Traditional Alpine Descent — Charmey, FR

© anne kohler
Saturday, 23 September

Hundreds of thousands of Swiss cows, sheep, goats, and other animals spend their summer in the Swiss Alps to graze on the rich and tasty grasses and wildflowers of the alpine pastures. The special tasting milk that is produced is then processed into aromatic cheeses and other dairy products. With the beginning of fall and the colder weather, the animals descend from the mountains to their winter quarters. In many communities, this alpine descent is still celebrated with very traditional and picturesque festivals.
At this “Désalpe,” as it is called in the French-speaking regions, the animals will arrive in town from 9:00–14:00; if you want to accompany some of them or go for a hike, the cable car above Charmey is open from 10:00–17:45. This well-known festival also includes a large farmers’ and artisan market from 9:00, as well as a special cheese market with cheese-making demonstrations, and entertainment throughout the day.
Be sure to confirm the dates before you head out as sometimes festivals or at least the descent of the animals may have to be cancelled or changed on the basis of weather or the availability of feedstock.
There is only very limited parking in Charmey itself; you can park in nearby Broc, from where shuttle busses run to Charmey from 8:00.
This event is free of charge.


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