• LOCATION 16 | Cowbells, Chalets and Balthus: A Swiss Alpine Village Excursion

    Oak Tree

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

    Stop here for a moment in front of the large oak tree.

    From here you can get a good view over the valley. If you look up to your right, you can make out one of the alpine dairies on the top of the mountains. This is located in an alpine pasture where cows are led in the summer months.

    You can also see the Vernet lake. The Sarine river is dammed at this point and powers a hydro-electric station that generates electricity for some 11,000 houses.

    If you look down to your left, you have a good view of the shingle roof on top of the pastor’s house.

    Two types of wooden shingles are used in the Pays-d’Enhaut. Long shingles are laid side by side on flatter roof slopes; shorter shingles are nailed horizontally on steeper roofs. Long shingles were originally held in place by slats and stones. Nails were only used from the 1800s onwards. In high winds, slats and stones would be insufficient to hold the singles and they could fly off. Homeowners would mark the underside of their own singles with their initials or a specific number so when they were found they could be returned to their rightful owner.

    Have a look at the chimney on the house directly below. Chimneys often took up three-quarters of the ceiling in a house. These were immense wooden columns tapering at the top to vent smoke from the kitchen. A cover could be lowered from inside the house in bad weather or raised to increase ventilation if required in good weather. It could also be used as a sundial.

    Walk back to the entrance door of the church. Take the stone stairs leading downhill. And follow the road until you reach the pedestrian crossing.

Cowbells, Chalets and Balthus: A Swiss Alpine Village Excursion