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History and overview


The Chardonne–Mont-Pèlerin Development Company (formerly Société pour le Développement du Mont-Pèlerin and commonly called "the DEV") was founded on October 30, 1904 in Mont-Pèlerin. Its first goals were to enhance the stay of the many tourists of the time who spent their holidays in the hotels at the top of our town.

From year to year, our company, without losing sight of its role in tourism, has worked to:

  • Facilitateoutdoor activities, such as the marking of snowshoe trails or the cleaning of hiking trails during a ''Coup de Broom'' day, in collaboration with the Municipality.

  • Develop thelocal cultural and artistic lifeby inviting artists from here and elsewhere to exhibit their works twice a year at the Caveau des Vignerons located in the middle of the village of Chardonne, and by organizing concerts and other types of shows.

  • Organizeother eventssuch as the National Day fireworks on August 1, the sale of grapes during the harvest, the arrival of Saint-Nicolas, conferences, competitions for flower balconies with vouchers for the purchase of flowers as a reward for more beautiful balconies and gardens, etc.

A general meeting is scheduled for the spring and is always followed by a dinner aperitif...


Our salary is your smiles!



Download the statutes of the companyhere

Contact us


By email:

By mail:

development company


1803 Chardonne

Become a member?


To become members of the Chardonne – Mont-Pèlerin Development Society, you must be over 18 and pay an amount of CHF 30.- per year.

For couples, the amount is CHF 50.- per year.

What is a couple? Two people who love each other and live together…

Legal persons will be represented by a natural person.

Interested? Send us an e-mail!



“Good lodging, good wine and good bread”… This is how, already in the 17th century, Chardonne was to receive its guests. Its tradition of hospitality is very old.

Complete country, where, on the slopes of Mont-Pèlerin, vineyards, countryside and forests are staged, with the lake at its feet, the stage of a theater with constantly changing decors.renewed. For more than a hundred years, a funicular has made it possible to easily climb the slope.

Chardonne, a village in the heart of its vines cultivated since time immemorial, is proud of its renowned wines, white, rosé and red. It is good to stop in a cellar, whose owner welcomes you, sit down in the winegrowers' cellar to taste the different vintages or sit down to a table with a good Vaudois bonhomie. Beautiful winegrowers' residences, an old church, a castle where the Bernese lords already liked to smell the wines of the place.

So many artists, writers, painters and musicians have enjoyed staying in Chardonne and have remained attached to it. A famous belvedere since the beginning of the century, the resort of Mont-Pèlerin has large hotels combining luxury and comfort, and gastronomic restaurants.

Calm, beauty, balance… a place of high class. The gaze slides over the surface of the lake and rebounds at the top of the Alps. Country that we measure with the eye, country at the height of man.

Mont-Pèlerin, the region par excellence for walking, cycling and snowshoeing: randomly during the walk, on pleasant marked trails, you cross in turn forests smelling of fresh humus or pastures crisp with grasshoppers, sometimes in the shade of high forests and sometimes facing the immense space of the mountains and the lake, whose curve is lost in the distance. Here and there, a rustic refreshment bar or a welcoming restaurant offer a welcome break. At the top, the Plein Ciel tower allows you to discover in a vast panorama not only the whole of Lake Geneva, but also the Alps and the Plateau as far as the Jura.

Tales and legends


Many people have asked us what was the origin of the name Mont-Pèlerin. The surprising frequency of the question can be explained by the fact that this word “pilgrim” is very rare in toponymy. We have not so far spotted another in the Vaud area. The term therefore arouses curiosity and… it is not easy to satisfy.

We must first mention (without being able to decide) a point of spelling. Pilgrim or Pilgrim? In the past, we stuck firmly to the acute accent: the 1/25,000 scale map of 1888 writes “Mont-Pélerin”. When it issued its shares in 1912, the Société des Eaux du Mont-Pélerin was faithful to the acute accent. M. Tacheix's guide, published in 1921, still sticks to “Mont-Pélerin”. But the new map at 1/25,000 from 1962 places the serious accent on “Mont-Pèlerin”. The official DIPC map, long in use, did the same. In our book on Chardonne and its history, to conform to modern cartography, we have chosen the spelling “Pèlerin”. We thus risk reinforcing the confusion with the word “pilgrim”, which people of old wanted to avoid. We will see that there is nothing to support one spelling rather than the other. In the embarrassment, the very last official chart of the DIPC (1996) believes to solve the problem by not putting any more accent at all!

In fact, the name of Mont-Pèlerin is a relatively recent creation. In the population as in the archival documents, until around the middle of the 19th century, we always spoke of the Mont de Chardonne (as the Pléiades were long called the Monts de Blonay), or simply the Mont. When, in September 1839, Victor Hugo visited the region, he spoke of Mont Chardonne. The word Pèlerin appears in the second half of the 19th. Eugène Rambert, in 1888, wrote Pèlerin. Around the same time, the French poet Edouard Grenier spoke of Mont-Pélerin. (The rivalry between the treble and the bass already exists!) The appearance of this denomination corresponds to the birth and development of pedestrian tourism on the Mount, which will soon follow, around 1900, the construction of several large hotels and the funicular line. It was necessary to give a name to this modest eminence but full of charm.

