Friday, 24 October 2014

Turning the clock back

Inside Zinal's 'Peasant-House' Museum
The villages of the Val d'Anniviers contain buildings dating back to the 16th century. Until 50 years ago life was lived in much the same way as it had been for hundreds of years. This film was shot in Zinal in 1967 but it could have been 200 years earlier.
Main living and sleeping room 
Part of the valley's charm lies in the old wooden buildings whose beams have been blackened by the weather over the years. Several houses in the valley have been preserved as museums and display collections of furniture, tools and photographs which show how life in the valley once was.
Cuttlery and wooden platters
Zinal's museum, pictured here, dates back to 1768. There's an outer store/workshop and kitchen area with steps that lead up to the main living room where the whole family slept in 3 truckle beds stacked one above the other by day. You can see daylight through some of the walls and even with the soapstone stove going, it must have been chilly in winter. You can imagine people living under those conditions in the middle ages but the fact that the last inhabitants lived here into the 1960s seems quite extraordinary.
Milking stools
Straw bonnet fixed to the mould awaiting final ribbon
Outside and downstairs is the cellar which was shared with the neighbour who lived above, and where the family stored their food and wine. Now it displays old photographs and a collection of agricultural tools.
Cooking corner
Tools, skis and workbench stand in the opposite corner to the hearth
Pebbles cover the floor of the 'cave' where more old tools are displayed 
Many thanks to l'Association des Amis du Vieux Zinal who look after  the 'Ancienne Maison d’Habitation, Musée'.  

In Vissoie and Ayer there are similar houses that can also be visited during the summer months: