014, .xlsx).
  13. "L'ouvrage de Saint-Gobain".
  14. voir le livre L’Occupation italienne, Jean-Louis Panicacci, 2010 aux Presses universitaires de Rennes Jean-Louis Panicacci (2010). "L'Occupation italienne". Archived from the original on 2011-01-31.
  15. "Le Museobar".
  16. "Laboratoire Souterrain de Modane".
  17. Germain, Michel (2007). Personnages illustres des Savoie[Famous people of Savoie] (in French). Autre Vue. p. 44. ISBN   978-2-9156-8815-3. 619.