L’Arbre à Chapeaux nestles in Grand’Combe-Châteleu, Haut-Doubs, on the road between Pontarlier and Morteau in Pays Horloger, a few kilometres from Morteau and just over ten from the Swiss border.
Firmly rooted on the bank of the Doubs, this charming old house, which for several centuries has stood at the heart of a protected geographical area at the entrance to the Entreroches Gorges, is one of the iconic tuyé farms that are a protected part of local heritage.
What is a Tuyé ?
Formerly functioning as a fireplace, kitchen and somewhere to warm up and to smoke meat as a means of preservation, the tuyé was the focal point of the evening. Gradually abandoned in favour of greater convenience, tuyés often suffered the ingratitude of 'modern times'. Dismantled, blocked up, demolished, walled in, many tuyés were lost.
The one at L’Arbre à Chapeaux takes centre stage in the living area, bearing its three centuries of history regally and proudly. How many secrets has it overheard? The tuyé’s distinctive architecture is truly unique to the Franche-Comté farms of Haut-Doubs. Just sitting there is like travelling back in time.
GRAND’COMBE CHATELEU : A SMALL TOWN FULL OF CHARACTER
FAMOUS FOR ITS FARMS THAT BOAST A TUYÉ OR TWO...
Imbued with both the profound humbleness of the people who worked the land and the majesty of their great age, these grandes dames, our Franche-Comté farms, watch over us.
Have you noticed how unique their architecture is? Both squat and lofty, their generous surface area anchors them to the earth, while their majestic tuyés elevate them to the heavens! Flexible and hardy, their frames seem to transform their barns into extraordinary wooden cathedrals.
How many prayers have they heard over so many centuries?
Noah’s Arks, pale in the morning light and aglow in the evening, their cladding teems with all sorts of life! They buzz like hives, cheeping and singing, cheered by a thousand different shades, swarming with insects and birds of all hues.
Their presence radiates the profound serenity of those with nothing to prove. They’ve seen kings, emperors, invasions, the French Republic, revolutions and wars, violence and peace, poverty and riches, fear and comfort.
From candles to electricity, pedlars to broadband, oxen to tractors, fountain water to bath water, they’ve evolved wordlessly and without complaint. Such wisdom !
Over the centuries they’ve sheltered peasants, the sick, merchants, troubadours, Resistance members, children, the elderly, men and women, humans and animals. All together under this same comforting, health-giving roof. All the generations gathered together in this tuyé raised towards the sky. If we listen closely, perhaps we’ll hear the murmur of evening conversations.
Linger nearby. Savour their silence. Enjoy their peace. They’ll tell you of a bygone age. Open the door: You’ll find the most beautiful history lesson!
...AND THE FOUNTAINS
Just like the farms, many fountains and washing places can be found in the village. Calm, apparently undisturbed places that seem untouched by time, they offer generous refreshment for lingering travellers ! A beautiful walk links all these fountains and washing places, from the humble to the majestic, those built with stone and those made from metal, those sheltered under sturdy roofs and those open to the skies. Pick up a map from the Pays Horloger Tourism Offices or the Grand’Combe-Châteleu Town Hall. The route will guide you through the village, far from the tarmac of the main roads. You’ll discover secret nooks just begging you to play truant!
• L’Auberge de la Roche (less than a kilometer from the house)
Founded in 1961, Maison Feuvrier cultivates the French gastronomy for which it is renowned and famed.
9, rue du Pont-de-la-Roche
Tél : +33 (0)3 81 68 80 05
• Le Restaurant du Pont (less than a kilometer from the house)
Since 1920, the Du Pont Hotel and Restaurant in Morteau has been one of Doubs’ essential meeting points for gastronomy and nature lovers alike.
There, Eric and Naïma Jolivet offer a warm welcome and sophisticated dishes, where the richness of the Franche-Comté soil provides a foundation for contemporary cuisine.
Pont de la Roche
25570 GRAND'COMBE CHATELEU
Tél. +33 (0)3 81 68 80 74
• L’Entre-Roches (around 15 minutes’ drive from the house)
Since 1997, Rachel and Olivier have been welcoming guests in an intimate, warm and romantic setting between the Doubs and the mountains, offering seasonal gourmet dishes.
1 Rue Principale
25650 VILLE DU PONT
Tél. +33 (0)3 81 38 10 92
• L’auberge du Charron (around 10 minutes’ drive from the house)
In the heart of Haut-Doubs, right next to the Swiss border and a stone’s throw from Meix-Musy station, L’Auberge du Charron offers the chef’s specialities from the local area and beyond.
9 La Voie Bournez
Tél. +33 (0)3 81 67 19 40