faithful to the House of Savoy in the sixteenth century.
LA COMBE DE SAVOIE – Site 15b
The fortress of Miolans is situated on a major Alpine route. The castle used to have a certain strategic importance. It is a rather large masterpiece of military architecture placed on a rocky ridge in the foothills of the Dent de l’Arclusaz (in the Bauges mountain range), which towers over the Isère valley. It used to control the roads to Chambéry, Lyons, Geneva, and Grenoble, as well as the roads to Italy via the Petit‐ Saint‐Bernard and the Mont‐Cenis Passes. Inhabited from ancient times, it also served as the stronghold of the lords of Miolans from 1080 to 1593. It was mainly fortified between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries. It was owned by the dukes of Savoy from the sixteenth century, and it was repeatedly besieged by the French. It became a state prison of the House of Savoy from 1694 to 1792. The dungeon consisted of twelve cells from bottom to top, known as Hell, Purgatory, Hope, and Paradise. Its most famous prisoner was the Marquis de Sade who, due to the special treatment from which he benefited, managed to escape.
The fortress was restored at the end of the nineteenth century and it has been a listed building since 1944. As it faces the castles of Aiton, Chamoux, de l’Heuille, Châteauneuf and Montmayeur, it offers an exceptional panoramic view over both Mont Blanc and the Vercors Massif.