The Shepherd


BACK OF CHALET We just spent a week 2000m above sea level, so high up that it felt like if we stood on our tip toes we would touch heaven.

Our chalet d'alpinage was a restored ruin, very much off any and every beaten track, and the only way to get from the chalet to the main road was to either don your snow boots and walk, or ski. I will admit that we availed of the luxury of a 'moto-neige' to get our bags and weekly food supply up the mountain at the start of the stay.  I wish I had a photograph of me sitting behind Le Berger on the ski motorcycle, my arms wrapped around Charlotte as we accelerated up the practically vertical, snow-covered mountain - eyes wide with fear and stomach knotted with adrenalin, whispering "don't fall, don't let Charlotte slip" under my breath until the motor slowed and we reached the top.

daniel making

Our host is a bit of a local celebrity, known as "Le Berger" or 'The Shepherd' as he purchased the ruins of an ancient shepherds home, perched high up on the side of the mountain overlooking the ski town of Orcieres.

A skilled and energetic 70+ year old, he has single handedly restored his home with reclaimed wood and flea market finds.

The photograph above shows him creating a storage shelf for the underbelly of the 3 ft long wooden table he had made for the terrace.  It was humbling to be in the presence of someone so self sufficient, whose very essence is about craftmanship and creativity.

kettles & stove

Le Berger can turn his hand to anything, be it woodwork, cooking a mouthwatering leg of lamb or sewing and upholstering interiors.

His home was a study of resourcefullness, every corner has been transformed to maximise storage, and space for guests. Humble and crafted to welcome, to provide shelter, be a place of friendship, laughter and feasting.

chalet d'alpinage

This image gives you a better idea of the tiny remote village of restored shepherds homes where we stayed.

Flea market ski