October in the French Alps

I know you were all panicking about the cows going up the hill in September, so I wanted to let you know that this week, the same cows descended. The warm weather allowed them to graze in the field just up the road one last time before heading down the valley to lower fields and eventually into a shed for winter. Welcome to October in the Aravis. How do I know they were the same cows that I mentioned in September? By the bells.

<Detailed French cow bell with the Croix de Savoie flag>Hearing the clanging of the bells coming down the road gave me plenty of time to grab a camera and get a close-up of a bell. This one has the Savoyarde flag with studs representing the white cross (le croix de Savoie). Below the flag is Bambi! Okay, maybe the craftsman had a particular type of deer in mind — no doubt the ones that I sometimes see at night around these parts — but when I see them, I say “Oh there’s Bambi”. This also works with any large-winged bird for me (“Look, an eagle.”), even if it’s an owl.

The Bambi thing all started in a bubble/télécabine/gondola in Méribel one day, when some Italians said something to me in Italian and pointed down. Realising I didn’t speak Italian, they said “Bambi” and pointed to a brown, horned thing below. For a moment, we all spoke the same language. A few days later, a Bambi was below the same lift, so I used the same word to point it out to the French people sharing the bubble with me. For a moment, we too spoke the same language even though I knew no French back then. Bambi allowed us to share an experience that we otherwise would have missed.

The cows, however, need no such international word. The clanging bells announce their arrival without any tourists pointing and calling them Bambi. Pity.


I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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4 comments on “October in the French Alps
  1. Wow, the bell on that cow is amazing. I see there’s some talent in your neck of the woods. It looks pretty heavy so I’m wondering if the cow actually minds wearing it?

  2. Wendy says:

    They are really heavy, but I reckon the noise must annoy them more than the weight. They must eventually go deaf!

  3. Ron says:

    While “Australian” is frequently mistaken for “Austrian”, it seems the international term for Australian is either “Kangourou” or “Crocodile Dundee”

  4. Wendy says:

    And you know in Austria, they have t-shirts with a big red cross through a drawing of a kangaroo for tourists! I’ve seen the kangaroo impersonations lots!

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by wendyhollands.com, my other site.

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