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Chalet La Douceur - The memory on an exceptional setting

13/03/2020
One hundred years. This is how long it took to uncover a historical gem hidden in the Chalet La Douceur, in La Clusaz : this treasure trove is in fact the extensive written correspondence between four brothers who fought in World War I, and has provided a poignant record that continues to define the atmosphere of this exceptional setting.

The Chalet La Douceur is the latest acquisition of the Groupe PVG, and welcomes travellers searchingfor authenticity and comfort.This former farmhouse nestled in the heart of the Vallée des Confins is in total harmony with nature, and it seemed nothing could disturb its gentle charm.
And yet, a dramatic event occurred in spring 2018. Workers renovating the chalet discovered a mysterious hessian bag hidden in a crack in the woodwork. Inside, they found some 2,000 perfectly preserved letters.

An extraordinary, historical record
This find was in fact the wartime correspondence of four brothers from the Ruphy family who lived in the farmhouse. At the timethe farm was known as “L’Adroit” (“sunny-side”) in reference to its south-facing exposure.Maurice Vittoz, an iconic La Clusaz figure and a close friend of the Ruphy family, says that « Joseph, Germain, François and Jean were called up on 3 August 1914, leaving the running of the family farm to their parents and three sisters. They didn’t think they would be gone more than a year. »

As soon as he was told about the letters, Maurice developed a passion for this example of local life and for the Great War : « It is truly invaluable, he says. I read them all in two months and divided the letters into groups per brother andper year. It was a very moving task. » Maurice’s reaction is understandable. While reading he discovered stories of life on the front – often portrayed cryptically as letters were censored – along with tales of wounds, subtle descriptions of the brothers’ fear, and even practical recommendations for the management of the farm.

Homages and living memory
The letters have since been returned to the Ruphy family, and Maurice – now 81 – told us about last year’s ceremony on 11 November. The emotion in his voice was palpable. « These letters attracted a lot of attention around here. The centenary of the Great War united different generations around the memory of the 52 La Clusaz soldiers who died in combat – including François Ruphy. »

Quite naturally, the Groupe PVG also wanted to pay homage to the Ruphy brothers by naming the chalet’s two lodgings « Chez Germain » and « Chez Joseph » and exhibiting a selection of their hand-written letters.Now revamped to create a cosy residence, the Chalet La Douceur has preserved its ancient alpine charm while offering all the commodities that make it the perfect place for a family holiday – whatever the season. Both buildings can be rented separately or as one, with a maximum capacity of 20 people across more than 3,400 sq. ft.

A huge winter and summer sports offering is right on your doorstep. And for that little extra, you can enjoy breathtaking views over the Aravis Mountains.
Les Résidences et Chalets PVG - 23 place Jean Prémat - CS 20050 - 74220 La Clusaz Cedex - France - 
+33 (0)4 50 02 59 10
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