In the 18th century, the famous Genevan writer and solitary walker, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, was inspired by the smiling and rural landscapes of the Abondance Valley, to idealize the nature and romanticism depicted in his novel "Julie ou La Nouvelle Héloïse ".
Indeed, in these peaceful mountains of Haut-Chablais, the luxuriant nature is enchanting and the 360° panorama is incomparable. It is an exceptional and favorite territory, of beauty and memory, a small world in itself which extends from the southern shores of Lake Geneva to the prestigious peaks of the high valleys of Chablais. It is extraordinary and fascinating in contrasts where the majesty of the peaks rivals in splendor with the discretion of the alpine lakes.
Châtel is nestled there, at an altitude of 1200 m, at the top of this authentic and preserved Abondance Valley, on the Franco-Swiss border.
It is a traditional Alpine Savoyard village, clinging like an amphitheater to the mountainside and which offers its visitors a veritable pastoral symphony, with its typical chalets studded with flowers in summer and capped with sparkling snow in winter.
The Vallée d'Abondance, its setting, can be considered the most beautiful of the valleys of the Savoyard Alps. It is made up of six pretty authentic villages. It extends over 25 km from the Hauts d'Evian-les-Bains to the gates of Valais Switzerland. Often compared to the bucolic valleys of the Austrian Tyrol, it is today classified and labeled in more than one way :
- "Land of Art and History" for its exceptionally rich cultural and architectural heritage,
- "Chablais Unesco World Geopark" for its historical and landscape geological heritage of international importance,
- "Natura 2000 Europe" for its natural space identified for the rarity and fragility of the wild, animal or plant species it shelters. The ecosystem of the three major and emblematic mountain ranges on its territory (Mont-de-Grange, Cornettes-de-Bise and Dent-d'Oche), contributes to the remarkable biodiversity of this distinction.
Due to its history over the past centuries, the Vallée d'Abondance is a singular and atypical country. Originally, its destiny was closely linked to the material and spiritual power of its radiant Abbey, attested by the large number of its possessions throughout the Kingdom of Savoy (Jura, cantons of Vaud and Valais included). Until the French Revolution, this valley lost in the mountains and isolated from the main transalpine roads, was considered a self-sufficient ecclesiastical lordship. Its prosperity was insolent and like a true original Alpine republic in the heart of the Kingdom of Savoy, it freed itself from all feudalism. Facing their Suzerain Abbot, their Lord and facing the Duke of Savoy, their Sovereign, the inhabitants of the Vallée d'Abondance have always been free, benefiting from privileges negotiated with each other. Thus, the great writer and historian Francis Wey, underlined in his writings the cultivated intelligence, the lively spirit and the biting humor of the inhabitants of this valley blessed by the gods!
The Savoyard village of Châtel is therefore endowed with particularly interesting assets for all its visitors. Moreover, it is ideally well positioned in the heart of a major tourist region, between lake and mountain, at the crossroads of three countries and close to known places to visit. Check them out here :