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Opening from December 12 to April 30, 2021

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Wednesday 28 October updated on 10-28-2020 at 8:06

Opening from December 12 to April 30, 2021

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Buy your
ski pass

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  1. Les Arcs
  2. To do in Les Arcs
  3. Heritage
  4. Memory place
  5. Jean-Marie Bulle et la vallée des Glaciers

 Visits 

  The rates and dates of the guided tours are presented on My week in Les Arcs, the weekly entertainments programme and in Tourist offices.


This place was home to the Blue Devils of the 7th Battalion of the Chasseurs Alpins (Alpine Hunters) (7th BCA) until 2012. This memorial site offers an overview of the Haute Tarentaise valley and the defences built to protect and control the routes to Italy. An opportunity to discover the area’s military past, its organisation, how fortifications were built, the battles that were fought and the men who gave their lives for our freedom and peace.

«I was born in 1913 in Pontarlier. In 1934, I joined the Saint-Cyr military school where my comrades nicknamed me “John Bull”. In 1938, I discovered the mountains during my posting to the 70th Alpine Fortress Battalion (BAF) at Bourg Saint Maurice. At the beginning of 1939 I took command of the Ski Scout Section of the 80th BAF stationed at Beaufort. In 1943 the French army was dissolved and I joined the Resistance in the Albertville region. Under the different pseudonyms of “Mr Jean, Dubois, Devèze or Baffert”, my mission was to travel the region to assemble and unite the resistance.»
Jean Bulle (1913-1944)
During the liberation of Savoy, Jean-Marie Bulle was murdered by the Nazis on August 21st, 1944 whilst negotiating the surrender of the German garrison at Albertville. Shortly afterwards his name was given to a battalion combining the Beaufortain and Tarentaise companies.

Crossroads between the valleys of Beaufortain and Tarentaise, the Vallée des Glaciers gives access to Italy by the Col de la Seigne. In 1888, the creation of the Alpine Troops was followed by a strengthening of the military presence in anticipation of a possible Italian invasion. The barracks at Seloge and les Chapieux were the first to be built (1890-1894).

JUNE 1940 BATTLES

Italy declared war on France on June 10th, 1940. The first fights (14th to 17th June) took place at the Col de la Seigne between the Alpini and the French soldiers of the 80th Alpine Fortess Battalion (BAF) and some elements of the 7th BCA. The position quickly became untenable for the French troops who were ordered to retreat to the ridge lines and outposts to block the enemy in the high Vallée des Glaciers. On June 22nd, the Alpini clashed with troops commanded by Lieutenant Bulle (at the Col d'Enclave) and sub-lieutenants De Castex (on the Bellegarde Ridge) and Guidot (on the Ouillon Ridge). The Italians were superior in number, but the French troops had a much better knowledge of the terrain. The fighting took place in terrible weather, marked by snowstorms, strong winds and temperatures down to -15°C. The June 24th armistice ended the fighting. French losses (6 dead) were significantly lower than Italian losses.

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AUGUST 1944 COMBATS

Faced with the German advance and their entry into Bourg Saint Maurice, the Tarentaise Resistance set up its command post in the hamlet of les Chapieux and coordinated their actions against the German troops from there. To secure the south of the valley, Lieutenant Émile Paganon’s section set up a blockade on the road connecting les Chapieux to Bourg Saint Maurice. On the night of August 21st-22nd, 1944, the Germans attacked from the ridges, coming through the Neuva valley. Part of the Paganon section were sent to aid at the command post, but the Resistance fighters were soon overwhelmed. Thanks to reinforcements from the Compagnie du Lac arriving from Beaufortain, the French managed to overcome the German troops who retreated, burning the buildings of les Chapieux as they went. The exhausted Resistance abandoned the pursuit: 10 men fell in the battle. The battle of les Chapieux remains an exemplary feat of the Resistance in the Tarentaise.


 Did you know? 

THE ADRIAN SHELTER

This shelter is named after its designer: Louis Adrian (1859-1933). Assembled from metal sheets carried on the backs of mules, its two ends were built of masonry. It accommodated a dozen men. The interior was equipped with bunks and a stove.

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