Stage town for the second time Mountain resort in Haute-Savoie (74)
Population: 1,250 (Châtellans and Châtellanes), 850,000 in Haute-Savoie
Specialities: Potato fritters, Polenta, cabbage sausage, diots in white wine, fondue, raclette, rissoles, apple Matafan (apple turnover cooked in a pan), fish from Lake Geneva (féra, perch, arctic char, trout), cheeses (AOC Abondance, vacherin, tomme and raclette), Berthoud (a dish made from Abondance cheese and white wine)
Personalities: Françoise Macchi (alpine skiing, bronze medal at the world giant slalom championships in 1970), Benjamin Cavet (freestyle skiing, silver medal at the world championships in 2017 and 2021), Virginie Faivre (half pipe, triple world champion, then president of the organising committee of the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne).
Sport: summer and winter tourism. Events: Châtel Chablais Léman Race (Grand Fondo), Châtel Mountain Styles (mountain bike), 1st edition of the Rando e-bike in 2022.
Economy: tourism, agriculture.
Festivals: Rock the pistes (pop rock music), Neiges Étoilées (international gastronomy festival), Belle Dimanche (mountain pasture festival), Châtel Classic (music).
Signature: Châtel, the intensity of nature
Labels: Tour de France 3-bike town / Accueil Vélo / Ringing town (53 bells on 5 buildings) / Quality Tourism / UNESCO Chablais World Geopark site
Websites: www.chatel.com / www.mairie-chatel.com / www.hautesavoie.fr / www.savoie-mont-blanc.com / www.portesdusoleil.com / @ChatelOfficial / @chatel_officiel/twitter / https://www.instagram.com/chatel_officiel/?hl=fr / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/Departement.de.la.Haute.Savoie/ / https://twitter.com/dep_74?lang=fr / Instagram.com/hautesavoie-dep74 / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/savoiemontblancFR/ / @SavoieMontBlanc / https://www.instagram.com/savoiemontblanc/channel/?hl=fr / https://m.facebook.com/lesportesdusoleil/?locale2=fr_FR / https://twitter.com/pds_officiel?lang=fr / https://www.instagram.com/portesdusoleil/?hl=fr
CHÂTEL, A STORY
From the end of the 19th century, and the attempt to launch thermal tourism, to the resort at the heart of a large, connected Franco-Swiss ski area, the history of Châtel is told in the book Châtel, sur les pas des pionniers... (Châtel, on the footsteps of pioneers) abundantly documented and illustrated, in two volumes, by Eric Dresco, village doctor and great collector of documents and objects from Châtel. Before becoming a playground for winter sports enthusiasts, the Portes du Soleil region was the scene of incessant smuggling between France and Switzerland from the 18th century until the 1950s. Initially, it was salt that was smuggled across the border, followed by sugar, coffee, chocolate, tobacco and even cowbells. Smuggling is an integral part of the local history, told in a playful and interactive way at the Interpretation Centre of Smuggling in the Mountains. The summer season has also developed significantly with a range of facilities and activities as well as major events. The 1970s saw a boom in property development, but the resort retained its village feel. The holidaymakers have diversified, coming from the North, East and South of Europe... The Châtellans, about 30 families, are mainly working in agriculture with several hundred cattle of the Abondance breed, which celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2011 and produces the famous Abondance cheese (AOC/AOP since 1990).
CHÂTEL AND CYCLING
The Tour stopped in Châtel in 1975 for a mountain stage won by Lucien Van Impe, who did not put the Yellow Jersey of Bernard Thévenet at threat. Much later on the Critérium du Dauphiné, the final stage in 2012 was won in Châtel by Dani Moreno, while Bradley Wiggins successfully defended his GC. The following year, the Tour de l'Avenir brought together young riders for two stage starts, won respectively by the promising Simon Yates in Morzine and Julian Alaphilippe on the Plateau des Glières. In the 2010 Tour de Romandie, it was Slovenian Simon Spilak who won the stage
Châtel ski area
The Châtel ski area covers two massifs: Super-Châtel / Barbossine and Linga / Pré la Joux / Plaine Dranse. These two sectors are linked by the Portes du Soleil and Gabelou chairlifts. There are 45 runs and 41 lifts. In the Super-Châtel sector, ideal for beginners with its many green and blue runs, there is also a snowpark, a DVA park and a speed run. This sector is directly linked to the Swiss resorts of Morgins and Torgon. From Torgon you can then reach the ski area of La Chapelle d'Abondance. The Linga / Pré la Joux / Plaine Dranse sector will delight intermediate and advanced skiers with its many long red and black runs. This sector is directly linked to the Avoriaz ski area.
Old customs house of Châtel
The old customs house in Châtel is now a museum that offers a new perspective on the border area between France and Switzerland. Here you can discover the game that smugglers and gabelous (bootleggers) played in the mountains of the Portes du Soleil before the advent of winter sports. Thanks to numerous testimonies and a richly documented and illustrated exhibition, the Vieille Douane reconstructs a picturesque world full of surprises.
Little train of Châtel
The little train offers a complete tour of the village of Châtel, its streets, its majestic chalets with their preserved mountain architecture... The visit takes the passenger through the hamlets of the village and the preserved architectural ensemble listed by Abondance Valley Land of Art and History.
Montriond dam and lake
Location: Dam lake on the Dranse de Montriond river
Surface area: 0.32 km2.
History: The 3rd largest lake in Haute-Savoie is also a site of the Chablais Geopark. Lake Vonnes Created in 1974, on a natural wetland, it is fed by the Vonnes stream from the Pas de Morgins (Switzerland). A water jet was put into service in July 2000, it rises to a height of 40 metres. Located at an altitude of 1,300 m, it is the highest water jet in France.
Frontier ars sonora a musical sculpture
The commune of Châtel has acquired an ars sonora, i.e. a musical sculpture for which bells are the raw material, from the Haute-Savoie company Paccard in Annecy. It is made up of 26 bells distributed over 2 sets, echoing the history of the village marked by its proximity to Switzerland, the separation between the two symbolising the border between the two countries and making it an exclusive concept of musical sculpture
Abondance is a French raw milk cheese made in the Haute-Savoie region of France, which has a protected designation of origin. This pressed cooked cheese is made exclusively from raw cow's milk produced in the department. It shares its name with the valley where it is made, the Abondance valley, where Châtel is located, and the breed of cattle that gives it its milk, the abondance. Its nutty taste makes it appreciated as is or melted into many cooked dishes. It is best eaten from June to December. Oral tradition from Haute-Savoie reports that in 1381 the monks of the Abondance Abbey sent fifteen quintals of the eponymous cheese to the Avignon conclave, which was responsible for electing a pope. In fact, in 1378, the year of the Great Western Schism, two conclaves were held: one in Rome which elected Urban VI, the other in Avignon which consecrated Clement VII. It was certainly the latter who tasted Abondance and made it popular.