Fortresses of Haut-Grésivaudan 



The valley, North of Grenoble towards Chambéry, has always been a major path for trade and invasions. It is called Grésivaudan. Its rich soil has always attracted people from Savoy whose rocky lands where ideal for vineyards but not for cereals. In the Middle Ages, the North of the valley, called Haut-Grésivaudan, marked the border between two conflicting states: Dauphiné to the South and Savoy to the North. Many castles were erected by the princes of Dauphiné to guard the frontier, like those of  Bellecombe and La Buissière on the right bank of the River Isère, or  Avalon on the other bank. Temporary forts were even built to take possession of border territories like the fort of Mont-Briton. In the lower valley, the castles were mostly used as residences as they were less exposed to war, like the castle of La Terrasse.


Maintenance of these medieval castles will stop in the middle of the 14th century, when the war between Dauphiné and Savoy comes to an end. They will be dismantled towards the end of the XVIth century, during the French Civil War to prevent enemies from the King to use them as strongholds. At about the same time, the Duke of Savoye builds on a hill in Barraux one of the first French fort using the latest technologies: Fort Saint Barthélémy, that will later be called Fort Barraux.

View the Castles of the Grésivaudan Valley on a bigger map



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