The lake of Serre-Ponçon seduces vacationers with its exotic-colored waters, its sumptuous landscapes, its beaches, and its water sports activities. This stretch of water was created thanks to the construction of the largest dam in Europe, at the cost of the disappearance of several villages swallowed by the waters. The Muséoscope of the Lake invites you to discover the astonishing history and particularities of Serre-Ponçon.

From the dam to the Muséoscope

The Durance River has its source in the Southern French Alps before joining the Rhône at Avignon. Although its valley is a major communication route, its formerly devastating floods caused a lot of damage. A dam would make it possible to regulate its course throughout the year, while constituting an indispensable water reservoir to irrigate Provence in summer. Evoked as early as 1856, the dam became a reality a century later, since work began in 1955 after many years of study. The inhabitants of the region suffered a real upheaval: entire villages and many cultivated lands were submerged, while new perspectives were born around tourism.

The project of a work of memory around the lake of Serre-Ponçon was initiated in 1994 by Gérard Ubrun. This company manager wanted to keep a testimony of the impact of the lake on the territory. With the mobilization of his family and friends, he carried out a formidable task of collecting information which gave birth, a few years later, to the Muséoscope of the Lake.

In 1994, Gérard Ubrun, a company manager, realized that there was a vacuum around this history. It was necessary to film the testimonies of people who had been expropriated and to build a museum that related the history of the flooded villages. Since its opening, this private museum has welcomed many visitors every year.

An visual and sound tour

A sound and visual trail allows you to relive the construction of the dam and the upheavals suffered by the inhabitants of the valley.

The construction of the dam is widely documented. The nature of the soil, composed of alluvial deposits over 110 meters, prevented the construction of a conventional concrete dam. Innovative techniques had to be used and an earthen dam had to be built. 123 meters high and 650 meters wide at the base, with a volume of fourteen million cubic meters of earth and crushed rock, the Serre-Ponçon dam is almost 5.5 times larger than the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

Scale models and the screening of a film show the flooded villages. Visitors become aware that beneath the Serre-Ponçon lake lie ancient hamlets, paths once used by farmers going to the fields, farms, schools, chapels and churches…

Practical information

Prepare your visit to the Muséoscope of Serre-Ponçon Lake:

  • Address: Le Belvédère de Serre-Ponçon, 05190 ROUSSET
  • Access from Gap: take the N94 road towards Chorges, then at the exit of the village follow the ‘Muséoscope du Lac’ sign.
  • Website: http://museoscope-du-lac.com/

Museums in Hautes Alpes

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