A natural asset used for agriculture, the mountain pastures that visitors enjoy strolling through are the result of a long pastoral tradition. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 140 farmers in the commune of Montvalezan, and up until the 1960s, farming was the only way to make a living. In 1950, on average a family would own two cows, one heifer, one calf, two goats and ten sheep.
The breed of cattle most commonly seen in Montvalezan is the Tarine. This breed is particularly suited to the mountain conditions and can be recognised thanks to its tan-coloured coat and the clarine bell that it wears around its neck. Tarine cows are bred to produce milk, which is used to make Beaufort, a cheese that has held the Controlled Term of Origin certification since the decrees of 1969, 1976 and 1986.
Sheep breeding is also an important part of the commune’s farming activity, but again has greatly reduced in recent years. Similarly, there are only a handful of goat breeders left.
Today, there are more than ten active farmers in the commune (cattle, sheep and goats). Most of them supplement their income with a second, usually seasonal, job (often in tourism or in the development of the ski area). Farming has always played a vital role in preserving the harmony of the natural landscape, and should be supported so that it continues to enhance the touristic attractiveness of the area and encourages visitors to respect the environment.
Do not hesitate to go and talk to any farmers you see in the fields or high mountain pastures with their livestock. Passionate about the mountains and their heritage, they will be delighted to tell you about their daily life, the land and the local farming traditions.
Things to see and do
Aux Délices Fermiers
Take a look around Odile Fraissard’s shop in Les Eucherts. A goat breeder in Montvalezan (with a herd of 200 goats), she invites customers to sample a range of regional products, in particular her fresh goat’s cheese.
Beaufort Cooperative in Bourg Saint Maurice (23km)
Have you always wanted to know how Beaufort cheese is made? Visit the cheese factory free of charge, with informative panels and a video to help you understand the cheese-making process.
Open all year round, Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 11.30am.
Free guided tours in season only, on Friday mornings from 9.30am to 10.30am.
Z.A Les Colombières: +33 (0)4 79 07 08 28
Shop in La Rosière
(15-min. drive + 20-min. walk, each way)
This former alpine pasture has preserved its rustic charm, and is a great spot for a family picnic.
How to get there: From La Rosière, follow the RN 90 towards Bourg Saint-Maurice. After about 5km, turn left towards Le Châtelard. Park your car on the road outside and walk into the village. At the bottom of the hill, follow the signs up to the “chapelle”. From the hilltop, you can admire the beautiful St-Michel chapel and the stunning views of the valley below. Back down in the village itself, follow the dirt road towards Le Vaz (alt.: 1,450m). After the bridge, you will come out into a clearing, which has picnic tables set up around a wooden water trough (you can also walk to Le Vaz via the resort’s footpaths).