|At the village of Juriens, in the Pied du Jura, is a magnificent private collection of Swiss cow bells, some dating back to the 1500s. On 26 April a small group of us discovered this treasure hidden behind barn doors. They are the property of Olivier Grandjean who greeted us warmly and led us to his cellar where he explained his passion for collecting the bells and their importance to cows, people, culture and to trade. He was full of gems of information. Did you know that during the Middle Ages cheese was transported from Les Pays d’Enhaut to the United Kingdom to feed the Royal Navy? He explained the history of some of the bells, pointing out their elaborate decorations and their origins.
Mr Gandjean then led us up into the barn where there were hundreds of bells all beautifully arranged, hanging here, there and everywhere. He showed us the different ways they were made and told us more stories of the individual bells. Finally, he led us around the barn to show us yet more bells. He has collected over 900 and has a few for sale. If you are tempted by a custom-made bell I can recommend the Fonderie in La Sarraz.
Our warmest thanks go to Olivier for sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with us. Une bonne addresse!