Driving up the Romanche Valley takes you to the cradle of hydroelectricity in Livet-Gavet, as well as giving you an opportunity to witness the ongoing developments of the EDF Romanche-Gavet project.
About : La Basse vallée de la Romanche
Closed factories, dating back to the early 20th century (in particular the Vernes factory) can be seen stringed out along the valley, co-existing with the most powerful dam in France - the Grand'Maison - located above Allemond.
The history of the lower Romanche Valley is intertwined with natural elements, mineral resources, hydraulic energy and reserves of timber, which have encouraged the development of different types of industries over the centuries: trip hammers in the Middle Ages, followed by furnaces, paper mills and then electrometallurgy and electrochemicals.
Formally the economic lung of Oisans, the valley factories attracted peasants to work in the winter, who then returned to their herds and flocks in the summer. The very first seasonal workers!
These days, after several decades of disuse, the valley is taking more care over its appearance and has launched a new large-scale hydroelectric project called the Romanche Gavet. What energy! History, just like water, continues along its way.
The Romanche Museum in Rioupéroux retraces this history, depicting not only the industrial heritage of the Romanche and local geology, but also the expansion of these activities and the lives of the people involved.