Chamoson and Wallis.
is maybe a evidence for the swiss people, is a little less evident
for the others, then when I talk to some people over here in
“Normandie”, about “Wallis” I could be
talking about a place on the Moon.
No, “Wallis” is not on the Moon, it is the
light colored region on the map shown aside making up an big 'L', and
goes from the source of the river “Le Rhône”
up to the lake of Geneva, or “Lac Léman”
for the Swiss.
The village Chamoson is somewhere in the circle
on the map, which comes by the way from an excellent French web
on which you can find maps of towns and road and distance
Wallis has besides an important tourist activity, as
main activity agriculture and wine production. But you
can also find important industrial activities higher up into the
valley. Wallis is also a very big electricity producer,
there are a lot of hydro-electric power plants in Wallis, from which
the most impressive one is the “Grande Dixance”,
who is big enough to bury the Eiffel-Tower in the concrete up to the
most upper floor so that only the antenna on the roof would stick
image shown aside displays about the region inside the circle of the
map shown above. You will find here the village Chamoson
with the surrounding villages Ardon, Leytron and
You could find (and still can of course) the house I did
buy on the end of the road marked in an area called Les Vérines,
underlined in red here aside.
Chamoson is a community who lives mainly from wine
fields and associated activities, nearly all the inhabitants do have
their own piece of wine-field. Most of the final
treatment however, is done by the co-operative cellarage company
but there are a lot of independent cellar owners who do the cellarage
Chamoson has also a very important tourist activity,and
that higher up in the mountain, in an area called Les Mayens,
near to municipality of Ovronnaz, who has a skiing area in the
near. The area of Mayens de Chamoson is an ideal
place for people who like mountain hike in the summer and ski
(walking) in the winter. For more information on
or on Wallis,
click on the hyperlinks.
we are, finally I could start to finish of the inside of the house,
in other words, from 1975 to 1979. During this period I
went regularly to see my architect Gaillard, who was looking
after it and doing the follow-up of the work done.
When I went to see him, he picked me generally up at the
“Chamoson - Saint Pierre des Clages”, railway
station or sometimes to from Sion, because I did not have a
car yet at that time, what has come a lot later.
When time passed by, a friendship has build up between
me and the couple Gaillard and their two suns. I
came very often with Gaillard to see the houses under
construction he took care of, see the constructors and see other
has been this way that I started to know plenty of people in
Chamoson, even before I started living there.
Ok for the moment, we had to find lots of things, chose
the floor coverage, find a complete kitchen at a reasonable price,
get an open fire place installed. Even when an open fire
place looks nice, it does not heat very much, and therefore we needed
electric heating, which has been installed for this purpose.
By chance that the municipality of Chamoson was
installing waste-pipes that moment, even then when the installing
company had sent a rather heavy bill, we had to do with it, we had no
The other advantage of those works were, was that the
Swiss telephone company did use this to pull in new phone lines.
Increasing the number of possible connections on the Vérines
from less than half a dozen to a largely sufficient number.
I did reserve a phone number that time, but the phone itself has been
installed later when the house was finally finished.
The beginning, “Jean-Louis” and “La
Once the whole thing finished, there was of course
nothing in it, completely empty. The moment has come
that I had to get furniture in, tables, chairs, some cabinets and
obviously a bed ! But in the beginning I did not have
any, no bed, no table or chairs, nothing, it was during the first
week-ends that I passed each time by an Swedish dis-mountable
furniture manufacturer to pick-up as much as possible.
Unfortunately I had to travel several times because of to volume.
It is during the first week-ends I came only Saturdays,
in order to mount the stuff, do some painting and other things, and
went back home in the evening.
was this way that my first meeting point was at the place of
Jean-Louis et Adeline, the couple running the “Café
au Lion D'Or” in the village “Grugnay”,
just a little higher up then Chamoson.
This picture shows Jean-Louis as retired man
having an job at a park to look after the parking lot.
Those two people did help me a lot to integrate with the
others, and it was good to be able to talk to someone, especially
when my knowledge of Molière's language was not that what it
is today, this because at the site of C.E.R.N.,
where I used mainly English and some German.
In fact, it has been the periods in Cointrin - « 33 »
and at the beginning in Chamoson, which have largely
contributed in improving my knowledge of Molière's language.
After having reasonably furnished my house, I could stay
there the week-ends and started to go frequently to other places.
One of them was (and is still there of course) an open-air Restaurant
called « La
Colline Aux Oiseaux », which was at that time only
open from April first until November first. And
when my information is correct, they should now be open all year now.
As single, I did make myself rarely to eat, I went
rather down to the village to get my dinner at Jean-Louis place,
la Colline, or at place called Saint-André,
meeting point of the youth of Chamoson. Then as
anyone knows, you will not make friends nor do you get to know anyone
when you stay closed up at home and watch TV.
Digging snow and then to work.
Yes it was after I had accepted a job as system analyst
at the site of l'E.P.F.L.
in Lausanne, that I started to live in my house more and more
frequently, and I finally finished up living there permanently.
had on the other hand some inconveniences, because in the mountains
when it snows it really snows, that means that you can count rather
decimeters instead of centimeters.
And in those years it was for sure that I would have several
centimeters of snow in the morning starting half December onwards.
