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Tuesday 27 February updated on 02-27-2024 at 8:06

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 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.


The Quartier des Alpins in Bourg Saint Maurice hosted the Blue Devils of the 7th Battalion of Alpine Hunters (BCA) until 2012. This place of memory allows you to discover the Haute Tarentaise valley and the defence works built to protect and control the communication routes to Italy. An opportunity to discover the local military past with its organization, the construction of fortifications, the battles 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).

THE FIGHTS OF JUNE 1940

Italy declared war on France on June 10, 1940. The first battles (June 14 to 17) took place at the Col de la Seigne between the Alpini and the French soldiers of the 80th Bataillon Alpins de Forteresses (BAF) and a few elements of the 7th BCA. The position quickly became untenable for the French troops who received the order to withdraw to the lines of ridges and outposts to block the enemy in the upper Glacier valley. On June 22, the Alpini came up against the troops commanded by lieutenant Bulle (at the Col d'Enclave) and second lieutenants De Castex (on the Bellegarde crest) and Guidot (on the Ouillon ridge). The Italians are superior in numbers, but the French troops have a much better knowledge of the terrain. These fights take place in terrible weather marked by snowstorms, strong gusts of wind and temperatures dropping to -15°C. The armistice of June 24 stopped the fighting. French losses (6 killed) were significantly lower than Italian losses.

THE FIGHTS OF AUGUST 1944

Faced with the advance of the Germans and their entry into Bourg Saint Maurice, the Tarentaise Resistance set up its command post in the hamlet of Chapieux, from where actions against the German troops were coordinated. To secure the south of the valley, Lieutenant Émile Paganon's section installed a blockade on the road linking Chapieux to Bourg Saint Maurice. On the night of August 21 to 22, 1944, the Germans attacked from the ridges, emerging through the Neuva valley. Part of the Paganon section went to the aid of the command post, but the resistance quickly found themselves overwhelmed. Thanks to reinforcements from the Lac Company, which came from the Beaufortain, the French managed to dominate the German troops who were leaving by burning the buildings of Chapieux. The exhausted resistance fighters stopped the pursuit: 10 men fell in combat. The Chapieux fight remains exemplary of the resistance activity in 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.