My parents bought a very old and rustic farm in Les Plans near Saint-Nicolas de Véroce, a small village in Haute-Savoie. They bought it from a poor farmer who just died.
Back then, les Plans were a small hamlet with few farms, a small chapel and a school.
In each village and hamlet, there was a wood-fired oven where families baked their bread once a month.
People and the animals lived on the first floor of the house. This floor was sometimes partly buried. The second floor was a barn where the hay was stored. The farm next door was exactly the same as ours. They were farmers with 4 children. They used to have 3 cows, few chickens and a mule. I remember very well going there when I was a little girl to get some milk that we needed to boil before drinking. They also made the famous Alpine cheese, the Tomme.
In Haute-Savoie, the cows stay in a stable during winter. At summer time, the farmers used to go with their cows in a house further up where they stayed during all the season. It was there that they made hay for the winter. By then, they cut it by hand, helped by the mule.
Today, the cows are still in the meadows during summer, but the summer houses aren’t used anymore. A lot of them have been sold and became the residence of locals or tourists.
The region became more and more touristic. The first chair lift opened in 1970. Now, there are more than 400 Km of ski trails and almost 110 ski lifts.