ZC3-1809651 - © - Xavier Vila
Grotte des résistants de la Luire Drôme France
RDC-AD-161419 - © - Lenz, G
The places of remembrance of the Maquis du Vercours
Vercors was an important location for the Resistance in France during the Second World War. Its incredible roads made it a so-called impregnable stronghold. However, with the Wehrmacht wanting to make an example, the “fortress” was taken in a few days during July 1944. Here or there, a stele, a monument or a flag bear testimony to this dark era of our contemporary history, of which the local inhabitants keep memories that are both proud and painful. This route traces the main places of remembrance relating to these fights for freedom.
MyTriptailor Tip: This itinerary could be further illustrated by historical stories or photos. Why not invest in a specialist book as soon before setting off.
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The pilgrimage begins in Grenoble. A visit to the Museum of the Resistance and Deportation will teach you more about a city that was long spared repression, before being invaded by the Germans in 1943. The Resistance movements then organised would be heavily punished.
Next, head to the Vercors Plateau via Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte where a memorial and the National Necropolis of the Resistance can be found. Continue next to Val de Lans as far as Villard-de-Lans, where you will learn more about the “forgotten” of Vercors and the history of the parachutes that never came.
Join the hamlet of Valchevrière, which served as camp for the Maquis du Vercors before being burned by the Nazis in July 1944. Only the chapel still stands. Continue to the astonishing Grotte de la Luire, to admire a natural wonder that was also a makeshift hospital. Head to the museum and the memorial Vassieux-en-Vercors, the setting for one of the most brutal battles during the German assault. Finish this stage of the trip at la-Chapelle-en-Vercors with a visit to the Cour des Fusillés, which chronicles the tragic events of July 1944.
MyTripTailor Tip: from Saint-Agnan-en-Vercors, take the road that climbs towards the nature reserve of the Hauts-Plateaux of Vercors.
Head down to Grands-Goulets that witnessed fierce fighting in January 1944. The majestic road plunges towards Pont-en-Royans, a village with houses that overhand the entrance to the Gorges de la Bourne. The amazing Musée de l’eau offers a journey across the rivers of the world. Be sure not to miss the Stone viaduct in Saint-Nazaire-en-Royans, from which you will depart the Maquis du Vercors region. Finally, the Museum of the Resistance in Romans provides startling detail on the Occupation of La Drôme until its liberation on 2 September 1944.
MyTripTailor Tip: Head up Gorges de la Bourne to visit the Cave of Choranche, one of the underground gems of Dauphiné.
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