Gisele Helle : The Last Word

Publication date 13 July 2022,
The memory of the past inspires the future. This is how Gisèle sees her mission as a heritage guide. We gave her a free hand to journey back in time with stories about the village's history.
Let's start with a pioneer: Arthur Périllat. He opened his first high-altitude hotel-restaurant with his four brothers on the Crêt du Merle in 1947. They went up in US Army six-wheel-drive GMC trucks. On board, the passengers stood close together for an expedition along a very steep track. 

In 1935, Arthur won the Mont Blanc Federation competition in Megève. He skied there in 7 hours via the Col des Aravis, with a rucksack and two pairs of skis on his shoulders, one for jumping and the other for descents. They kept track of times with the church clock.


Talking of which, you can see the cock on the spire of our church. It is quite a recent addition, since at the Liberation, the jubilant Resistance soldiers started firing into the air, filling the unfortunate cock with bullets. A few dozen years later, the cock was dismantled to be taken to the rubbish dump, but was saved at the last minute. The cock is now carefully preserved as a collector's item. It is filled with history.

History... and stories. In the past, in winter, the inhabitants of a village would spend the evenings together. The men played a card game, tarot, while the women knitted or embroidered as they talked. At about 11 o'clock, the evening party broke up, since work would begin at 5 o'clock the next morning. People went home, saying: A d’man! ("See you tomorrow!")

During evenings spent with family or friends, people would recount legends told by ancestors, sing and eat Savoie cakes and drink local moonshine. At Christmas, women would make "rissoles", square pastries filled with pear or apple puree and sometimes with raisins. 


 

Si les veillées étaient l’occasion d’échanger des nouvelles et des potins, elles permettaient aussi aux jeunes de se rencontrer. Ils affluaient avertis par le bouche-à-oreille, surtout dans les familles ayant plusieurs jeunes filles à marier. Ce type de veillée était appelé un « bon coup ». C’était le Tinder de l’époque !

Les jeunes dansaient en tapant le sol avec leurs « socs », mot patois désignant les sabots. Irritées par le bruit, les mères disaient : « Arrête de socaler ». C’est l’origine du groupe folklorique Lou Socali, créé dans les années 70 à La Clusaz. Au son de l’accordéon et du violon, des musiques savoyardes accompagnent les danses. Les hommes portent des blouses et des chapeaux de feutre ; les femmes de magnifiques robes ou des jupes, des tabliers et des châles brodés. Les demoiselles portent une coiffe blanche, les femmes mariées une coiffe noire.

Il y aurait tellement d’histoires à raconter… Pour moi, s’intéresser au patrimoine n’est pas un comportement passéiste, mais une manière de mieux comprendre sa place dans le présent pour construire l’avenir. La Clusaz a le privilège d’être bien plus qu’une station de ski : elle est d’abord un village avec un passé, un environnement exceptionnel et une architecture traditionnelle. Conserver et exploiter cette richesse est primordial, encore plus aujourd’hui où tout s’accélère et se bouscule. 


 

We also suggest

From Thursday 07 July to Thursday 15 September 2022

Thursday

09:45 to 12:00

Visit the village with our heritage guides to discover the history of our ski resort, its traditions and church

From Saturday 02 July to Saturday 03 September 2022

Enjoy the calm of the mountains, far from your daily bustle and share these unique moments with your family.