In the archives of Match

The agony of Tignes lasted five years. Five long years during which the 400 inhabitants multiplied the legal recourses as the calls for help so that their village does not disappear under water. Without being heard. From the beginning of the 1920s, the basin formed by the Tignes basin caught the attention of engineers. The Isère has its source a few kilometers higher, at the Sources de l’Isère glacier, under the Grande Aiguille Rousse. It would be enough to wall the gorges of Boissières to transform the valley into a huge artificial lake which would constitute one of the largest water reservoirs in Europe. Enough to satisfy the enormous energy needs of the post-war period, essential for reconstruction and modernization. From 1946, the works were launched. In this old town nestled at an altitude of 1,650 meters and whose church, like most of the houses, dates from the 16th century, it’s a cataclysm. Everyone knows that this dam implies the sacrifice of their village on the altar of the national interest. Most of the inhabitants decide to stay and refuse the compensation offered to them. But their resistance, which also involves acts of sabotage, does not come to the end of the project which would have mobilized, over the entire duration of the construction site, up to 10,000 workers.

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In the cemetery, the dead are exhumed. The first houses are dynamited or razed

On March 17, 1952, CRS trucks occupied the village. As of April 5, its access is prohibited by prefectural decree. In a few hours, the town hall is emptied of its archives which are transported to the new town hall located in the hamlet of Boisses. From then on, the water of the Isère, swollen by the spring rains and the melting snow and also retained by the floodgates of the dam, regularly rises by 50 centimeters per day. The exodus begins. Furniture, mattresses and clothes were piled up pell-mell in trucks, the oldest and the infirm took their places in cars or carts. In the cemetery, the dead are exhumed. The first houses are dynamited or razed. On April 20, 1952, a last mass took place in the ruined church. Three days later, the water reached the porch. The last diehards only agreed to leave their homes when the water was beating the first steps. On April 28, the village was completely covered.

The Tignes dam which will give birth to Lac de Chevril was inaugurated by the President of the Republic, Vincent Auriol, on July 4, 1953. On that day, he declared: “Tignes is an image of human genius but also the symbol of the sacrifices painful that the general interest sometimes dictates to our tastes, our habits, our traditions. »

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