Take to the heights and stop in this charming village

A place where natural, historical and architectural heritage intermingle; a crossroads between the Durance and Freissinières valleys!

You will be able to disconnect in this timeless setting, an indisputably peaceful location for your stay in the Pays des Écrins.

Located on the heights of the right bank of the Durance, Champcella boasts plenty of sunshine and a Mediterranean climate. The village is ideal for those who love hiking, trail running and mountain biking and has a variety of routes.

The village is full of history with remnants from the Gallo-Roman era. The Via Cottia Alpem (Roman road alongside the Durance) is a good example. You can also visit the Saint Laurent de Rame Chapel and see the vernacular heritage (fountains, ovens, old stone houses, etc.) while you wander.

History and heritage in Champcella

Spread across 14 picturesque hamlets between 1,100 m and 1,400 m in altitude, Champcella overlooks the Durance by 300 m. It is at the most southerly point of the Pays des Écrins and at the entrance to Freissinières on a particularly exposed slope.

It is a historic land. There are several indications bearing witness to life and movement through the ages, starting with the Roman road: the Via Domitia linking northern Italy and Spain.

The Rama site is unique and surprising. It is scattered with ruins of monuments that marked the medieval period including remnants of the castle that belonged to the Seigneurs de Rame and was destroyed by a flood. Close by is the Saint Laurent Chapel that was restored during the 19th century. At the entrance to the site, is the hydroelectric plant linked to an impressive penstock, which is still in use. It provides an exceptional panorama over the Gouffre du Gourfouran, which is a natural, geological feature and can be seen by following the footpaths.

Today, across the different hamlets, you will be surprised by the charm of the architectural heritage that includes old houses, stone work and the authentic church that dates back to the 14th century.

Champcella, calm and serenity overlooking the Durance.

"... For centuries, Champcella, the ‘champ caché’ (hidden field) was the wheat store hidden away from looters who descended on the Briançon area …’

(Extract from a document about Champcella)

At the southern limit of the Pays des Écrins, the small village of Champcella has 140 inhabitants spread across 14 equally authentic hamlets varying in altitude between 1,100 m and 1,450 m.

Champcella is located on the right bank of the Durance, which it overlooks from a height of 300 m on a well-exposed slope of the valley to Freissinières. The Byaisse stream enters the valley not far from the village and flows into the Gouffre de Gourfouran from where it joins the Durance.

Relations between Champcella and Freissinières were complicated for a long time. Records mention the never-ending trials over ownership of the Val-Haute pastures: ’A fight broke out over the access route to the meadows, there was a furious battle where three from Freissinières and seven from Champcella perished. The court of Embrun sentenced the men of Freissinières to marrying the widows of Champcella!’

The plain at the foot of the Gouffre de Gourfouran is also part of the Champcella municipality. Here, at the Rama site, is the electric plant, built at the beginning of the 20th century to supply the factory in La Roche de Rame. You will also find what remains of the Seigneurs de Rame’s former castle and the remnants of an important Roman facility discovered in 2003, which is still under study.


The Ponteil climbing site

The Barrachin geological site

Churches and chapels

The Gourfouran Chasm

Hiking ideas!

La Tête de Vautisse (3,156 m)

The GR 653D (St James’ Way)

The Gourfouran Chasm

Contact the Champcella town hall: