Two different authors have written extensively about the Contamines valley. Christine Barbier is a novelist whilst Hubert Bessat writes more academic books.
Christine Barbier is an attentive witness of a changing alpine identity. She is the author of “ Des hameaux et des Hommes”, “ Des Contamines au fil du temps” and “La Perle du Mont-Blanc”. Her novel "Rendez-vous à San Marco" won the Lions Club Literature Award. Christine Barber is president of the Association "The Authors of Mont Blanc" which organizes an annual competition open to amateur writers.
"In Paris, it is believed that the mountain is rock and ice, when the real mountain is about people. Those people described by Christine Barber as authentic with rough skin, chiseled as shale by the fresh air and sunshine, their characters often as hard as granite.
In Paris, it is believed that the mountain means snow and wind, when the mountain really means freedom. The alpine wind, snow and storms blow through Christine’s books, carrying with them the sound of cowbells and rushing torrents.”
(Extract by Christophe Barbier)
More on Christine Barbier
A native of the village of Les Contamines (1947), Hubert Bessat researched local dialect (patois) during his studies at Grenoble University. He followed a course by Professor Gaston Tuaillon, on whose advice he began researching the patois dialect of Les Contamines-Montjoie, inspired by a questionnaire previously established for the Linguistic and Ethnographic Atlas of the Jura and Northern Alps. His studies continued into the1990s, completed by records of local dialect and then by a survey of village place names.
In 2010 the first volume of this research was published by Ellug, “The dialect and traditional life in Les Contamines”
. It was dedicated to the natural village environment (relief, climate, flora, fauna, agricultural, pastoral and forestry concerns). A second volume, yet to be completed, will consider the human being, family, stages of life, social relationships, home and domestics.
Previously, Hubert Bessat co-published with Claudette Germi, books such as “Les mots de la montagne autour du Mont Blanc”
about the names of alpine pastures in the Savoie region and Aosta Valley, books about alpine landscapes and alpine heritage.
He also collaborated with historians and ethnologists to produce collective works such as a Cultural Atlas of the Western Alps, books about the origins of transhumance, local Heritage in the Isere region and “ En Coutère”.