Chamonix: The dispute over the Lac Blanc refuge continues


On the 29th of May, we let you know that the Lac Blanc refuge will resume service mid-June, 2019.

However, today it is time for the Sage couple to take the floor and present their side of the story. 

Lac Blanc with the refuge in the background. Photo source:
Lac Blanc Refuge, photo by Guilhem Vellut, licensed under CC-BY 2.0, source


The popular Lac Blanc refuge has been the object of dispute between the SCI Montagne des Chéserys and Jean-Charles Sage since the end of 2017.

In 1986, following the destruction of the original Lac Blanc refuge, the owners (SCI Montagne des Chéserys) signed a construction lease with the manager, Jean-Charles Sage.

The contract stipulated that Jean-Charles Sage was to rebuild the shelter at his own expense and exploit it for thirty years.

After thirty years, the Lac Blanc refuge was to be returned to the owners, but Jean-Charles refused to leave.

Among the consequences of this dispute, the summer season of 2018 was compromised.

The Sage couple share their side of the story today

It is a "story that disturbs us enormously. What happens is not normal, "says Bernadette Sage, Jean-Charles's wife.

The Sages have lived most of their lives in the Lac Blanc refuge. 

They were expulsed last year after the judge decreed so.

According to the Sage spouses, the contract signed in 1987 is the problem. "At the time, we signed with a consort assembly. Today, it has become an SCI, "notes Bernadette Sage.

SCI Montagne des Chéserys declared in 2017 that the contract stipulated that the Sages were to build the new Lac Blanc refuge at their own expense. The construction expenses would return to the Sages via the commercial exploitation of the place for 30 years.

The Sages denied they signed a construction lease

Instead, they are arguing that they signed a concession contract, and the documents at the time seem to support their version.

"Justice has still not decided on the nature of the contract," says Bernadette Sage.

And if the court rules that the Sages are right and the contract was indeed a concession one, SCI would not be able to operate the business for five years. Furthermore, they should also compensate the Sages for the construction works, nearly 750 000 euros.

"We can only trust justice," declares Bernadette Sage.

Le Dauphine

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