31 Aug. 2020
Tour de France in Moûtiers 16-17 september 2020
Situated in the heart of the village, in an old Bellevillois farm, the Saint Martin Museum retraces one hundred and fifty years of this high Savoyard valley's history.
From the height of the agricultural civilisation in the 19th Century to the tourist revolution in the 60s, passing by the industrial changes at the beginning of the 20th Century, discover the highlights that have marked this history.
In the old stables of the building, winter living quarters have been reconstructed. This is where the Bellevillois lived together with their animals during the coldest months. At this time, cattle rearing was the main activity in the commune, and the valley was well known for its huge high altitude pastures. Even the industrial progress at the beginning of the 20th Century didn't change the daily life of the inhabitants, still ruled by their ancestral traditions.
Life in the warmer months
Spring, summer and autumn were working months for the Bellevillois. Ploughing and sowing, taking the cattle up to the mountain pastures, transforming the milk, hay making, harvesting, kindling gathering … the jobs were never-ending leaving little time for rest. But the warmer months were short and everything had to be done in order to feed the men and animals during the winter.
A changing society
At the end of the World War I, the society started to change, due to the industrial revolution and technical progress. La Vallée des Belleville still kept its attachment to its traditional way of life, but was subject to huge emigration. The industrialisation of the close cities led many families to leave their villages. Tourism was born in the thermal towns and winter sports started to develop, first in Méribel then in Courchevel - a glimpse of what was to happen to La Vallée des Belleville.
The top level of the Museum shows the Vallée's tourist development and retraces the creation of Les Menuires in the 60s and Val Thorens from 1972 onwards. These scope of these projects, created to reply to the ever increasing demand for winter sports, over time have modified the Vallée's countryside and opened up the perspective of a new economic dynamism. In the 80s, the village resort of Saint Martin, built around the old village centre, concluded this development programme.
To make the visit more lively and attractive, the Museum is equipped with two video rooms : one of yesteryear traditions through images of today's Bellevillois showing what life was like before, and the other showing the development of Les Menuires and Val Thorens through eye witness accounts and authentic photos.
Headphones are available for English speaking visitors.