What to do in summer > Sports and leisure > Natural world > The Educational Trails > Heritage Trails > Historical path in Mottec > Mottec- Post 4. Former Edelweiss Café

Mottec- Post 4. Former Edelweiss Café

The Edelweiss Café was taken over in 1936 by Marie and Henri Monnet, who spent the summer in Mottec with their seven children (4 girls and 3 boys). The building, with a beam on the ceiling that bears the date 1868, was modified (see photo of previous location) to house a café, probably in the 1920’s. A veranda was added at that time.

Map of Mottec

Marie-Hélène Monnet Rouffaer, sixth child of the owners, was born at the café in August 1936. “My father left to get the midwife in Mission, but by the time they returned, my mother had already given birth all alone. Then my father deposited me in a wooden crate inside the Sainte-Claire chapel so that my brothers and sisters could discover me,and believe that I was a gift from God.“

In the café, you could buy basic necessities : milk, bread, and cheese. Chocolate was carefully locked away because it was reserved for tourists.

The café also housed the postal depot and sold postcards. Sometimes the Monnet brothers would go up to the Cabane du Petit Mountet to deliver messages to climbers staying there. The café had the only telephone in the village.

Marie Monnet tastefully decorated the veranda opposite the cafe : “La Gloriette”. The veranda, with pretty wicker chairs, welcomed customers of the Zinal hotels who walked to Mottec along the river. They were served wine, taken directly from the barrels in the cellar, and desserts made with forest berries that were picked by the children.

In 1954-1959, during the construction of the hydroelectric plant, newspapers in several languages were sold. Many workers, mostly Italians, were staying in Mottec and Barneuza. The people remember memorable fights between local people and Italians, the latter being accused of frequenting the village girls. Most of the workers came from Sicily and Calabria and were illiterate. Martine, one of the Monnet sisters, engaged to Adriano, a worker from northern Italy, and having learned Italian, read and wrote the mail for the other workers.

At the café, the centre of village life, Anniviards, tourists and mountaineers going to Zinal with their luggage and equipment on the backs of mules all came into contact.

In the late 1950s, Marie and Henri Monnet built the Edelweiss Auberge, which operated until 1980, along the new road to Zinal. In 2007, the inn was transformed by its new owners into a guest house, for mainly English clientele.

 

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Return to the Sainte-Claire chapel and follow the dirt road that goes up in front. The mayen of Prabe is on the left after the second turn. In winter, snowshoes are recommended, depending on snow conditions. You can also follow the road to get to the last location, the Saint-Laurent chapel.