These images of a soapstone stove still in operation in Martigny Switzerland were taken by Didier Menard.

The stoves can be found in France, Switzerland, and Italy at their point of convergence in the Alps.
In France they are called Peule, which is a dialectic variant of poel, and in Switzerland, Bagnard.
The steatite used in the construction of the original stoves was quarried in the Bagne Valley from which the local name Bagnard is derived.

The Stove is dated 1912 and presumably caries the mark of its sculptor.

The stoves were built against a kitchen wall and fired from the kitchen. This kept the fire all in the same fireproof room, and also fumes out of the room that was heated. The heated room was traditionally insulated with sawdust, had a low ceiling and was relatively small. Known as the peule, the room served as a work area.
Note the narrow pedestal on which the stove rests.

The stove's fire box in the kitchen.

This Bagnard, in a modern chalet, has been converted, and is now fired with diesel oil.
The owner is a former marine engineer.

To view an excellent photographic record of Bagnard stoves restored by L,artisane de feu - click on stove at right when page opens up.

Marcus Flynn


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Last Updated: 14 October 2017