Allevard, (also known as Allevard-les-Bains) is a commune in the Isère department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France.
The inhabitants of the commune are known as Allevardins or Allevardines or alternatively as Allevardais or Allevardaises
The commune has been awarded two flowers by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of Cities and Villages in Bloom.
GeographyAllevard is located in the Belledonne mountains 40 km south-east of Chambéry and 38 km north-east of Grenoble. The commune is accessed by the D525 from Goncelin in the south-west following the mountain ridge through the village and continuing north-east to La Chapelle-du-Bard. There are also some minor roads such as the D9 parallel to the D525 going to the north and the D108 which accesses the village from the D525. There is a tortuous mountain road - the D109 - which goes east of the village and eventually circles back to the north of the commune. The town has quite a large urban area in the west of the commune however the rest of the commune is mountainous and heavily forested.
The Bourg stream forms the southern boundary of the commune flowing west and the Buisson forms the northern boundary also flowing west. These streams together with numerous other streams flow into the Breda which flows north through the commune then west to join the Isère near Pontcharra.
Localities and hamletsThere are several hamlets and localities in the commune. These are:
Neighbouring communes and villages
The Middle Ages to modern timesAllevard Castle stood above the town on a hill surrounded by a wall 60 toises long and described: "and water flowed from the Breyda and partly from the Sabaudie". The village was also fortified. Its enclosure was 1413 toises accessible through four doors. It was first mentioned in 1100. A large house on the edge of town, near Vingtain and the mill canals in 1367. A quoted recollection: "meniis Curtina et clausura".
It also noted "quaddam hospitium seu fortalicium sum et domum fortem que situatur infra villam de alarvardo" in 1367 about an ancient tower and fortified house belonging to Guillaume Barral which connected the ditches of the city in 1393
In the Middle Ages Allevard was the seat of a lordship. The survey of 1339 reported the existence of a large house in a place called the "Bâtie d'Arvillard": "Castrum Bastide alti villaris" (ADI B 4443, folio 14). Located on a mound dominating the Allevard valley for 100 m, the site is naturally protected on three sides by cliffs. On the accessible side a hummock bars the way. The survey states: "Dictum autem castrum situatum est in quodam altissimo molare valde eminente et deffensabile"(the castle is located on a very high mound with a great height and easy to defend). The lords gave the people of Allevard many exemptions successively modified by the franchise charter from the university in 1315 and in 1337. Until 1558 these charters were, depending on the financial needs of the crown, more or less respected by the kings of France. In 1558 Henry II committed to sell, subject to possible repurchase, the land of Allevard. In 1644, the "Engagiste" Lord of Allevard was called Thomas Chabo of Saint Maurice, a Savoyard noble. His son, Charles, was Ambassador of Savoy to the Court of Versailles. Charles subrogated the sale to François de Barral (1625–1699) who was advisor to the Parliament of the Dauphiné - the son of Gaspard, a lawyer and adviser to the Queen mother and to Mary Vignon, and the wife of François de Bonne, Constable of France. Gaspard de Barral already owned a steel mill near Renage and iron mines on the mountain of Saint-Pierre d'Allevard.
The Barral family eraThe Barral family were influential and powerful as they were related to the Ponat, Virieu, and Tencin families who were richly established in Voironnais and Saint-Aupre. Under François Barral de Clermont (1625–1699) major work was undertaken in the small and very unhealthy walled town of Allevard: "The people are piled up in old unhealthy houses and without comfort or usual support. The streets are unpaved, narrow, and winding with mud kept wet with the dampness which favoured epidemics and the emergence or persistence of goiter" (Bouffier 1846). The construction of the first stone bridge dates from 1688 and the renovation of the old church plus the redevelopment of the former castle were completed between 1692 and 1693. The first opening in the south wall of the city followed. François de Barral de Clermont, the uncle of the famous Tencin died in 1699 as the Dean of the Parliament of Grenoble.
In 1751 the King established the territory of Allevard under his command under the name of the County of Barral as a perpetual lordship for Jean-Baptiste de Barral (1709–1785).
Paulin de Barral 17 (1745–1822), his grandson, was the last lord of Allevard and of Jaligny in Bourbonnais who sold at a loss his castle and his factories in 1817 to A.B. Champel AB.
The iron industryAllevard was an important centre for metallurgy and for the quality of its steel products until the early 20th century. There is a legend, created from the text of Suetonius and Polybius, which claims that Hannibal went to Allevard to manufacture his weapons. The history of Allevard is closely linked to the alpine steel industry. In 1450, Pierre and Arthur Boisson had a trip hammer in Allevard town which still existed in 1724. During a tour of the factory by special commissioners of the king in 1724 "it was determined to be the oldest of its kind in the kingdom" (E. Chabrand). Another Trip hammer at the same era was in operation in the village of Pinsot which is upstream on the Breda. A study of the remains indicated that the Allevard community had, between 1643 and 1727, a total of 76 works on the "Bredal" stream: 3 blast furnaces, 21 Trip hammers, 36 flour mills, 2 hemp beaters, 6 presses, 6 water-powered saws, 1 nail factory, and 1 fuller's earth plant. The steel industry was highly profitable because at the same time, the price per hundred kilos for the melting furnace - total production in Allevard was 54,255 kg - went from 4 livres 5 sols to 9 livres 10 sols.
