Come on a walk and discover the little village of Rossiniere in the beautiful "Pays d'Enhaut", the highland region of the Swiss Alps.
You’ll visit the Grand Chalet. It’s one of the largest chalets in Switzerland and used to be home to the famous painter Balthus. You'll learn about the history and customs of this dairy farming and cheese-making region. You’ll discover how society here changed as control passed from the Catholic Counts of Gruyere to the Protestant Lords of Bern and finally to the independent French-speaking Canton of Vaud. You’ll also visit some of the oldest wooden chalets in Switzerland and learn how they were hand-built by skilled craftsmen.
At the heart of the story is the impact that the 19th-century Romantics had on tourism, and the way they changed popular perceptions of the Alps. They used to be considered no-go areas, inhabited by dragons and evil spirits, but to the Romantics, they were a majestic area of unspoiled beauty, and a source of health and wellbeing that was in striking contrast to the industrialized and polluted cities of Europe. It was because of their influence that tourism here began to flourish from the 1850s and this new industry played an important role in Switzerland’s development and prosperity.
The landmarks along the way include:
• The Grand Chalet with its 60 rooms and 113 windows that was built by a former cheese baron in 1756
• Maison de la Place, which was built in 1664 and is a wonderful example of the architecture of the time
• A Romanesque church dating from 1316 that is the earliest recorded building in Rossinière
• The Town Hall and Village Square, which were both destroyed by a fire in 1855 and rebuilt with traditional stone houses
• The Balthus Chapel, a former Protestant church that is now an information centre for the Balthus Foundation