The military camp is located within the commune of Viriville and straddles the Drôme and Isère departments. It is situated on the Chambaran plateau, which lies between the Rhône valley and the Alpine foothills.

carto chambaran
Military activities

Photos Chambaran 1

The Chambaran camp was acquired by the French government in 1882 and was allocated to the Ministry of Defence. In the early 20th century it acted as an experimental site for the 75 mm field gun. Thousands of shells were fired at the site, causing extensive pyrotechnical pollution.

It is now an instruction and training facility managed by the 7th Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins. The camp is regularly used by French Army units (initial training and operational training), as well as the local and national police and the fire service.

It is equipped with shooting ranges for light infantry weapons, as well as rockets, drones, grenades, mortars and explosives.

It also features:

  • different combat zones and locations (command posts, helicopter landing zones, combat zones and villages, etc.)
  • classrooms and a lecture hall
  • sports facilities (gym, orienteering course, obstacle courses)
  • a former amphibious crossing (lake with equipped banks and roll-on roll-off course)
  • extensive accommodation capacity (indoor accommodation, an equipped bivouac, catering)

The site is heavily used by military personnel.


Environmental importance of the site

Photos Chambaran 4

The Chambaran camp has two important features:

  • a geological substrate that is unique in the French Alps, with quartzite clay that produces extremely poor-quality soil with varying levels of acidity and covered perched aquifers
  • a specific geographical location, at the limit of the Atlantic zone of influence


As a result, the site is home to several rare plant species. Atlantic species take root in the meadows, wetlands and cool valleys, while mountain-dwelling species find refuge at low altitude.
Excluding the built section of the camp, Chambaran (2,994 acres) is part of the Natura 2000 network (Habitats Directive).
The shooting range, in the central zone of the camp, mainly consists of moor grass meadows, wooded peat bogs and heather heathlands. It is surrounded by a strip of forest covering 2,004 acres, comprising oak (52%), birch (18%), beech (14%), various deciduous species (ash, wild cherry and alder) (9%) and Corsican pine (7%). This forest zone houses the military camp's eight lakes (a chain of five lakes to the north, two lakes to the south and one to the west).

pdfDownload the map of natural habitats of community and priority importance produced as part of the Natura 2000 Site Objective Document.