For many years Allevard remained an industrial site of great importance under as the blacksmith lords of the Barral family who constantly sought to innovate with the advice of the engineer Binelli and Sir Pierre Clement Grignon, collaborator in the Encyclopédie of Diderot. In 1785, the Barral establishments employed around 300 foundrymen, 300 miners, and 200 colliers to which should be added 100 mule-drivers. Of these 900 workers, only 420 were directly employed by the factory. Others worked independently particularly the miners and colliers.
Shortly before the Revolution a major project to relocate the Royal Naval cannon foundry of Saint-Gervais in the valley of the Isere to Allevard was considered. Only the relative weakness in the supply of charcoal put off the government – there needed to be 36,000 loads of coal per year when all the Allevard and nearby Gresivaudan communities could provide was at most 15,000. The plant therefore became idle under the casual management of Paulin Barral, then of Messrs Champel – who received the Duchess of Berry in Allevard in 1829, then Giroud who were bankers and were soon bankrupted.
Fortunately in the 1840s, under the leadership of Eugène Charrière, production of the factories near Rives, which had been devoted only to cast iron, changed to puddled steel with which the forges could get the wholesale railway market for steel tyres, first welded, then the seamless tyres developed by engineer A. Pinat. In 1867 steel production was 2,000 tonnes. At that time forges had a staff of 446 workers of which 80 were metal rollers. The customers were then 400 companies almost all French (Thiers, Saint-Etienne etc.) which increased to 1,300 customers in 1906 with a workforce of over 700 workers and a large increase in exports: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Belgium, and Italy. Allevard also partnered with some great groups just before the First World War (Firminy, Aulnoye, Batignolles, Commentary).
It was also at Allevard that in 1859 some of the first armourplating for the frigate La Gloire were produced together with the companies Petetin de Saint Chamond and Laubenière of Rouen.
After the abandonment of cast iron from charcoal the forges converted to the Siemens process to manufacture steel, conserving for Allevard at the turn of the century: "their name and their place in the metallurgic world, to the satisfaction our dauphinois pride and for the benefit of our courageous working population" (Chabrand). At this time Allevard also had a silk factory employing a large female workforce - an establishment led by the Izoard family who were related to Aimé Bouchayer an industrialist and banker from Grenoble who quickly developed a major centre of tourism based on hydrotherapy.
Contemporary era;The forges Succeeding his father and his grandfather, Charles Pinat was the new ironmaster for Allevard at the turn of the century and former motive power engineer on the tramway of Lyon and ahead of his time directed the energy supply for his establishments from power generation through falls, dams, and power plants he planned to build along the course of the Breda. In 1917, during the First World War, the Allevard forges passed into the control of the Compagnie des forges et aciéries de la marine et d'Homécourt (Company of marine forges and steelworks and of Homécourt) (FAMH) under the guidance of Théodore Laurent. It was a time of great innovation - new hydro-electric developments on the Breda and concentration of production around springs, magnets, and ferro-alloys. The 1930 crisis significantly affected Allevard and severely restricted its production. In 1940, the defeat and catastrophic floods in the upper valley of Breda and even stopped all production for some time. Liberation marked the renewal of machinery (10,000 tons / year of rolled products) and a steady influx of immigrant workers on three industrial sites: The Gorge of Allevard - Champ Sappey, Saint-Pierre-d'Allevard, and Le Cheylas. Subsequent years would see the adoption of continuous casting and the unfortunate association with Ugine for the manufacture of magnets. In 1973-1974 the completion of the power station of Moulins marked paradoxically the end of the forges from their home since the 15th century.
Nowadays, the development of the silicon industry and its derivatives near Grenoble has led to a growth of urbanism which imposes by its sprawl major changes in the landscape of the commune with other parts affected by agricultural abandonment and extensions of the forest.
