2 days to discover the heritage gems of the Annecy Mountains, amazing and iconic places, some of which are generally closed to the public.
Built in 1818, the Maison de la Valérie is a traditional house where reserve collections containing over 3,000 ancient day-to-day items are stored for the heritage museum, the Maison du Patrimoine du Grand-Bornand. Only 10% of these items are on display at the Maison du Patrimoine. The rest of the collection is kept safe and sound in this reserve which is opening to the public exclusively for the Heritage Days. Arriving visitors are greeted by volunteers from the Association du Patrimoine Bornandin, who propose guided tours and bespoke visits to provide answers to all your questions. On the Saturday, you can linger downstairs to meet Didier the saddler, a craftsman who is also set on keeping the tradition alive. These visits are of course free of charge, a unique opportunity to chat with the experts and learn about local heritage that deserves to be passed on!
During these 2 days you can visit free of charge the beautiful Hameau des Alpes, a traditional house where you’ll find out how skiing has evolved over the last century and unveil all the secrets of Reblochon cheese. The visit now includes a new, small granary where ancient tools are kept. On the Sunday only, volunteers from the Association Patrimoine et Tradition will breathe new life into ancient crafts, with demonstrations of a water-powered sawmill (if the level of the Nom river allows) and visits to the hunters’ granary (usually closed) which contains a number of stuffed animals from the mountains. You’ll also have a chance to buy bread and “bescoin” (local brioche), freshly-baked in the hamlet’s communal oven!
At 2.30pm on the Saturday and 9am on the Sunday, you’ll be able to visit the medieval village of Alby-sur-Chéran in the company of a guide who will tell you all about the village’s history as you’re led through the winding streets, passing beneath the arches of the colourful facades and along the banks of the Chéran. Families with children can sign up for a treasure hunt organised specially for the event, to follow an activity leader in costume through the medieval village in search of the missing pieces to Lord Montpon’s coat of arms. Another activity workshop will also be organised. Surprise!
Over these 2 days you can also take a free, unguided tour of the cobblers’ museum in the heart of the old village. There you’ll learn about the importance of this ancient craft which was the village’s main resource for several centuries. A guided tour of the Blanchet candle factory will plunge you into the unique setting of an 1870 workshop left in its original state after operating for 3 generations. Beeswax, paraffin, old copper cauldrons, suspended cotton candlewicks and ancient tools all contribute to the strange and magical atmosphere!
A number of exhibitions also await you at the Saint-Maurice chapel and in the display cases along Route de Plaimpalais.
On Saturday 17th, you can follow Dalila and Alain on a plunge into the history of Verthier, one of the oldest villages in Doussard and a source of inspiration for painters Prosper Dunant and Firmin Salabert. A fabulous journey into a village’s art and history! On Sunday 18th in Faverges, do not miss this unique chance to visit the usually-closed Gallo-Roman site of Le Thovey, a vast, 1-hectare suburban villa set separately from the Vicus de Casuaria. Let the Heritage Guides take you back in time! And during the 2 days, in Viuz, the Neo-Gothic chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, AKA Notre-Dame-des-Vignes or Notre-Dame de la Balmette, opens its doors for 2 tours with commentary. Plenty to look forward to!