History To Know

A little history about the Nivolet Cross

The Nivolet Cross is a “sommet – summit” cross, the end of the 13th century brought a larger number of erected crosses throughout the Alps, they served as border markings. Some of the first examples in France were on the top of Mont Aiguille in the Vercours built in 1492.

A large number of crosses were erected in Catholic and German regions of the Alps in the second half of the 19th century and into the first half of the 20th century. Often at the bottom of the cross there was a notebook for hikers to leave a message. Somewhat like a cairn to help mark the top of the mountain.

The Nivolet Cross dominates Le Massif des Bauges and watches over Chambéry at 1547 meters, 5075 feet. Erected on September 15th 1861. Built in Chambéry with a metal framework and covered with white iron exterior. Even a Pope came to kiss it in 1877, Pie IX. After a bad storm in 1909 when the cross was folded in two, they decided to rebuild it with reinforced concrete and aluminium cover. 21,50 meters 71 feet high and 10 meters 33 feet long the inauguration was 1911. 1944 the cross was the scene of an attack at it’s base but it survived although badly damaged and 1960 the cross was lit for the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Savoie into France. But again an attack that same year turned out the light till 1989 when for the future Winter Olympic of 1992 the cross was relit and has survived since.

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