Rossinière audio tour: Cowbells, Chalets and Balthus: A Swiss Alpine Village Excursion

Cowbells, Chalets and Balthus: A Swiss Alpine Village Excursion

Walking Tour

60 mins

About the Tour

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

Tour Producer


Tourist Office, Pays-d'Enhaut

Tourist Office of the Pays d'Enhaut region of the Swiss Alps. Includes the villages of Rossinière, Château d'oex and Rougemont

Major Landmarks

  • Grand Chalet

  • Maison de la Place

  • Rossinière Church

  • Balthus Chapel

Directions to Starting Point

This tour starts from the Rossinière railway station. You can reach this by rail or by car. Parking is available at the station.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Hotel de Ville for lunch or coffee. Chez Cali to buy local products. Balthus Chapel to learn more about this exceptional artist.

Best time of day

Best to visit between 10 a.m and 18 p.m. when the Balthus Chapel is open to the public.


The village is safe, but keep an eye out for any traffic.


The tour is excellent and gives an insight into the alpine village.

Posted by Mihir Mahagaonkar , 6 months ago

A very interesting tour. I did it remotely and the photos were very helpful and it would encourage me to visit sometime in the future.

Posted by Patrick , about 1 year ago
Cowbells, Chalets and Balthus: A Swiss Alpine Village Excursion