Once upon a time in Miège
At the beginning of our story, in 1226, Miège (Miesen in German) was written Mieio. In 1444 it was Miegio, and then in 1554 it became Miezoz, the name still used in the local dialect, meaning «in the middle of the mountain».
The earliest records of the village date from the 13th century, but its oldest buildings date from the late 15th century. Miège’s history is interwoven with that of the Valais canton.
In Miège, life depended on the harvests, which were often unpredictable. The main crops were cereals such as wheat, rye and barley. It was hard work, and the soil on the small plots lost its fertility. From the 13th century onwards, forges became established in the village. The oldest of these, situated at the entrance to the village, gave the area the name «Les Faverges».
As time went by, vines became increasingly predominant on the scattered plots of land, which were difficult to reach.
These plots were consolidated in 1973, a historic year for the Miège vine-growing area.
Find more information on Miège !
The bourgeoisie before the 1857 fire
The bourgeoisie (communal building) existed from 1717 onwards. Destroyed by fire in 1857, it was then rebuilt. Its present appearance dates from the renovation work of 1954.
1930 / Cyprien Vocat, Albert Tschopp, Jean Sargiotto, Raymond Vocat
From the end of May, part of the family went up to the mid-alpine pastures for a few months to look after the cattle. It is said that, in its day, Miège had as many cows as inhabitants. Although it is on the valley floor, the inhabitants’ involvement with animal husbandry made it more like a mountain village. They were by turns shepherds, haymakers, reapers and vine-growers.
View from the bourgeoisie
Opening of the Veyras-Miège road in 1956
Miège / 1910
School building on the left – now the Relais Miégeois restaurant
Sawmill of Hippolyte
Water – source of both life and disputes – was a vital part of the village’s life. It irrigated the land and powered the mills and the sawmill.
Breaking up the ground /1946
Fernand Caloz, Marcel Vocat, Grégoire Clavien, Georges Vocat, Albert Clavien, Charles Mounir, Raymond Clavien (de gauche à droite)
François Clavien, Jean-Charles Clavien, friends from Zürich, Alice Clavien
Vine-growing is a noble occupation and wine gladdens the heart! But the work involved is punishing: breaking up the ground with a pickaxe, spreading manure, digging the trenches, using irrigation channels (bisses) to water the small plots, weeding, carrying the grapes away in baskets.... The scenes in old pictures appear idyllic, but the reality of hard labour and sacrifice was rather less so.
Grapes being transported in barrels
Why does Miège have the nickname «La Calabre»? Its exclusively agricultural character and its geographic position, away from any communication route, made it very similar to southern Italy, but that’s not all...
Jeanne et Yvonne Tschopp
Legend has it that the beautiful Miège girls attracted many admirers from outside the village, so the local boys (the calabrais) had to throw stones at these interlopers to keep them away!