Two previous stages

Mountain resort of Savoie

Population: 1,150

Personalities: Jean-Baptiste Grange (double slalom world champion 2011 and 2015), Maud Gobert (French champion of long trail 2015). Gilbert Chaumaz, a former Renault-Gitane rider in the late 1970s has lived there and returns regularly to St-Michel-de-Maurienne.

Specialties: diots of Valloire (made with carrots, red beets, beef), farcis valloirins (white cabbage dish with raisins, prunes and apples). Cheeses:  Borgé (with raw cow's milk), Tomme de Valloire (that of the Ferme du Pré Clos is recommended by Gault & Millau). La Galibier beer (the highest brewery in France) has won numerous international awards.

Sport: Galibier-Thabor ski area (150 km of slopes). Events: Valloire Dynafit Vertical # 2 (vertical kilometre in ski mountaineering), French Alpine Ski Championships (March 2019), June: Supergranfondo Izoard-Galibier (June), Punta Bagna Bike (June, rally of Harley Valloire Summer Dynafit (July), Trail du Galibier (August, 11th edition) Cycling Club: Cyclo Valloire-Galibier

Economy: winter-summer tourism (30% of the economy). 1st UCPA mountain center for more than 60 years. Opening of a 4 * hotel in 2020 and a Club Med in 2021.

Pastoralism.

Festivals: International Ice Sculpture Competition (January, 28th Edition), International Competition of Giant Straw and Hay Sculptures (July, 8th Edition), Valloire Autrefois (July, Traditional Feast), Baroque Music Festival (July, 10th Edition), Musical walks (July), Pic Sonne (August, free concerts, rock, jazz, blues)

Websites / Social networks: www.mairie-valloire.fr  / www.valloire.net  / www.saint-michel-de-maurienne.com  / www.savoie-mont-blanc.com  / www.facebook.com/valloiregalibier/  / twitter.com/valloire  / www.instagram.com/valloiregalibier/

Jean-Baptiste Grange, the star of Valloire

While the Maurienne valley is home to many ski champions, Valloire’s local favourite us undoubtedly Jean-Baptiste Grange, the slalom world champion in 2011 and 2015. In spite of an up and down career because of several injuries, “JB” also won the slalom World Cup in 2009 before damaging his knee and missing the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. His journey from there was one of sensational comebacks. In the 2010-2011 winter, he won three of the most prestigious slaloms on the World cup circuit (Levi, Kitzbuehel and Schaldming) and reached the highlight moment of hios career by becoming world champion in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In 2011 and 2012, he was hampered by back pains that have been troubling him since childhood and again injured his knee. It seemed at the time that the Frenchman would struggle to regain his best form until February 25, 2015, when he tackled the world championships in Schladming as an underdog. Fifth in the first leg dominated by arch-favourite Marcel Hirscher of Austria, he gave his all in the second run to snatch victory and become the first Frenchman to win two slalom gold medals. Injured again in Wengen last season, Grange has not yet said whether he would continue his career at 34.

Jean-Baptiste Grange - Coupe du monde de slalom 2018 © Stanko Gruden/ZOOM/PRESSE SPORTS

Better know for its ski champions than for its cyclists, Valloire is still familiar to the peloton as it is the closest village to the Galibier. The most famous cyclist in the history of the lovely ski resort is probably the local priest who, in 1922, gave his bike to Eugene Christophe. The first holder of the yellow jersey had  - again! – broken his fork in the descent of the Galibier and had been forced to borrow this bike to make it to Geneva.

The Tour de France was not only content with riding through Valloire. It also stopped here twice, the first time in 1972 for a short half-stage of 53 km won by Eddy Mercks ahead of Joop Zoetemelk. The two had gone together in the finale. In 1975, the peloton had taken off from Valloire towards Morzine-Avoriaz where victory went to Spaniard Vicente Lopez-Carril.

Fourche du vélo d'Eugène Christophe © FAUGERE FRANCK / Presse Sports
Tour de France 1972 : BRIANCON/VALLOIRE - Eddy Merckx et Cyrille Guimard © PRESSE SPORTS
Tour de France 1975 : VALLOIRE/MORZINE AVORIAZ - Vicente Lopez Carril © PRESSE SPORTS

ND de l’Assomption church
Characteristic of the Savoyard Baroque art of the 17th century, this church was consecrated in 1682 by the Bishop of Maurienne Hercule Berzetti. Sober from the outside, it is inside that the building reveals its decorations. In addition to the most characteristic elements of the Baroque, which are the altarpiece of the main altar, the vault of the choir and the secondary altarpieces, the church has a rich decoration: crucifixion, altar paintings of the Dufour brothers, frescoes of the nave ...

Sculpture competition on straw and hay
For eight years, Valloire has been organizing a unique artistic event in France, both festive and in connection with its mountains. The theme is free, but the term "sculpture" is generic. It is actually a "construction" that is filled and dressed with straw and hay. Twelve giant sculptures are made by teams of two sculptors on the Verneys plateau at Valloire. They remain visible throughout the summer.

The Telegraph Pass
Located at 1,560 m above sea level, it owes its name to its first occupations marked by the presence of the Chappe telegraph. Invented by Father Claude Chappe (1763-1805), this articulated arm apparatus illustrates the progress of telegraphy related to those of optics. It operated by the long-sighted observation of signals transmitted from telegraphic stations to telegraph stations 5 to 15 kilometres apart and coding sentences and words, which only the station managers at the extremities in the big cities could decipher. .

Telegraph Fort
At the pass of the same name (property of the town hall) built in 1895, it includes a wall escarpment, surrounding a ditch dug in the rock, a barracks against the rocky massif and batteries equipped with an inclined plane to supply materials and ammunition. This position of the fort at the level of the pass (called then Col de l'Ébeyon) made it possible to counter the enemy coming from Thabor, Galibier, Modane or Col des Encombres to ensure the defence of the alpine border, facing a threatening Italy and a triple alliance with Germany and Austria. During the Italian attack of 22 June 1940 (Battle of the Alps) the fort of the Telegraph was used as a PC and served as a launch-pad for the French counterattack against the Italian attackers from the valley of Nevache.

Festival Valloire Baroque dans l'église © Pascal Delanoy
© A.S.O.
© Pascal Delanoy
Télécabines - Valloire © Pascal Delanoy
© DR

Diots of Valloire

Ingredients:

1 diot de Valloire (Composition: Cabbage - carrot - onions - beetroot - beef - pork bacon)

1 beautiful carrot

1 beautiful potato

4 or 5 bay leaves

A dozen juniper berries

Salt pepper

Preparation:

Peel the carrot and the potato. Cut them into quarters. Put the diot, carrot, bay leaf and juniper berries in a saucepan and cover with warm water. Boil about 25 min. Add the potato wedges. Cook another 35 min.

Serve hot and season to taste.

© CC BY-SA 3.0
© B.Grange
Valloire : ski © Alban PERNET
Valloire : VTT © Alban PERNET
© Xavier AURY
tyrolienne © Alban PERNET
Sculpture sur glace, Valloire © P. Delannoy/O.T. Valloire

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