Chorges and the Valley of the Advance

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A few words about the valley of the Advance ...

The Valley of the Advance combines in a unique inter-municipality the following 9 municipalities : Avançon , La Batie- Neuve, La Batie Vieille, Chorges, Montgardin , Rambaud, La Rochette, St Etienne -le- Laus and Valserres. It is situated in the department of the Hautes Alpes, in the heart of the region of Gap, about ten kilometers east of the Prefecture of the Gap Department.

Administratively, it is part of the district of Gap which in 1999 counts a population of 89,295 inhabitants.
This space has an intermediate position between an Alpine mountain and Mediterranean climate which is characterized by cold winters and hot summers. Its territory covers 16,990 ha. Rural and mountainous, it is very much influenced by the relief which determines the links, land and space. Located in the employment area and activity area of Gap, it bases its economy on agriculture, services, trade and business but also on tourism as it is located close to major tourist resorts (Lake of Serre-Ponçon, National Park des Ecrins, ski resorts of Champsaur and Réallon).

The influence and impact of tourism are important at Chorges (holiday center, lake of Serre- Ponçon) and stay moderated in the other municipalities, apart from the Basilique and the Hotels of Notre Dame du Laus.

Mainly irrigated by the rivers of the Advance and the Luye, tributaries of the Durance, the area is extended between the extreme altitudes of 2512 (Les Parias) and 620 m (the Durance). The municipalities are characterized by a diffuse population and very dispersed over many hamlets and localities.

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A small caturige town (Indo-European tribe of Celtic language) backed by the foothills of the Massif des Ecrins, Chorges saw the construction of the present village during the tenth century. A historical tour leads through the streets around the church of the twelfth century, according to the small places and fountains, and houses in "Alpine Provencal" style.

Its general situation ...

Located halfway between Gap and Embrun, the municipality with an area of ??5735 ha includes: 1,393 ha of cultivated land, 414 ha of fields, 8.5 hectares of vineyards, 1,183 ha of woods (875 ha of conifer, mountain grassland and moors) and rocks covering 2,318 ha.

The old town is located at an altitude of 835 m on a rocky base, presumably ancient glacial lock. The rest of the village grows happily at the sunny side and particularly on the right part of the ancient alluvial cone of the torrent Moulettes. About fifteen hamlets divide the space, four at the shady side, and eleven others facing the sun.

The 2400 "Caturiges" enjoy the quality, the lifestyle and the exceptional climate, well protected from the "Brise" and "Lombard", with their feet in the water at 780 m of altitude and their head in the stars at 2512 m.

Despite the decline in agricultural activity with still 36 farms, the surfaces, as well as the number of sheep and cattle, which increase slightly, which makes of Chorges, the second agricultural town of the department after Gap. The deviation of the National Road 94, allows the village to get away from traffic, and therefore to enjoy a certain tranquility.

Its greatest assets ...

Its general orientation facing the south is based on the foothills to the north which is a true mineral barrier resulting in carriage phenomena during the uplift of the Alps, but is also a climatic barrier between the wet Alps in the north under Atlantic influence and the dry Alps, our country, under southern influence, is dry and sunny.

Alliance or opposition between verticality and horizontality of the landscapes promotes a multitude of sporting activities from climbing to regatta. The municipal natural patrimony owns the second wet zone of the department recently classified "reserve biotope". By its geographical position and by the staging of its vegetation strata on 1720 m of altitude difference at the sunny side and 758 m to the shadow side, this country is a botanical paradise where alpine and Mediterranean flora interpenetrate.

It is a country of wide open spaces and of purity, between Chabrières and Morgon; it is just a wonderful country.

Chorges owns one of the most abundant sources of the department, result of the fractured carves of 400 m of power, that are Pousterle and Oucane Chabrières, which act as reservoirs. This water is partly commercialized as the "Roche des Ecrins" or "Source des Moulettes". The rest of this wealth supplies our common with drinking water but also the many irrigation channels as a hill reservoir which supplies a network of aspersion for agriculture.

A brief history ...

The Caturiges originally were a people who, it seems, was part of a human wave, participated in a large migration stream composed of Ural - Altaics, the Ural and the Altai are regions in southern Siberia, which push their herd forwards, looking for new land, with a soft climate, richer in grass, in game, in fruits, in fact, looking for a country better to live, would have installed in these vast valleys, recently released from the ice clutches.

This colonization is established, as that of the original bronze, "Chalcolithic" (about 2400 years before Christ). They were soon joined by the Iberians (Spain), followed by the Ligurian (Genoa countries). The Celts only came in small numbers in that territory, only one and a half century before Jesus Christ. Then came the Roman era, which made of ??this small town Caturige, the "Civitas Rigomagensium": station on the Domitienne way linking Montgenevre to Arles. This area is also mentioned as "Country Rigomagensis", seat of a bishopric around 480.
After the Ligurian, Roman, Lombard, Arab and Burgundian invasions, Goths settled, before the Franks. Then again the Lombards returned and then also the Saracens were settled in Provence, from which they were expelled in the late tenth century. At the beginning of the twelfth century, under the influence of the powerful Benedictine house of Saint Victor of Marseilles, begins the construction of the present church of the village. It was classified as a historical monument in 1862.
Meanwhile, the region of Gap and Embrun had passed under the influence of the Counts of Provence and Forcalquier, and remain so until the beginning of the thirteenth century, when by filiation, in 1202, this country came under the iron rule of the Dauphins du Viennois. But Provence and Dauphin people continue to argue that territory for a long time.
In 1349, the Dauphine was absorbed by the kingdom of France. Then there were the wars of religion. The troops of the Constable of Lesdiguières did Chorges wrong in 1585. One year later, in 1586, the Royal troops under the leadership of Cardinal Richelieu take over to chase the Protestants; the fortifications of the town were destroyed, and the church burned.
In 1630, a new plague.
In 1692, plundering, destruction, fire, are done by Duke Amedée of Savoie, at the head of the troops of the League of Augsbourg. In 1770 a terrible fire destroyed the town.
1789, Revolution at Chorges? The taking of the Bastille hardly roused the population, but the tricolor flag was raised with pride and enthusiasm ...
January 5th, 1790, France is divided into 83 departments. It is in the church of Chorges, which is chosen for its neutrality between Gap and Embrun, that from 4 to 12 July 1790, the department of the Hautes –Alpes was organised. The city of Gap was chosen as Prefecture, Embrun as sub-prefecture.
In 1840, due to too bare land, flooding and silting of the village by the torrent of Moulettes. The village was nevertheless one of the most forested of the department. Indeed, afforestation, except for the monastic forests such as those of Boscodon or Saint Maurice of Valserres, had almost entirely disappeared in our regions. Following the law of R.T.M. (Restoration of Mountain Land) of 1864, under the influence of Water and Forest engineers such as Sir Surrel and Sir Demontzey the country will be reforested from 1893.
1883 , arrival of the railway line Veynes - Briancon .
1955 construction of the dam of Serre-Ponçon .