We are always grateful to Pim, who was one of the key founders of the Musèe de Val d’Isère, for his help and support.”
Click here for more details about the museum. www.valdhistoire.com
Please click here for the document written by Pim about the history of Val d’Isère. History of Val d’Isère.pdf
Before Winter Sport
Traces of man’s presence in this high valley, have been found to date back to beyond the Christian era. The very first inhabitants were “Ceutrons”, a small Celtic population. They instigated the agricultural way of life concept, which ranges from livestock farming to dairy produce, which then spread throughout the region.
Nestled in this high valley, the inhabitants slowly developed their agricultural activities whilst the remoteness of their location protected them from the endless invasions. The lower valleys were subjected to invasions for their alpine territory. A strategic crossroads between France, Switzerland and Italy was much sought after.
The history of Savoie (which is now two separate departments Savoie and Haute Savoie) is complex and unique. In the middle ages it was known as Sabaudia, an Earldom in the 11th century and becoming a Dukedom in 1416.
As the cradle of the “House of Savoie” it was part of the state by the same name, later known as the Sardes State. In the 18th century the Duke of Savoie became the King of Sardinia. Savoy experienced its first episode of annexation from France between 1792 and 1814. In 1815 along with Nice it was returned to the Piemont-Sardaigne kingdom and finally in 1860 Savoie was returned to France as part of the Treaty of Turin along with Nice. It was one of the last territories to be returned to France.
At the same time as this battle for power was taking place, the community began to take shape. The « Laval » hamlet (“Laval” literally meaning the upper hamlet situated just below the source of the Isère river) found it increasingly difficult to remain under the control of the parish of Tignes. In 1637 the Pope awarded it its independence, as the locals journey to the parish church in Tignes was extremely perilous. The gorges of La Daille were terribly dangerous. Once they had gained their independence the parishioners built their own church in 1664 on the remains of a roman edifice.
Life in Val d’Isère was seasonal and this harsh lifestyle left little promise for a future for the younger generations and the village began to lose many of its inhabitants. That was before winter sports became fashionable.