SpaVery early on famous people resided in Allevard to take the waters (for drinking or inhaling in common rooms) such as Alphonse Daudet (who took up three chapters of his novel, Numa Roumestan), Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Frédéric Ozanam, Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale (son of Louis-Philippe from the family of Lucien Bonaparte and Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar during his exile in France).The greatest customers of Allevard, however, since 1880 have been the politicians, preachers, speakers, and singers who come to "fix their voice". These include, among others, the actors Paul Mounet and Jean Mounet-Sully, the brothers Coquelin the elder and the younger, Félia Litvinne, Germaine Lubin, Georgette Leblanc; then later Jeanne Aubert, Cécile Sorel, and Damia who were singers; politicians such as Eugene Chevandier de Valdrome, Eugène Rouher, Charles Floquet, Édouard Herriot, Georges Picot (who died in 1909 at Allevard), Gustave Hervé, Alexandre Zévaès, Auguste Burdeau, and Senator Auguste Scheurer-Kestner in 1897 in the middle of the Dreyfus affair. There were also many other notable people: clerics such as Father Della Chiesa - the future Pope Benedict XV, Monseigneur Félix Dupanloup (Bishop of Orléans), the Genevan pastor Theodore Claparede, and the chief rabbi of France Isaïe Schwartz; preachers such as Joseph Gratry of the French Academy, and Father Jean-Léon Le Prevost; diplomats such as Camille Barrere, Count Vladimir Lamsdorf, Prince Pierre Wolkonsky, Count Zichy, and Prince Ypsilanti, the Roumanian mountaineer Prince Alexandre Bibesco; musicians such as Jules Massenet and Charles Lamoureux; photographers such as Nadar and the Lumière brothers; poets such as Lucie Delarue-Mardrus and Patrice de La Tour du Pin; musicologists such as Paul-Marie Masson and Émile Vuillermoz; painters such as Hippolyte Flandrin and Kees van Dongen; the novelists Germaine Acremant and Thyde Monnier; French academicians such as Victor de Laprade and René de La Croix de Castries; professors of medicine Louis Landouzy and Maxime Laignel-Lavastine; industrialists and financiers such as Pierre Dreyfus, Edward Molyneux, and Calouste Gulbenkian; Swiss bankers Pictet and Mornay; the chemist Joseph Bienaimé Caventou; the feminist Arria Ly who worked at the local newspaper, Chronicle of Allevard-les-Bains led by Dr. Boel in 1903, Dr. Edmond Locard (a nephew of Dr. Niepce the Director of the Spa); the designer Jacques Faizant; the architect Henri Révoil; President Ferhat Abbas, the family of President Habib Bourguiba, and Admiral Muselier are among other celebrities who have been regulars of the spa.
The Spa is effective, discreet, and very popular with entertainers - "Coming here is not for show but to heal and rest" (Dr. Revillet-Laure). Since 1936 Allevard has been popular with other clients thanks in particular to ENT and lung treatments for children which was initiated by Dr. Jean Langénieux.
Finally it was in 1994 that a new spa building opened for the care and cure of rheumatology which revived the first indications in 1838 by Dr. Laurent Chataing, the first inspector of waters. Since then the station has sought to open proposed new anti-stress treatments and also treatments for fibromyalgia.
AdministrationList of Successive Mayors;Mayors from 1935
(Not all data is known)
Allevard has twinning associations with:
DemographyIn 2009 the commune had 3,768 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.
TransportThe town of Allevard is served by the 6200 route of the departmental network called Transisère. It is also served by several bus routes by Gresivaudan with links including the Lycée Pierre Terrail (Pierre Terrail School) to Pontcharra and also to Goncelin railway station with timings corresponding with the TER network to the cities of Grenoble and Chambéry.
Sites and monuments
Thermal curesThe first sulphur thermal spa treatments took place in 1813 but especially since 1848 under the tutelage of Dr. Bernard Niepce, the inspector of waters. The baths were operated originally by Pierre Villiot and the Bouvret-Rocour family and associates then from 1882 by the Compagnie Générale des Eaux minérales et Bains de Mer until it was redeemed in 1997 by the municipality and operated by SAEM Thermal. The operation runs today in a beautiful forested park surrounded by three thermal establishments with typical architecture from the 1890s until 1995. The Niepce building (1894) houses the "breathing" activities, the Villiot building (1992) receives patients with rheumatology; the Chardon building (1955) does not currently have thermal use.
Winter sports resortThe commune has a ski resort: the Collet d'Allevard which is located 10 km from the town (30 minutes drive). The altitude of the runs varies from 1,450m to 2,100m. The resort has 35 km of runs: 7 green, 6 blue, 5 red, and 3 black.
Created in 1955 on former communal grazing land reserved for summer pastures for the collective herds of the Allevard community, it is now served by a new route via the route of the old logging road across private land and the old royal delphinale forest. It reached its present size in 1975 and subsequent developments have primarily been to improve the existing domain.
Interesting features for those who go there:
Another feature is that Collet d'Allevard is a first class paragliding site especially with its four official take-off points (Malatrait, Clos des Gentianes, Prérond, and Plagnes) each with different orientation.Finally Collet d'Allevard offers one of the largest night ski areas in Europe covering the Malatrait and Fontaineterre sectors.