So, where does this word Pilgrim come from? It is actually a specific locality, designating a corner of woods and pasture located near the summit (1084 m.), roughly between the location of the current communication tower and the clearing of the chalet. Butticaz, property of the Commune. The toponym is very old. It appears for the first time in our archives (parchment P14) in 1423. The rector of the Brotherhood of the Eucharist of Christ of Chardonne granted (rented) to Thomassetus douz Crest, of Chardonne, a piece of meadow that he had cleared, located at Au Crest douz Pellerin… next to the path leading from a place called Pellerin to Faucon (quemdam morsellum prati per dictum Thomassetum extirpatum situm in Cresto douz Pellerin and further on at loco dicto Pellerin). Pellerin: here is in the true original spelling.

The toponym probably dates from several centuries earlier, and the place must have been favorable for hunting. Many examples indicate this. Thus, in the following century, we find in 1560: for the wolf that we caught at Pellerin. In 1610, we see small wild boars taken at Pellerin. But this same year, we will still “porjetter” (flush out) wild boars at the Pelerin. And in 1622, two hinds were taken at a place called Pellerin. On the other hand, when the hunt takes place elsewhere, we say: go wolf hunting on the “Mont” (1632). It is therefore a simple locality which later gave its name to the entire Mont.

This already simplifies the problem a little. Even if faith can move mountains, our Mount did not leave for Rome, Jerusalem or Compostela, thus deserving its name of pilgrim as in the past pious travelers received the right to add a scallop shell to their coat of arms...

Can we try to discover the origin of this name? In fact, only weak assumptions can be made. But let's say first that it is not and has never been a place of pilgrimage: this summit has always been uninhabited and there are no remains of construction. At most one can suppose, according to a small drawing on a plan of 1776 that there was a fire signal, to which would allude a note dating from 1633, signal which was abandoned. Besides, a place of pilgrimage would bear the name of the saint that one would come to pray and not the common word of pilgrim. What relationship could one establish with a pilgrim? The pilgrimage routes did not pass through our summit. Admittedly, leaving on the roads like this was a form of penance, but from here to passing by the crest of the mountains… And we would not have given this name if a pilgrim had simply passed by! At least the body of a passer-by would have had to be found there for the name to stick. Would it then be a nickname given to a character of the place who would have made a pilgrimage and who would have owned this corner? Hence the Crest douz pellerin. There is indeed a local sorcerer, Jaquet de Panissières, who, around 1460, had been condemned, as penance, to make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela via Saint-Claude in the Jura and Saint-Antoine in Dauphiné. But our toponym is already attested long before! Another objection: these forests of the Mount were not private property; they belonged to the community and it was the Brotherhood (leader of the authorities) who had them.

Let's not neglect another hypothesis: the nearest known place of pilgrimage was Notre-Dame de Lausanne, or the Cathedral. The faithful went there especially for the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) to pray to the Blessed Virgin. But people who could not make the trip to Lausanne for reasons of age, infirmity or other impediments met at the current place called La Croix or the Croix de la Dame (about 200 m north of the Tour de Marsens) from where they could, on a clear day, see Notre-Dame and thus participate spiritually in the devotions of the pilgrimage that took place there. This custom continued even beyond the Reformation. Could the summit of our Mount have played a similar role for our parish? It is true that we would probably have named the place with a word recalling this relationship to Notre-Dame or at least we would have as a place called “Pilgrims” in the plural.

We give up to researchers keen on Celticism the possibility of starting from Belenos, Gallic god, to try to join the Pilgrim, but we will not follow them.

Hagiography enthusiasts to take an interest in Saint-Pèlerin. Martyred on May 16, 304, this saint (who also appears in the old form of Saint-Péregrin) extended his benefits in particular to lower Burgundy and the Morvan, that is to say not very far from our regions. He was invoked to heal sick cattle and the land of Saint-Pèlerin was preserved from all snakes. In 60 years, we have never seen a snake on our Mount (at least on the northeast side). To those who would like to see a clue, we will leave the responsibility for their conclusions...

It seems that the origin of Pèlerin should be sought in etymology. We do not retain the suggestion to start from “pilosus”, hairy, used to designate either a meadow of fine grass, or a thick forest covering a summit (this would be the case here). We do not see how to get to Pèlerin.

It seems more acceptable to start from the Latin “pala”, the shovel, used in toponyms designating flat land, often pastures; some are spelled with one or two “l”. Bossard and Chavan cite two “Paleyres” including one in Chexbres.

Our locality of the Pilgrim actually presents a relatively flat space of modest size, which would justify the diminutive suffix -unum. We would therefore have a “Palar-inum”, passed to “Pelerin(um)” or “Pellerin(um) by contamination with the common word pilgrim. So it would be a small flat pasture.

Although this hypothesis seems the most plausible of all those we have considered, it remains nonetheless fragile, but we must, for the moment, content ourselves with it, and our Mont Pèlerin retains a haze of mystery on its heights.

Text by Mr. Jean-Paul Verdan, Chardonne January 2003

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