See you on the slopes from 16 December


Tuesday 28 November updated on 11-28-2023 at 8:06

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  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.

«My name is Francesco Séconi. I was born in Vicenza, and crossed the Alps in 1889 to find work in France. Near Bourg Saint Maurice the forts were under construction and I was quickly hired. As I took up my job I was delighted to meet many of my compatriots from different regions of Italy. The work was tiring, endless days in all weathers, and thousands of tons of metal and concrete were used. When the work was finished I stayed in France, settled here and started a family.»


The construction and architecture of forts evolved with the constantly changing demands of the artillery.

Some key dates for these technological upheavals:

1858: The invention of the rifled barrel increased the power, accuracy and doubled the weight of projectiles.

1873: The introduction of breech loading allowed the modernisation of old bronze artillery pieces such as the Reffye 138mm which were found in most forts.

1877: Introduction of the new de Bange 155mm steel gun. Range: 9 km.

1878: Introduction of the new de Bange 120mm steel gun. Range: 8 km.

1885: Introduction of a new explosive, melinite, in torpedo shells. Ten times more powerful than powder, it made it necessary to reinforce some fortifications with special concrete.

1897: Introduction of the rapid-fire 75mm gun. A revolutionary hydro-pneumatic brake entirely absorbed the recoil of the piece.


In 1913 the Courbaton and Les Têtes batteries were built.

In 1937, faced with the rise of fascism and Nazism, two strategic supply roads were built to supply men, food and ammunition: one from Peisey-Nancroix and the other from Hauteville-Gondon. They were built by former combatants of the Spanish Civil War. The road from Peisey-Nancroix still bears the name “Route des Espagnols” (Spaniards’ Road) today.

 Did you know? 


It was the main means of communication from 1874 to 1914 and was still being used after the arrival of the telephone during the Second World War. Messages were transmitted using Morse code (invented in 1832). Light pulses were produced using a lamp with a shutter. A telescope was used at the receiving end.