© Nicolas Geinoz

© Marc-André Marmillod

© Switzerland Tourism/Martin Maegli

© Claude-Olivier Marti

The chalet du Soldat

The Chalet du Soldat keeps watch over the Gastlosen (the inhospitable). The ridge is inappropriately named: its cliffs are a paradise for rock climbers and its ragged peaks give it a highmountain appearance which delights walkers.

It was on these limestone rock faces that the celebrated mountain guide, Erhard Loretan started his career. Nowadays, there are just under 800 numbered climbs, top favourites for climbing enthusiasts. Walkers too can discover this mountain chain, one of the highlights of the region, by following “the Gastlosen tour”. After this 4 to 5 hour walk, climbers and tourists meet again on the terrace of the Chalet du Soldat, located at an altitude of 1752 meters. The chalet, which has twice lost half its roof in a storm, is now more than ever part of the landscape, perched on the mountain, and the shelter it offers is much appreciated. Located in the only Swiss-German area in La Gruyère, it’s an ideal place for a dish of rösti, and the atmosphere is friendly and casual, as it often is in Alpine restaurants. It’s a time for contemplation. At the end of the day, the peaks of Wandfluh and Sattel fade from pink to sepia, a unique view, always romantic.

The Chalet was built for military purposes during the Second World War, to improve the Alpine training of the Fribourg regiment. This slightly mad project, ordered by Major Paul Wolf started in 1945. It was first made available to other Swiss Army battalions, then to climbers and finally to the general public. It was originally known as the Chalet du Regiment, taking its current name only in 1952. Over the years, the military atmosphere has given way to warm hospitality and it now serves delicious regional specialities, of a kind that the soldiers would never even have dreamed of!
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