A bit of history about the area.


Few sources attest to a Gallo-Roman presence in the territory of upper-Valromey, however many Gallo-Roman buildings have been found in the near region; for example old dating probably from the second half of the 2nd century Roman aqueduct is located about 10 km from Hoton, "bird's-eye." Near old still, aerial photos have identified that a Gallo-Roman Theater stood along the Roman road.

  • Prehistoric era

Some discoveries have been made, including those of graves from the bronze age to the caves of the peak, to Songieu.

  • Independent Gaul

Alongside the first occupants, settled a presumed Celtic tribe belong to the people of the Allobroges. Vieu seems to have been then a home of ancient worship of the Sun and water (the latter, fontinisée at the Adoue) as well as that of Sucellus, the little God with the mallet.

  • Roman Gaul

As evidenced by his name and three inscriptions of the second or third century a.d., Vieu was the vicus (village) Venetonimagus, the capital probably in the country, with the presence of an underground aqueduct, temples of which one at the Persian God Mithra). In 1974, have been updated to Ossy (Champagne) the remains of a building, probably a temple, and the remains of four graves. The owners of the villas (areas) gave their names to many villages. Example: Rufio (lynx, in Gaulish) or Rufus (red, in latin) to Ruffieu. The Valromey took essentially, by this time, his current configuiration.

Before the Roman conquest, the major part of the Department of Ain was occupied by the Sebusiens (Sebusiani) and the Ambarri (Ambarri); they were allies and clients of the major tribe of the Aedui. Ambérieu and Ambronay city names remind us of old Ambarri, and remains in the Department of many remains of the Celtic period; We daily find tombs, stone axes that were used to sacrifices of the Druids, the dolmens, stone thrown or planted, and medals, among which there is reminding the uprising of the Gauls by Vercingetorix, and others who see the passage or the stay of Hannibal, when he crossed the Alps to bring his guns in Italy.

  • Barbarian migrations

They began around the third century and may have been the cause of the destruction of old by fire, revealed by the excavations. In the fifth century, the Burgundians settled peacefully in the region.
Several of their graves have been updated: to today (from the hamlet of Cerveyrieu, one of ' in slates on vocals, was transported to the Museum, to Lochieu), Champagne (sarcophagus in lead exposure pending), and to Songieu.

Moyen Âge

Au Moyen Âge, les villages de la commune appartiennent au Valromey qui, comme le pays de Vaud, sera acquis par Amédée VI de Savoie, après la signature avec la France, du Traité de Paris en 1355, fixant les limites du Duché de Savoie et du Dauphiné.

  • Féodalité et Etat savoyard

Après trois siècles d'anarchie féodale, les comtes puis les ducs de Savoie ont fait du Valromey un domaine direct de l'Etat savoyard. Un châtelain les représentait à la citadelle de Châteauneuf (à Songieu). Le Valromey est apparu dans les textes sous les noms de Verrumensi (1110), Veromensi (1142), Verrometum (1169), dérivant sans doute de Venetonimagus (ou plus anciennement de Vernemetonimagos : Marché du Grand Sanctuaire ? ). Vers 1140 a été édifié la chartreuse d'Arvières, avec Arthaud (à qui sera conférée la sainteté), comme premier prieur. Du XIIème au XVème siècle ont commencé à se construire la plupart des églises valromeysanes en pierre. De 1501, date à Lochieu, la maison qui deviendra le Musée rural du Valromey.

  • Valromey français

Après avoir été occupé de 1536 à 1559 par François 1er et Henri II, et de 1595 à 1601 par Henri IV, le Valromey est devenu définitivement français par le traité de Lyon du 17 janvier 1601 en même temps que la Bresse, le Bugey et le Pays de Gex. En 1605 Mgr François de Sales, évêque de Genève-Annecy (qui sera canonisé en 1665) a effectué une importante visite pastorale. 

