A campaign is gathering force to save popular and historical Val d’Isere restaurant La Grande Ourse from closure and potential demolition.
La Grande Ourse was the first dancing club built in resort in 1936 and the building is of such historical value it’s registered with the Ordre des Bâtiments de France for its unique appearance and Fautrier-style exterior.
Lise and Jean Master have run the restaurant for 13 years, and their family before them have run it since 1967. But their lease has expired and now owner Pierre Dumay has opted not to renew it – the speculation is that he could close the restaurant or replace the building with a new apartment block – according to an online petition set up by the Grande Ourse Association.
The petition urges Val d’Isere mayor Marc Bauer to act to save the building and preserve its heritage.
It says (translated from French): “Dear Mr. Mayor, La Grande Ourse is in great danger, and we need your help!
This restaurant is… an emblematic place of avalin heritage – one of the pioneer houses. Beautifully situated on the snow front, this is an institution where several generations have come together in a warm atmosphere. Yet if we do not act quickly, it is doomed to disappear, and in a matter of days!
Indeed, Lise and Jean Master, who run La Grande Ourse for 13 years now, and whose family had taken over management of the restaurant in 1967, saw their leases expire, and the owner, Mr. Pierre Dumay wants to simply close La Grande Ourse. Or perhaps even destroy it, probably to replace it with yet another real estate project.
We who love La Grande Ourse and Val d’Isere, so sensitive and attached to the charm of this historic place and all it represents, have decided to mobilise.
Thus, we would, Mr Mayor, officially request your support so that you help us to safeguard this symbolic site of our beautiful resort, so it stays this friendly place for many years.”
The petition has been signed by 400 people, who left comments such as:
“Save the culture of Val d’Isere!” Robyn Frean, London
“Its position on the front du neige is important and not the place for another faceless apartment block.” Sarah Carr, Boxted.
We’re waiting to hear what the mayor’s response is and whether he’ll step in, but it looks like time is of the essence for the campaign to save this place!