Fine wooden shingles called “tavillons”, arranged in typical patterns, cover the rooftops of Taveyanne. While the tradition has become a rarity, you increasingly see buildings decorated with them in the Fribourg and Vaud Alps – but rarely in such concentration as in this little hamlet above Gryon.
The shingles are thin wooden boards that are usually made of spruce wood. Depending on size and region, different names are used for the wooden shingles. The shingles are produced in winter and used in summer to cover the roofs and facades. The know-how of the shingle makers is based on meticulous and timeless work. In Western Switzerland there are today only ten shingle makers who are experts in this craft.
In Taveyanne, the houses with their delicate patterned roofs snuggle up like shy hedgehogs on the gentle slope. The shingles are usually made by hand of local wood, during the long, quiet winter months. In summer, too, little interrupts the tranquillity of this little Alpine village, apart from the ringing of the cowbells. The exception is the first Sunday in August, when locals gather to celebrate “Mi-été”, or midsummer: a time for sharing the harvest, singing, dancing and enjoying local gastronomic delights.