Stage town for the 3rd time
Chef-lieu of a canton of Haute-Savoie (74)
Population: 17,100 (Clusiens, Clusiennes), 44,900 in the 10 communes of the Cluses-Arve et Montagnes community of communes
Speciality: the Clusiflette
Personalities: Fernand Braudel (historian), Catherine Plewinski (swimming, double Olympic medallist in 1988 in Seoul and 1992 in Barcelona), Yannick Reverdy (handball), Willy Rovelli (humorist).
Culture: Reggae Festival (March), Harmonica Festival (May), Fête de la musique (21 and 28 June), NRJ Music Tour, Urban Art Festival (November).
Sport: 2,000 members for some forty sports associations. Events: 10 km of Cluses (running, April), Yellow Party (sports activities, June), the JPP (GranFondo, July), Petanque Masters (July-August).
Economy: world capital of screw-cutting (manufacture of parts and components for the automobile industry, initially 200 years ago for the watchmaking industry). The whole valley is marked by this activity which is the main one in economic terms. Head office of the SOMFY company.
Signature: A past, a future
Labels: "Ville à Vélo du Tour de France" 1 bike / Terre de Jeux 2024 / Cluses museum with "Tourism and Disability" label.
Websites: www.cluses.fr /www.2ccam.fr/ www.hautesavoie.fr / www.savoie-mont-blanc.com / www.auvergnerhonealpes.fr / www.cluses-montagnes-tourisme.com
CLUSES, A STORY
The Silicon Valley of screw-cutting and mechatronics
In the 18th century, watchmaking was introduced into the valley to supply the firms in Geneva. Know-how developed, including in the mountain villages, and the Royal School of Watchmaking was created in Cluses in 1848 (now the Charles Poncet High School). Faced with the needs of industry, the manufacture of small micromechanical parts in series developed: screw-cutting was born. This activity consists of manufacturing turned metal parts from metal bars or wire. The outlets are mainly the automobile industry, aeronautics and dental equipment. Cluses and the Arve Valley have thus become the economic lung of Haute-Savoie, with world leader companies in their activity, one of the most famous of which is SOMFY (Société d'Outillage et Mécanique du Faucigny), whose headquarters are in Cluses. 8,000 screw-cutting professionals and 40,000 indirect jobs. The capital of Faucigny is also the headquarters of the Mont Blanc Industrie cluster (screw-cutting and mechatronics) which brings together companies with a total turnover of nearly 6 billion.
CLUSES AND CYCLING
Cluses twice hosted the finish of a Tour de France stage from the Tarentaise valley. This was the case in 1994, with a stage that started in Moutiers and was won by Piotr Urgrumov and in 2002 for a stage staring in Aime. This time, riders will take the opposite direction towards Tignes.
Cluses has been more often on the programme of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the last time in 2019 for the start of a stage won in Switzerland in Champéry by Dylan Van Baarle, but also of the Tour des Pays de Savoie, with prestigious winners, Tao Geoghegan Hart in 2016 and Egan Bernal in 2017.
Museum of Watchmaking and Screw-cutting
Original in its history and collections, the Museum of Watchmaking and Screw-cutting is well worth a visit. Initiated at the dawn of the 20th century by the National School of Watchmaking in Cluses, the museum had a dual purpose: to collect old time-measuring instruments (the oldest piece dates from the 16th century) and to preserve the memory of the local industry.
Now located in the Espace Carpano & Pons, a former industrial site, the museum also evokes the history of the Watchmaking School, notably by presenting a unique collection of escapement models manufactured in Cluses.
Place des Allobroges
Formerly known as the Pré de Foire (fairground) because of the cattle fairs held there, the Place des Allobroges marks the entrance to the town centre. It is also the place where the town was concentrated before the fire of 1844. All that remains of this period is the fountain (1791), listed as a Historical Monument.
The church houses a remarkable flamboyant Gothic font which is a listed historical monument. Near the church, in the Cordeliers garden, a monument dedicated to musician François Curt (1791-1859) is the work of the sculptor Suzanne Laurent. It was erected in 1930.
Old Saint-Nicolas Church
Behind the Place des Allobroges, some vestiges of the "old Cluses" remain, such as the former Saint-Nicolas church, built in 1736 but disused since 1847. It is now privately owned. The name of the street that borders it recalls an important event in the history of Cluses: the granting in 1310 of a Charter of Franchises by the Lord of Faucigny, which founded the town of Cluses.
It is possible to freely access the first floor where a monumental painting by the Clusian painter Claude Hugard (1816-1885) representing the 1844 fire in Cluses is on display. On the same level, an electric clock made by the students of the Cluses clock-making school in 1911 is on display.
The Old Bridge
Built in 1674, this pretty stone bridge was the only way to cross the Arve between Bonneville and Sallanches until 1850, when the Pont Neuf was built.
An inscription engraved in the stone mentions the name of the architect, the date of construction of the bridge and the date of its first restoration. It is listed as a Historical Monument. From the bridge runs the old access road to the commune of Nancy-sur-Cluses, which has been closed to traffic since the construction of the motorway.
A traditional product of the Arve valley, the Magland sausage (6 km from Cluses) is a kind of smoked dry sausage, dark brown in colour, with compact flesh and a large grain. The uncured version is cooked in water. This sausage, about twenty centimetres long (7 to 9 in diameter), is made from lean and fat pork minced coarsely. The mixture, lightly seasoned, with a touch of garlic, is stuffed into a pork chowder. Its specificity lies in its smoking: a skilful combination of different woods (fir, beech, etc.) which are slowly consumed at the bottom of the pieces suspended in the smokehouse. This delicate operation takes several days.
This sausage with its remarkable taste qualities is cooked for half an hour in simmering water. It makes a fine dish, surrounded by boiled vegetables (cabbage, potato), or as part of a potée. Dried (sometimes preserved in oil for many months), the same product can be cut into slices like a dry sausage.