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The Forts of Esseillon

The Esseillon barrier in Savoie - Alban Pernet - OTHMV
  • Forts de l'Esseillon - Aussois - AC.Fresssard - OTHMV
  • Forts de l'Esseillon in Savoie - D.Cuvelier - OTHMV

Four forts and a redoubt protecting Savoy: a treat for lovers of fortified heritage.
Listed as Historic Monuments, the forts are named after the royal family of Piedmont-Sardinia.


Erected between 1817 and 1834 to guard against possible French attacks, the Esseillon barrier comprises 5 forts in the communes ofAussois and Avrieux.
The Esseillon barrier comprises 4 forts and a redoubt named after members of the Savoy family. They were built according to the Montalembert model, which, unlike the Vauban model, is based on perpendicular fortifications and gun towers:
- fort Victor-Emmanuel (Grand Site du Département and Site of Regional Interest, this building has undergone a major restoration program.
- fort Charles-Albert (only two small garrison buildings and the base of a tower remain)
- Fort Charles-Félix (destroyed by order of Napoleon III, when Savoie became part of France in 1860. The building is not recommended as it is dangerous to visit. Although romantic, the fort remains admirable from the road.)
- Fort Marie-Christine (cultural center, gîte d'étape, restaurant and gateway to the Vanoise National Park, where you can visit and enjoy special events).
- Redoute Marie-Thérèse (Fortified Heritage Interpretation Center)

Complementary welcome

Guided tours can be booked atAussois or FACIM.


  • Animals accepted
  • Room rental
  • Store
  • Catering
  • Guided tours


  • In the mountains
  • Village at -2 km


Free access.

Good plans

Developed site: Marked path, via ferrata.

Opening period

Daily, all year round.
Group visits on request.

Spoken languages

  • English
  • French
  • Italian


The access road is closed to traffic in winter. However, access is possible for hikers (on foot or snowshoes). For information on access conditions, please contact the Tourist Office at Aussois.


Animals accepted : Yes

Animals accepted with supplement : No

On a leash

Tips and suggestions

  • Developed site: Marked path, via ferrata.

  • A natural rock barrier, the Esseillon glacial lock was used as a fortress to protect the country from the enemy. Although this military site was not the scene of any fighting, it is nonetheless steeped in history and is listed as a "Monument Historique".

The Forts of Esseillon
  • Town or country of art and history
  • Nineteenth century
  • Listed historic site and monument
Avrieux and Aussois 73500 Aussois