Let's get together from 15 June

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Wednesday 29 May updated on 05-29-2024 at 8:06

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Often considered a natural rampart, the Alps are however not impassable. Through the presence of the Petit-Saint-Bernard, Bonhomme and Iseran passes, the Haute-Tarentaise valley has brought together important places of passage since prehistory. Since Antiquity, the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass has been a link between local Alpine populations. During the Roman conquest, Emperor Augustus completed the construction of the Roman road. Troops, sovereigns, pilgrims, merchants, bankers and peddlers cross paths on the roads. At the end of the Middle Ages, the County of Savoie controlled five crucial passes, including the Petit and Grand Saint-Bernard.

 

 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 classmates nicknamed me “John Bull”. In 1938, I discovered the mountain during my assignment to the 70th Alpine Fortress Battalion (BAF) in Bourg Saint Maurice. At the beginning of 1939, I took command of the Skier Scout Section of the 80th BAF stationed in 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 is to travel the region to bring together and unite the resistance.”
Jean Bulle (1913-1944)
During the liberation of Savoy, Jean-Marie Bulle was assassinated by the Nazis on August 21, 1944 while negotiating the surrender of the German garrison of Albertville. Shortly after, his name was given to the battalion which brought together the Beaufortain and Tarentaise companies.

A crossroads between the Beaufortain and Tarentaise valleys, the Glacier valley allows you to pass into Italy via the Col de la Seigne. In 1888, the creation of the Alpine troops led to the strengthening of the military system in anticipation of a possible Italian invasion. The barracks of Seloge and Chapieux were built initially (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.


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THE ADRIAN SHELTER

This shelter bears the name of its designer: Louis Adrian (1859-1933). Built with several metal sheet elements transported on the back of a mule, its two ends are masoned. It can accommodate around ten men. The interior is equipped with berths and a stove.