We visited Les Forges et Moulins de Pinsot during European Museum Night. It was very much worth the drive up the mountain, and therefore I wanted to share it with you here. In case you have the chance to visit it. And in case you can’t visit it, you might find it inspiring to read about it here.
Les Forges et Moulins de Pinsot is a mill or actually there are several mills, that are situated around a small river that runs the mills whenever they need energy to make something. It’s a eco-friendly spot due to their water engined production. Although we visited the site as a museum, the mills are still in work, so they still produce walnut oil, steel, flour and wood. We were able to see one of the processes at work during our visit. Maybe the most intriguing one: steel forging.
Situated in a room that looked like you entered the middle ages or a game of thrones scene, the mill driven by hydraulic energy, slams a huge human size hammer onto a small plate, where the forger holds the hot piece of steel that he wants to forge. The power of the hammer is really amazing, we were watching this process in a steamy small room and the noise was immens. The noise of the hammer in combination with the whole machine that was driven by the water was all-embracing. It was loud, but touching at the same time. You rarely see, hear and experience power creation and product production in one little room. Beautiful experience.
The forger protected himself from the power of the slamming of the machine by sitting on a special chair that wasn’t grounded. It was hanging from the ceiling. Apparently that way the vibrations of the machine won’t shake his limbs like it otherwise would.
The steel forger guided us through the whole process while he was working. After that we visited the other parts of the location by our own. We saw the flour mill, the walnut oil mill and the wood mill. The tile that you see below is the residue of the walnuts when the oil is extracted. I had never seen this before I think. It smelled so nice in that room (like cookies) that we decided to buy a bottle of walnut oil as well from them.
The last thing we saw indoors was the exhibition by photographers Perrine Delamarre and Fabien Merminod : A la recontre des paysans de montagne … Des Alpes à l’Himalaya. The two photographers made pictures of mountain farmers all over the world and these pictures were shown in a small exhibition here. Lovely again, I have a thing for mountain farmers as you might understand.
More things were happening around the building. They prepared very tasty homemade bread and pizza in the wood oven. We decided to take a walk as the surroundings were very nice. It also gave us the chance to see how the water was guided to the mills. We ended our visit with a picknick on one of the tables that were overlooking the grazing sheep. A very suitable end.
During this museumweekend/night the mills will host different presentations on the different mills. If you don’t have time to visit them during this weekend, you can always visit them another time. They are open for visitors during half of the week, mostly during afternoons. In combination with a little hike up the Belledonne it’s a great afternoon getaway from the city.