Come and discover a fascinating world in the heart of the mountains in a strange atmosphere: a fortress hidden under the Alps. Modernized and adapted to a possible nuclear conflict, the fort was used until 1998!
Built in 1940 and 1943, modernized and adapted to a possible nuclear conflict during the cold war period, the fort was used by the Swiss army until 1998. More than 600 meters of galleries dug in the mountain. Totally invisible from the outside, the fort could house 300 men.
Opening hours 2023
From Saturday, July 1st to Friday, September 1st 2023, visits at 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm.
Meeting point 15 minutes before the visit, in front of the entrance of the fort.
Information at the Champex-Lac tourist office, +41 27 775 23 83.
Registration strongly recommended!
Opening on request for a private visit for a group. Depending on the availability of the guides, +41 79 628 88 52.
Adults : CHF 16.00
Students : CHF 12.00
Children : CHF 10.00
Included in the PASS St-Bernard
Temperature in the Fort 10-12°C. Bring warm clothes and shoes.
It is possible to rent the Fort for special events: meetings, company dinners, weddings …
Carved into the southern ridge of the Catogne, the Champex fort, A 46, is located at an altitude of 1450m, close to the resort and the lake of Champex. It towers 500m above the Orsières basin at its foot. With its 600-metre-long network of galleries, the structure is like a small underground settlement, totally isolated from the outside world and capable of living in complete self-sufficiency, should the need arise.
Classified as “secret” until 1999, it was built during the Second World War (October 1941 to December 1942) to provide fire support for infantry troops defending the axis of the Great St Bernard Pass from Italy. Constantly modernised and adapted for nuclear warfare, it is an absolutely fascinating and incredible underground world. Completely invisible from the outside, the fort is dug right into the heart of the mountain.
The champex fort contains 2 batteries of 10.5 cm and 7. 5 cm cannon batteries, each with a PCT (fire calculation station), a battery control centre, two ammunition magazines (shells and charges), two observation posts linked to the batteries, a telephone communications centre, a barracks with a kitchen and refectory, as well as an officers’ mess, 3 dormitories to house the troops and rooms for the non-commissioned officers, a dormitory for the company officers and those from other units (Cp dir feu, EM du Gr art)
two individual rooms (Cdt cp and Cdt gr), two engine rooms (filters, engines and electricity generators) and a water tank fed by an underground spring. For its external defence, it has infantry forts (fortress machine guns, 8.1 cm fortress mine launchers) located downstream (Château Roc, Manoday, Biolley, see chapter on Hauts).
In addition, the Champex fort had a Group PCT, with an artillery centre, to coordinate fire in the St-Bernard region that could come from the Champex, Commeire, Follatères and Dailly works. The Champex fort was cp fort 1/22, forming with the Commeire fort (then Napoleon, LM 12 cm, twin-tube), cp fort II/22 and cp dir feu, Gr fort 22, incorporated into Rgt forteresse 19 then 1.
Explore its labyrinth of corridors. Discover the strange atmosphere of this little “secret town” buried below Lake Champex! Enter the mysterious world of a Swiss “Cold War” fortress! The reality matches the myth.