Two launch sites as well as an amazing view over the Lac du Bourget and the surrounding mountains await paragliding enthusiasts at Col du Sapenay. 

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Whether you are driving to the Sapenay pass or simply wandering around the village, you will most likely spot some colorful wings flying above Cessens. Do not hesitate to go and check out the launch sites, where you can watch pilots preparing their wings and checking their equipment. It’s always done in a friendly atmosphere.

Looking for more action? You can then experience tandem flights or take paragliding learning lessons – or both – with Parapente Helico Service, the paragliding school in Cessens. And if you’re interested in more free-flight activities, Sylvain also offers paramotoring departing from the Sapenay.

IMPORTANT – Air corridor: flying over 300m above the Sapenay mountain is strictly forbidden!

Col du Sapenay Nothern launch site (North of the Sapenay pass, West orientation)

This historical site is managed by CDLV de Savoie and is considered as a free-flight cradle in the area. Originally used for hang gliding activities it then started to attract paragliding pilots, many of whom are now enjoying this launch site.

Key facts

  • Perfect for schools, beginner pilots and clubs. 
  • Perfect for soaring when weather is good.
  • Direction: S-SO
  • Landing zone: Chindrieux “Marais” (managed by Max’Cim’Hom)

How to get there?

From Cessens: follow D54 towards Col du Sapenay and drive by the nice little chapel of Notre Dame de la Salette and the Parapente-Helico-Service school. The launch site is located 3.5km further, at the end of the Sapenay plateau. The parking lot will be on your left, below the road, 30m before the black sign indicating the pass’ elevation. An information sign marks the entrance. Walk the small path departing from the far end of the parking lot towards the South/left to reach the launch site (300m).

From Chindrieux : from the center of the village, follow D54 towards Col du Sapenay and drive by the church and the city hall. A black elevation sign indicates that you have reached the Sapenay pass. Make a right 30m further into the parking lot (look for the information site marking the entrance). Walk the small path departing from the far end of the parking lot towards the South/left to reach the launch site (300m).

Col du Sapenay Southern launch site

The Southern launch site is managed by Espace 3D. It was among the first paragliding sites to be opened in Savoie (1985).

Key facts

  • Restricted siteOpen to advanced pilots and tandem flight experts only. Due to the great distance between the launch site and the landing zone, beginners and clubs are not allowed to use this site.
  • Direction: S-SO
  • Landing zone: Chindrieux “Marais” (managed by Max’Cim’Hom)

Additional useful information

  • During summer time, refreshments are available at the Chalet Belvedere du Sapenay.
  • If you are coming on a paragliding vacation and would like to stay close to the launch sites, you may stay at the Paquenot B&B.


Thank you to Sylvain MOISSERON from Parapente Hélico Service, Philippe PAILLET  from Espace 3D and Vincent PASCAL from CDVL for sharing information about the different sites, as well as pictures.

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