Category Archives: Events

Queen of the Alps, black beauties!


alpage de BalmeYou think it’s strange that cows should fight, and indeed most cows don’t,  but the Hérens breed are unique!

Hérens is the name of a valley in the Valais Alps of Switzerland from whence these cows originate. They are robust, stocky, with solid horns, a majestic port and a fine eye. The particularity of these cows is that they fight to establish a hierarchy within the herd.

Traditionally, most families had a handful of cows, that grazed communally, in herds of 60 or more heads, the alpine pastures during the summer. Hence, after the long winter months, when the cows left the stable for their spring and summer grazing,  it was time for some serious head butting to establish who was boss.

This cow fighting is clearly a battle of wills and weight as the animals lock their horns and foreheads together and push with all their might!  The battles can last anything from 5 seconds to half an hour or more. Finally, the weaker of the two will admit defeat and beat a retreat. Some cows don’t engage in the fighting – not everybody wants to be the boss!  The young heifers are usually very feisty and they and enjoy a bit of tussling between themselves, but needless to say, they will not contemplate taking on the heavy weights! It is very rare that the cows hurt each other, and if they do, it is only superficiel.

The first battles were organised in the Chamonix Valley in 1917 and they took place on the Col de Balme. The Hauts Savoyards invited their Swiss neighbours to a challenge. At the time there were around 250 cows grazing the pastures above le Tour and the majority of the cows were the black Hérens. Across the border, on the other side of the Cold de Balme were 3 thriving Swiss herds, just as keen as the Hauts Savoyards to throw down the gauntlet!  This was to be the beginning of many battles because the “Chamoniards” were as passionate about the Hérens race as the Swiss were.

Today, a handful of breeders maintain this tradition in the Mont-Blanc region. The Combat des Reines takes place at the end of September every year and rotates between Argentière (Le Tour), Servoz, Les Houches and Les Contamines.

On 22 September 2013 at Le Tour, over 100 Hérens cows took part in this years Match. It was a beautiful day and 1,500 spectators turned out to watch. The battles began at 10h30 with the young heifers and lasted through until sunset with the crowning of the Queen of Queens, a heavyweight cow, belonging to a breeder from Morzine, who weighed in a 691kg! Rdv next year in Servoz.. entry free.

Watch the video of the Combat des Reines in Le Tour – 22 September 2013



Visit the superb exhibition, by  photographer JC Van Waes, dedicated to the Hérens Queens.
Vallorcine tourist office from 15th September to 15th November 2013

Entry free.

A unique nocturnal demonstration of falconry!

For the first time this year, the Bergerie Restaurant, a mountain chalet at 2000m, has organized two original evenings, in the company of some of the Alps largest predators. Next show on August 19th 2013

Les Aigles du Léman

Les Aigles du Léman

A rare opportunity to dine in the mountains, facing one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Alps, whilst being entertained by a professional falconer and his birds of prey.
Eagles, Big Duke Owls and Vultures will take flight in their natural environment as the sun sets behind the mountains…

Find out more about the fascinating flight and the predatory qualities of these impressive birds, in the company of  “Les Aigles du Léman”



When:    Monday August 19th

Where:  Restaurant Bergerie, Brévent

Detail:   Privatized cable car, aperitifs on the terrace, barbeque dinner including starter, main course, dessert, wine and mineral water.

Falconry demonstrations throughout the evening. Night descent by cable car with exceptional views of floodlit Chamonix

Meeting: 17h45 at the Brevent cable car base station / return to Chamonix at 22h
Cost:   Adults: 70€ , Children under 10yrs: 40€  Family= 2 adults and 2 children: 199€
Booking: Chamonix Tourist Office or Online booking here
For more information: visit the website:

Preview here:

The Cosmo Jazz Festival – a phenomenal success!

The Cosmo Jazz Festival goes from strength to strength!

The ‘hills’ are alive with the sound of music and the bars are buzzing to the beat late into the night. Wherever you walk in Chamonix, jazz notes will reach your ears, and you will be enticed from one set to the next – it’s awesome!

JAZZ RACINES HAITI Brevent 31/07/13

JAZZ RACINES HAITI Brevent 31 July 13



The concerts in the mountains certainly are Cosmic! The locations have been carefully chosen to offer a natural amphitheatre and the accoustics are incredible. The experience is memorable for both the musicians and the public!


Chamonix 30th July

Have a look at the video of Korean singer YOUN SUN NAH as she performed to 1800 spectators at the Grands Montets on 1st August.

The Cosmo Jazz ended last night, Sunday 4th August 1014179_562904447100051_988336938_n

André Manoukian (organsizer and jazz musician) gave a surprise concert which turned into an incredible Jam session on the Place du Triangle de l’Amitié.

This year’s Cosmo Jazz Festival has been a huge success. A fantastic selection of artists, magnificent locations and glorious weather.

Keep and eye on the festival website and hopefully you’ll be here next summer to share the occasion with us :)

Cosmo Jazz Festival – 30th July to 4th August in Chamonix

The Cosmojazz kicks off in Chamonix !

For its forth edition, the Cosmo Jazz festival de Chamonix, has become the rendez-vous for inspired jazz musicians around the globe!

After the first concerts in Switzerland this week end, the festivities are back in the Chamonix Valley and it just gets better and better!

Discover for the first time in France, PIANO ROCHE VERTICAL, a Swiss pianist with his grand piano, suspended 10 metres above the ground!  Rendez- vous at 6 pm this evening, Place Balmat for a musical, acrobatical and poetical performance…

The week’s  programme is overwhelming with exceptional artists playing day and night!!!  The enchanting voice of Korean singer Youn Sun Nah, the Trilok Gurtu quartet, pianists Bojan Z et Shai Maestro,  saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Barte with Jazz Racines Haiti,  English quartet  Get the Blessing with  Radiohead drummer… and so it goes on!

The Festival highlights are as follows: CONCERTS IN THE MOUNTAINS during the day,
APERO JAZZ  early evening, COSMO JAM from 9pm.

All concerts are free of charge !

The music from Cosmojazz, crosses borders, follows torrents and glacial rivers, sits on mountain passes, nestles in high valleys and will eventually weave its magic spell around Mont-Blanc.

Detailed programme on the  Cosmo Jazz web site and in the Chamonix Valley tourist offices.

Sheeps, goats and salt!

The mountains were alive with the sound of bells on Saturday 7th July when 1400 sheep and goats made their way up the Pierre à Ric to their summer grazing quarters above Argentière, in the Chamonix Valley.

150 volunteers of all ages were present to help carry up the salt that the animals will need for the duration of the summer. Those that could not walk up took the cable car from Argentière to Logan and joined the gathering for aperitifs, music and merriment.

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