• Forts


Military heritage

Military strategic crossroads between Provence, Dauphine and Savoy states, the Ubaye Valley has long been disputed. Attached to France in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht, the Ubaye is highly fortified.

In the 19th century, under the successive leadership of General Haxo and General Sere de Rivieres, the main strongholds were built in areas of confluence or on the summits.

These strcutures were completed in 1931 by the works of the Maginot Line.

Witness of the history of France in a landscape where now borders no longer exist, this unique and incomparable heritage architectural can be visited.

Following the First World War the ouvrages at Saint-Ours and Roche la Croix were built between 1930 and 1936 as part of the Alpine sector of the Maginot line, allowing control of the border with Italy.

The section was completed by two smaller, additional petit ouvrages at bas de Saint-Ours and Plate Lombarde as well as the outposts at Larche.

Dug into the rocks and built from reinforced concrete and steel, the only visible parts of these underground fortresses were the embrasures of the combat blocks, the armoured cloches and, in the case of Roche La Croix, a retractable turret.

These defensive works came under fire in June 1940 and successfully lived up to their motto « On ne passe pas » "They shall not pass".

Tournoux fort Tournoux fort
Roche la Croix Roche la Croix
Saint Ours haut Saint Ours Haut
Saint Ours bas Saint Ours bas

The Maginot Line

Dug in the rock, built from reinforced concrete and steel, these structures are completely underground, protecting equipment and personnel.

The only visible elements being the combat blocks composed of doorways or armoured bells. Inside, galleries connecting the various blocks are also home to the living areas: barracks, warehouses, power plant.

The Ubaye Maginot Line stands out brightly in the Italian offensive in June 1940. With their effective crossfire and a particularly deadly eclipse turret, the Upper St. Ours and Roche la Croix fortifications stopped the progression of the invading troops on the border ridge, inflicting heavy casualties to the Italians.

Tournoux Fortress

In 1837, General Haxo, Inspector of Fortifications, decided to build a fort at Tournoux, in order to lock down the upper Ubaye Valley and protect it from enemy attacks coming from the east, via the Col de Larche.

This fortress is made up of several forts positioned at intervals over a 700m climb.

The first phase of works, from 1843 to 1865, saw the construction of Battery B12, Fort Moyen and Fort Supérieur.

The war of 1870 demonstrated the effectiveness of rifled artillery. A second phase of construction was then ordered by General Séré de Rivières from 1879 to 1895, this added the Les Caurres battery, the Serre de Laut, the exterior outpost of Serre de Laut and the Pellegrin barracks.

The fort, essentially, took on its current appearance.

Reservations :

In the tourist offices :

  • Barcelonnette: +33 (0)4 92 81 04 71
  • Le Sauze - Sauze 1700: +33 (0)4 92 81 05 61
  • Jausiers: +33 (0)4 92 81 21 45
  • Pra Loup: +33 (0)4 92 84 10 04
  • Val d'Oronaye - Larche: +33 (0)4 92 84 33 58


Warm clothing and closed shoes are recommended for visits of Saint-Ours haut and Roche-la-Croix.

Wear closed shoes, a hat or cap, and a flashlight or headlamp for Fort Tournoux, Caurres battery.

The forts are private places accessible only accompanied by an accredited guide.

Forts location map

+ / - to zoom, click on the markers to get more information.

Afficher Les fortifications de l'Ubaye sur une carte plus grande