©Raphaël Surmont

From the mill to the garden

You can spot the village of Sarreyer from a distance. Perched on the sunny right-hand slope of the Upper Val de Bagnes, its traditional farm buildings hide many a secret passed down from generation to generation.

Your discovery of Sarreyer starts with the recently renovated community oven. This was a wood-burning oven for the benefit of the villagers who used it to bake their bread.

You then walk through the village heading towards the mill, strolling along the aptly named “Chemin du pain” [literally “Bread Way”]. This informative trail retraces the stages in the making of bread, from the work in the fields, production of the flour and finally the cooking and baking of the loaves. As you do so, you get to know the typical little streets and the people of the village.

You then arrive at the mill, the symbol of Sarreyer; you learn the secrets of its workings from a guide who is passionate about the subject. When it was built in 1837, the villagers showed how innovative they were, by installing a single vertical wheel that operated a saw and a millstone at the same time. This ingenious mechanism made it possible to saw wood, mill flour or press apples with the harnessed water power of the adjacent stream.

By now, all this talk of bread and apples will have made you hungry. It’s time to get back to the heart of the village for a well-deserved break at the Café du Mont-Fort! In this friendly little hostelry you can sit down to a delicious meal made using local products, typical of the skills of the region’s people. Bon appétit!

In the afternoon, a keen plant lover will take you to see her secret garden, situated on the edge of the village. She’ll teach you a bit more about these little-known plant treasures that are hidden in plain sight — cultivated or wild, aromatic or therapeutic. A fitting bouquet to end this day spent discovering the traditions of the Upper Val de Bagnes.