Below the balcony one piles up the wood which will slowly get dry there.
The gallery, also called “la louïe” is used to dry the hay or the aftermath. In older days it was the hemp and one can still see long horizontal batten fixed for that on the facade.
Sheltered from the rain and the wind, onion, garlic can slowly dry up before being removed inside. That’s also where the extra wood pieces for the roof covering where piled up. The top galleries all give access to the barn so the farmer can remove the dry hay easily using a door locked by a wooden plug.
The vertical cut out boards, the baluster, that we call “palins” in our region, were generally the work of the chalet owner himself: a skilful inhabitant who always has a “workshop” where he patiently cuts out his wood during winter.
After the drawing and creation of a tinplate or wooden model, the farmer started the work... and he had to have his heart in his work to realise a beautiful balcony. Sometimes the “pretender” offered the “palins” of a balcony to his fiancée: a test which lasted a long time and which wasn’t useless, at least for the girl family.
The “palins” can be simple vertical wooden rails (old chalets) or uncut crossed ones. The juxtaposition of the cut boards is superb, geometric motifs, lozenges with flourishes, smart knot works...
With his saw, the “joiner-farmer” could almost write a message to his neighbours or to people passing by.
Glasses and bottles (les glaciers of Vacheresse), maple leaves, vine leaves, pine trees, tulips or daffodils (frequent in the Swiss region of Wallis).
When the balconies are superposed in a chalet, the motifs are always different from one gallery to the other.
Some nice rounded balconies surrounding the chalet can be seen in La Chapelle d’Abondance (opposite Casino shop) and in Châtel the Vieux Four (opposite the post office): the Swiss touch is there.