SAVOIE: La Haute Maurienne

La Goulaz, Les Vincendières, Avérole
From Chambéry through Bessans to the Averole valley, the routes go over two passes on the territory of the Duchy of Savoy, the Arnès pass (3,010 m), and its descent into the Ala valley, and the Autaret pass (3,072 m), which descends towards the Viù valley. Turin is reached through ‘Marguerite’s Lands’. This territory, the Lanzo valleys (Alà and Viù), ruled by the Laws of Marguerite written in the mid fourteenth century, remained
faithful to the House of Savoy in the sixteenth century.
La Haute Maurienne – Site 01

La Goulaz, Les Vincendières, Avérole

The Avérole valley used to allow people to communicate with Piedmont through secondary passes without them having to pay the Suse toll on the Mont-Cenis road. It extends by the Lombard valley, which leads to the Autaret pass (3,072 m), over which the Holy Shroud was brought. There are three hamlets along the valley: la Goulaz (1,755 m), les Vincendières (1,830 m) and Avérole (a former relay station of the Sardinian post at about 2,000 m). They were inhabited all year round until 1963 (The 1734 census, for example, recorded 248 inhabitants, and houses from the seventeenth century can still be seen there).
At La Goulaz, the Chapelle Saint Anne is a small jewel dating from the seventeenth century. In les Vincendières lived the family of sculptor Jean Clappier (1575-1646), a forerunner of baroque religious furniture making.
In Avérole is the Chapelle Saint-Pierre d’Avérole which has a remarkable coffered ceiling. In 1960, Father Alfred Ponce, the parish priest of Bessans, discovered an eighteenth-century fabric strip in a chest-bench dated 1797. Today the fabric is kept in the parish church of Bessans. This strip or ‘bindello’, which is 1,75 m long, bears the inscription ‘the height of our Saviour Jesus Christ’ in archaic Italian. ‘Bindelli’, which were associated with the Holy Shroud, were embroidered and embellished with the Savoy knot or ‘lac d’amour’ (pronounced ‘lass’) and offered to the nobles who participated in ostensions of the Holy Shroud when it was displayed to believers.
Avérole is one of the shooting locations of the movie ‘Belle et Sébastien’, story of a friendship between a little boy and a female dog.

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