This usually when I wanted to catch the train in Martigny or
Saint-Pierre-des-Clages to go to work in Lausanne.
What anyone needed up there was a big snow-shovel, good
shoes, and 4 wheel driven car. In the little models of 4
wheel driven cars we had the choice between Subaru, Subaru and
Subaru. Anyway I could at least choose the color.
course writing this lines is a joke, then there were other models of
4 wheel driven cars available, even French models, however the choice
for entry level models was limited to the one mentioned above.
It was not always fun in the morning, just before
leaving, because very often I had to take courage and my snow-shovel,
try to free the car, and then try to descend hoping that I would not
cross the two guys with their snow engines busy to clean up the road.
This picture on the right shows how the mornings might
sometimes look like, so nothing left than take courage and you
snow-shovel before you can leave. The road was usually
kept clean by the Chamoson municipality and did not give any
major problem, provided that you would not leave to early in the
The Chamoson municipality used two big tractors
with snow-shovels on it to do the job in the area where I used to
live. And for the road leading up to Les Mayens de
Chamoson, they used to use a special modified truck.
In the beginning I have wondered why they rarely used
salt to treat the road, but one could remind that that this was not
only because of the environment, but also that salt has no effect
what so ever as of than 5° C freezing (+/- 22° F) and more.
There is in fact a risk that the problem gets even
worst, they used fine gravel instead.
Favorite meeting points.
Of course that I used to know more people as time passed
by as the ones I met at Jean-Louis and his wife Adeline's
place. They already retired for some time anyway and
handed the place (Au Lion D'Or) over to Rose et Roger, with
whom I became quickly friends.
You should not get the impression that I did nothing but
going out, because I cannot write about evenings I sat at home and
watched TV, that's no fun. No, better write about the
times called “apéro” and the week-ends,
when the people had a little more time for them self and could go
out. Besides the fact that the people of “Wallis”
tended and probably still do, more than others to meet in public
areas. It was in that time not rare that someone would
pick up his accordion or his harmonica and create some atmosphere.
But that was usually only the week-ends, then at week-days it was
rather “Boulot - Apéro - Dodo” (read: work
- a quick drink - and then to bed).
a little souvenir of a place where I frequently came that time.
Then I came there one day with a friend, just to have a drink, and
there was a good atmosphere, and the result was that I continued to
go there. The lighter was a new year present that
Fabienne, the girl who was running the “Pierrot”,
gave to all her regular customers.
Anyway I do not smoke, and with the few times a did have
to light my fire place, I did not have any risk on emptying this
thing, so it ended up in a box with souvenirs.
after time passed by, this lighter has become the memory of all the
good time I have spent there at the “Pierrot”,
with the (always the same) pinball players, for my part I was unable
to play correctly this thing, then for me the ball goes always there
where it should not go.
NOTE: The French word for pinball is flipper,
which nothing to do with this dolphin TV series !
I went of course frequently to other places, for example
“Buffet de Gare” in “Saint-Pierre-Des-Clages”,
this is very obvious, then a Buffet de gare is there where can
wait for the train, then in order to go to Lausanne I had to take the
train either in a while in “Saint-Pierre-Des-Clages”,
or in Martigny. But so once in a while I did just
go to “Buffet de Gare” to get one of those
excellent cheese fondues of “Marie-Jo”, who was
running the place, used to make.
Obviously when getting back from work, I did stop on the
way up sometimes at Rita et Jo's place, a couple of my age who
had taken over the place from their mother. It was good
be able to talk about anything but work, and specially when just
coming back from work. Then we are not at work twenty
four hours a day, then staying with colleagues from work, you will
finish of talking work.
Finally I hope that all of them and all places who
haven't been mentioned, do not become displeased, then after 15 years
I have know so many people and places that this page would have been
to long. Anyway I will never forget my neighbors
in Vérines and all the friends over there. I
could unfortunately not include more pictures in this page, then I do
not have them.
It has been at one this so called “apéro“
meetings that I came across my Vérines neighbor
Simon, who is a carpenter and farmer in his spare time, with
two others. It was by talking about anything that we
found that we were all of the same year, 1945, and so came that one
of them, I believe that i was Simon, asked me why I haven't
been coming at the meetings. So I have got as answer on
my question “Which meetings ?” “Of
course, the Chamoson Class 45 meetings”. In
fact it is usual, at least in the “Wallis” part where I
used to live, that the inhabitants of a village having the same age
meet once or twice a year to go out or have a dinner.
This was an offer I could not refuse, and this way I became part of
“Class 45” of Chamoson, and thereafter I
have gone out frequently with them, sometime with a bus up to into
This type of meetings existed in the past in order that
class mates could meet after having left school. But as
today this meetings have become meetings of inhabitants of the same
age, both boys and girls. However spouses or boy and
girlfriends where not allowed to come unless they were from the same
village and the same age.
It was was when I have sold my
« Vérines de Chamoson »
that my day here have ended.
Some important events of those days (1986 - 1995).
The Berlin wall.
The end of U.S.S.R.
The golf war.
The Oslo peace talks.
The Palestinians have their own piece of land.
Yitzak Rabin has been
To know more about:
Colline aux Oiseaux
Click on the links.