En 1612, Honoré d'Urfé, l'auteur de "L' Astrée", en héritant de sa mère, née Renée de Savoie, devint le 1er marquis du Valromey (Verromey, en patois local, que traduiront par "Vallis Romana", qui est un non-sens, des érudits latinistes).

De 1764 à 1991, existait au centre de Champagne, l'imposante " Maison des douanes " bâtie par la " Ferme générale " pour la perception de la gabelle. Après la suppression de cet impôt sous la révolution, l'édifice abrita des douaniers jusqu'au rattachement de la Savoie voisine à la France, en 1860.  


Related articles: Treaty of Lyon (1601) and Honoré d ' Urfé.

January 17, 1601, the Treaty of Lyon attaches the Valromey, and so the four villages of upper-Valromey, in the France. This Treaty between the Duke Charles-Emmanuel of Savoy Ier and King Henri IV of France also joined France, the Bresse, Bugey (at the time, explicitly distinguished from the Valromey) and the Gex country. Lord of Châteauneuf and Virieu, Honoré d ' Urfé must swear allegiance to his new Lord, the King of France. In front of the King's representative, April 18, 1602, Honoré d ' Urfé give confession and enumeration of its seigneuries in Châteauneuf, Virieu-le-Grand and Senoy. Subsequently, these three Lordships are grouped in the Valromey County.

  • From the revolution to the second Empire

The Charterhouse of Arvieres, sold as national property, is dark in ruins.
Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), Belley, Deputy to the States General, author of the physiology of taste liked to stay at the family Manor of old.

Served in the armed forces: the general, Maréchal de camp, the built (Vieu), the general, baron of Empire, Baillod (Songieu), military intendant, baron of Rostaing (Talissieu). The baron Louis Costaz (Champagne) was an eminent Egyptologist under Napoleon 1st.

  • War of 1870-1871

There were 40 killed in a few months for the only canton of Champagne (memorial plaque at City Hall of the capital).

19th and 20th centuries
The second world war

  • 1914-1918 war

409 Valromeysans were killed, out of a population which had 8148 inhabitants in the Census of 1911. A Memorial was erected in each municipality, in their memory.

Ruffieu - Pounds of gold 14/18

  • War of 1939-1945

Location of major maquis of Ain

One of the camps of the maquis of Ain and the Haut-Jura, the "camp of the fiefdom" was located at Hoton (North of the village). This camp created by Jean-Pierre of Lassus counted to fifty men.

Jean-Pierre de Lassus (dit Legrand) reflects the activity of the specialty:
"In the spring of 1943, the maquis well-armed I had formed depended on forces of the secret army, which, in this Department, colonel novels was the leader and my comrade in promotion of Saint-Cyr; Girousse, the Assistant. On November 11, 1943 I attended, the head of my maquis, in a military parade of Oyonnax. The city had been isolated by phone from the rest of the Department. Colonel novels and the regional authorities placed a wreath at the monument to the dead: 'the winners of tomorrow to those of 14-18", while 120 maquis, in impeccable attire, rendered honors. »

World War II caused 160 victims: 5 in captivity (on 50 prisoners), 14 as a result of the Occupation, 68 of the Resistance, 50 of the Deportation, 23 of the fighting at the front. The Maquis formed in the Valromey top summer 1943, in conjunction with groups of the secret army (A.S.) local.

In September, a helping hand on a youth site, to today, has provided opportunities to purchase equipment. The Maquis of the Valromey participated in uniforms, in the famous parade on 11 November in Oyonnax.

A skirmish took place on 2 February 1944 to Ruffieu and an ambush June 13 at Samonod (Belmont-Luthezieu). The hamlet of St. Maurice, Charancin (Sutrieu), was burnt down by the Germans on June 15. The occupying army raids were still very deadly in July. A monument, near Bioleaz (Belmont-Luthezieu) on the edge of the road to the col of the Lebe; 20 stelae or plates, on places where the Resistants were shot, are to testify.




