SAVOIE: La Maurienne

Les Hurtières
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 Maurienne – Site 13b

Les Hurtières

For centuries, all sorts of troops crossing the Basse Maurienne have had to go over the Mont‐Cenis Pass one way or another. At the entrance of the valley, the armies would come up to the ‘verrou’ de Charbonnières, where the castle of Charbonnières stands. The castle’s fortifications, built as early as the eleventh century, were repeatedly besieged, notably by Francis I in 1536 and the Spanish in 1743.
The village church of St‐Alban‐d’Hurtières, built in the eighteenth century, is of the Baroque style. Its exterior is sober, whereas its inside is magnificently decorated. Its Baroque reredos, dedicated to the martyrdom of Saint‐Alban, comes from the church of St‐Léger in Chambéry. The sacristy and the base of the steeple are of the Romanesque style of the twelfth century.
The Montgilbert Fort, which is triangular‐shaped, was built between 1875 and 1881 at an altitude of 1,360m. It could house 750 men and 13 horses. It kept watch over the Arc valley, the Gelon valley, the Cucheron Pass, and the communication routes to Montmélian. According to the principle of Séré de Rivières, the fire power of the fort was reinforced by five structures placed in different positions on the southern side of the mountain facing towards Italy. These were the large Plachaux artillery battery and the four blockhouses of Rochebrune, Tête‐Lasse, Sainte Lucie, and Foyatier. The fort’s armament was reinforced by two additional batteries. It also protected the forts of Aiton and Montperché, with which it communicated from a concrete optical workstation. It was also in contact with the stronghold of Grenoble and the workstation of Rognier. It cannot be visited.

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