September in the Alps

Not much happens here in September here in the French Alps, so this weeks’ two big events were some cows walking down through St Jean de Sixt and some cows walking up through town. While I watched them amble past, I noticed a few things. Based on this picture:

Cows marching through St Jean de Sixt in the Aravis region, France

First up, see that cow in the bottom right corner? She’s the one heading for the hedge. She then got her horns into the hedge (I think she was rubbing her face in it) and one of the cow minders had to threaten her with a stick to move her on.

Secondly, check out the udder on the one at the back there. Can you imagine walking with that between your legs? I hope they didn’t have to go far.

Thirdly, the detail on the belts of those big bells around their necks is perhaps a little difficult to see, but they were gorgeous. A few had a red Croix de Savoie stitched in, and one had a bright red love heart, although I’m not sure the cows love walking up and down roads.

Most impressive is the sound. Unless you’ve witnessed cows wandering past you when the bells are on, you simply cannot imagine the loudness of those bells.

Finally, I’ve no idea why the cows were going up the hill instead of down. At this time of year, the French farmers collect their cows from the high pastures which are now getting cold and producing less grass, and move them closer to their winter farms, lower down where it’s warm. In around a month or so, the cows will then go back into the farm sheds for winter, where they’re stuck until springtime. Thankfully, the farmers remove the bells.


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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3 comments on “September in the Alps
  1. Steph says:

    What a great sight. We don’t have anything as exciting going on here. Occasionally a neighbouring farmer’s cows escape and end up in our fields. But no bells on them!

  2. Emm says:

    Oh wow, this is such a cute post! It reminds me of the Moo Song by the Matterhorn Project. Back in 1986, that was the theme song for our school marathon dance and we all learned a funny dance to it.

  3. Dormouse says:

    Hello! I often read your blog, but never comment. I’ve decided to try to comment more often when I visit blogs so you know someone Is Out There! Maybe you can visit my blog too.

    I love the sight of the cows – but, as you say, the mystery is why they were going Up instead of Down! I remember a holiday in Haute Savoie where every day the evening rush hour was the herd of cows being directed from one field to another, past the bar where we sat with our beers. Presumably there was a morning rush hour too, but we weren’t in the bar at that time!

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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, my other site.

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