Fort d'artillerie de Champex-Lac

Artilleriefestung von Champex-Lac


Useful Information

Location: Champex-Lac, Orsières.
From Martigny (Rhone valley) follow road 21 south to Orsières. Before the town turn right, follow main road through Orsières to Som La Proz, turn right to Champex-Lac.
(46.026103, 7.122381)
Open: JUL to AUG Wed-Sun 14, 16:30.
[2021]
Fee: Adults CHF 14, Children (6-16) CHF 8, Children (0-5) free, Students (-26) CHF 10, Families CHF 28.
Groups (10+): Adults CHF 10, Children (6-16) CHF 5.
[2021]
Classification: SubterraneaWorld War II Bunker SubterraneaSecret Bunker
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=600m, T=14 °C..
Guided tours: D=60 min, L=600 m.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Fort d'artillerie de Champex-Lac, Route de la piscine, 1938 Champex-Lac.
Association Pro Forteresse, Tel: +41-27-783-11-14.
Office du Tourisme de Champex-Lac, Tel: +41-27-775-23-83. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1940-1943 Artillery Fort constructed.
1998 decommissioned by the Swiss Army.
1999 opened to the public.

Description

The Fort d'artillerie de Champex-Lac (Artilleriefestung von Champex-Lac, Champex-Lac Artillery Fort) is an underground fortification which was part of the Swiss fortifications built during World War II. With the beginning of the nuclear thread in the 1960s it was transformed into an atomic bunker, It became obsolete with the end of the Cold War, but was finally decommissioned by the Swiss Army in 1998. Since then, it is open as a tourist attraction, and is operated by the association Pro Forteresse.

The fort is completely underground and not visible at all, only the entrance gate is today equipped with a parking lot and some exhibits, like an old cannon. However, the gate is made of concrete and looks like a natural boulder, so without the signs and while the gate is closed it's quite difficult to find. And it is located in the middle of harmless chalets and some hotels in a tourist area. This was obviously one of the goals. And the holes where the cannons are place (it's actually an artillery fort) where hidden by fake wooden barns or wall made of the surrounding rocks looking like medieval castle ruins.

The fort is located above the Usine valley, a left tributary of the Rhone river, south of the characteristic 90° bend of the Rhone at Martigny. From Usine the road clims in serpentines up the valley side until it reaches the valley of Champex. The first village is Champex-Lac, because it is located at a small lake. Between the lake and the end of the valley are some buildings, and this is where the entrance to the fort is located. The guns are actually oriented towards Usine and intended to controll the traffic