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Webster's Dictionary defines a chalet as "A wooden dwelling with a sloping roof and widely overhanging eaves, common in Switzerland and other Alpine regions". The term can nowadays be used for any cottage or lodge built in this style.

The term chalet stems from Franco-Provençal speaking part of Switzerland and originally referred to the hut of a herder. It derives from the medieval Latin calittum, which might come from an Indoeuropean root cala that means shelter. In Quebec French, any summer or vacation dwelling, especially near a ski hill, is called a chalet whether or not it is built in the style of a Swiss chalet.

Many chalets in the European Alps were originally used as seasonal farms for dairy cattle which would be brought up from the lowland pastures during the summer months. The herders would live in the chalet and make butter and cheese in order to preserve the milk produced. These products would then be taken, with the cattle, back to the low valleys before the onset of the alpine winter. The chalets would remain locked and unused during the winter months. Around many chalets you will see small windowless huts called mazots which were used to lock away valuable items for this period.

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Additional Photos by Dragan Ancevski (ancevski) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 270 W: 56 N: 261] (3358)
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