The Memorial of the maquis of Ain and the Resistance or Memorial in the Valley of hell,

is a memorial, a war memorial and a cemetery, located in Cerdon, Ain, in France.

The monument to the 700 dead of the maquis of Ain and the Haut-Jura was erected at lieudit Val to hell, in the bend of the RN 84, above the village of Cerdon. It is placed in great surroundings and wild, sort of amphitheatre made of rocks and greenery. A high imposing statue of seventeen metres in the Gard stone represents the France standing, freeing itself from its channels, in the guise of a woman who seems to spring mountain. On the West side of the monument is a phrase borrowed from the poet Aragon: when I die is reborn homeland. At the foot of the statue is buried an unknown resistance fighter who is the symbol of the shadow fighters. East of the monument lies the cemetery where ninety-nine guerrillas killed in combat, including thirty-six strangers. Fifty-three other tombs, include thirty-six French, a few names of leaders: Albert Chambonnet Didier, Édouard Bourret Brown, Charles Blétel... and a number of foreigners: seven Spaniards, two poles, two Italians, a Russian, five North Africans, come fight on our soil and resting at the foot of the mast where floats the Tricolor.

  • Operations in Indochina (1946-1954) and Algeria (1954-1962)

They resulted in the death of 7 children of the Valromey: 4 in Indochina (1 lieutenant, 1 Chief Warrant Officer and 2 career corporals) and 3 in Algeria (1 doctor-Lt. and 2 soldiers of the contingent).

Twenty-first century

  • Période contemporaine

Les exploitations agricoles, de moins en moins nombreuses, deviennent de grandes propriétés où s'élèvent d'importants troupeaux de vaches laitières. Moulins, scieries, fruitières (y compris la dernière, celle de Rufieu, au 1er novembre 1991) et écoles de petits villages, disparaissent. Mais un centre de secours et un collège fonctionne à Artemare. Des établissements pour handicapés ont été fondés à Virieu-le-Petit et à Talissieu; ils accueillent aussi des personnes âgées.

Le tourisme se développe avec, entre autres, la station d'hiver et d'été des Plans d'Hotonnes, les pistes de ski du Petit et du Grand-Abergement, les campings de Champagne et d'Artemare (tous deux avec piscine) et de Songieu (avec un immeuble d'hébergement), le refuge de la " Grange d'en haut " à Brénaz. Le Grand Colombier, qui arbore sa troisième croix (alors que la première avait été dréssée il y a juste un siècle), est enjambé depuis deux décennies, par la plus haute route du département de l'Ain. A proximité, le Syndicat intercommunale du Colombier a installé une table d'orientation. Un musée a été créé en 1974 à Lochieu, par l'association "Sites et monuments du Valromey".

  • Anciennes communes formant Haut Valromey.

La création de la nouvelle commune de Haut Valromey, entérinée par l'arrêté du 29 septembre 2015, a entraîné la transformation de quatre anciennes communes (Le Grand-Abergement, Hotonnes, Le Petit-Abergement et Songieu) en « communes déléguées », opération entrée en vigueur le 1er janvier 2016. Avec une superficie de plus de 107 km2, la commune est la plus vaste du département de l'Ain.

  • Démographie

Le Valromey compte 17 communes (les 14 du canton de Champagne et 3 de celui de Brénod) . La population a atteint son chiffre culminant en 1841 avec 11.227 habitants, puis à régulièrement baissé jusqu'à 4.458 en 1975. Actuellement, cet exode rural d'un exemple typique, paraît avoir été stoppé dans l'ensemble, puisqu'on a dénombré 4.549 habitants en 1982 et 4.668 en 1990.

Le Valromey est maintenant composé de 15 communes qui font partie du canton d'Hauteville suite au nouveau découpage territorial de 2015.


The castle of Ruffieu in Bugey his Lords and their alliances. Armorial.

Recherches Historiques Sur Le Départment De L'Ain