Rare craft: Bell smelterHugues Perrin

Hugues Perrin

the mountain blacksmith

For some forty years, Hugues Perrin has been passionately carrying on the alpine tradition of his village, Champéry (Valais, Switzerland). Inspired by the authenticity of his unspoilt valley and the nature that surrounds him, he makes bronze bells, mainly for cattle, using the same artisan methods as in the past.

Published on 24 August 2023
Inspire Hugues Perrin Fondeur De Cloches Moment 1Inspire Hugues Perrin Fondeur De Cloches Moment 1
©Inspire Hugues Perrin Fondeur De Cloches Moment 1
Hugues Perrin

A rare craft these days, this Champérolain is one of the last bell founders in Switzerland, if not the world.

We speak of

Mountain blacksmith

A profession that has become rare throughout the world, bell founders are true blacksmiths, transforming bronze into authentic bells.

Métier rare : L'un des septs fondeur de cloches - Hugues PERRIN [INSPIRE #9]
Métier rare : L'un des septs fondeur de cloches - Hugues PERRIN [INSPIRE #9]
Métier rare : L'un des septs fondeur de cloches - Hugues PERRIN [INSPIRE #9]

Episode 9

Hugues Perrin

Inspire by Les Portes du Soleil

A story of men, a rare know-how, shrouded in mystery and rooted in a territory. After watching this video, who’s going to complain about the ringing of bells?


Hugues Perrin

the portrait

Bringing Champéry’s local heritage back to life. It all began in the 1980s, when fascinated by the history of his village, Hugues set out with his father to find old bell molds that had disappeared from Champéry.

The manufacture of these molds had notably made the reputation of another Perrin in the 1870s, and since that time, these unique pieces had been passed from hand to hand, used by other craftsmen.

Father and son then traced the thread of generations, and finally, thanks to the memory of the elders, found the last owner. The latter gives them the precious treasure in the hope of seeing the foundry tradition renewed with them. Back in the village, driven by curiosity and the desire to revive this old champérolaine tradition, Hugues and his father set out without hesitation to learn the traditional art of bell casting.


Bells, the symbol of mountain pastures. Their distinctive tinkling echoes throughout the summer in the natural meadows of the mountains, enhancing country walks and hikes. Historically made to enable herders to locate their grazing animals by sound, and to scare off any predators, they have also become a traditional symbol of mountain farming. Honored at traditional festivals, they are of great sentimental value to farming families, who proudly hand them down from generation to generation.

The birth of authentic pieces

The family workshop

in Champéry

A singular, authentic and mysterious art, which has since become for them, a true craft-passion.

Today, it’s Hugues who holds the reins of the family workshop located in the heart of the village. The only bell founder in the Valais, he perpetuates an authentic savoir-faire that today is the preserve of only a small handful of experienced craftsmen in Switzerland.

In his workshop nestled on the edge of the Portes du Soleil, protected by the Dents du Midi, he naturally composes with the elements of the Earth to create his bronze bells. With his vintage tools and old molds weathered by time, he tirelessly repeats the gestures of yesteryear to give birth to authentic pieces steeped in history.

The last word.

Bell foundry: Hugues Perrin is not about to let his trade and art fade into oblivion.