Museum of the Land of Cherry

The ecomuseum of the country of cherry is located in Petit Fahys, one of the hamlets of the commune of Fougerolles in Haute – Saone , in the East of France . Housed in a former distillery , it presents through a museum combines exhibitions, film screenings, multimedia terminals and sound environment, daily life in Haute-Saône in the xix th century and the distillation techniques Kirsch , an agricultural start activity become a veritable industry in the xix th century.

For a long time, the country Fougerollais owes its notoriety to the culture and the distillation of the cherry (more particularly the guigne ); hence its nickname “cherry country”. This tradition dates back to the xvii th and xviii th century, a period when the cherry trees were planted and thus favored the appearance distilleries “cherry water”, better known under the name of kirsch 1 . From 1850, some industrial and commercial companies were born in Fougerolles (Peureux, Bresson, Lemercier …) producing cherry water, but also liqueurs and aperitifs ( absintheespecially). There are approximately forty in the early xx th century making Fougerolles one of the first centers of production of alcohol in France. But their decline began in 1915 when the French government banned the production and consumption of wormwood. At the beginning of xxi th century, four schools still perpetuate the artisan and industrial tradition: Coulin, Devoille, Lemercier and Fearful.

This ancient tradition of cherry distillation led Marcel Saire and other passionate Fougerollais to buy, preserve and collect many objects that witnessed this local heritage for over twenty years with the aim of making it an ecomuseum . Thus is born the ecomuseum of the country of the cherry with the help of the Society of agriculture, letters, sciences and arts of the Haute-Saône (SALSA), of the DRAC (Regional direction of the cultural affairs) of Haute-Saône and the municipality in 1982, in one of the first distilleries of Fougerolles.

It was built in 1829 by Desle-Joseph Aubry, a farmer distiller: it consists of a mansion (including housing and agricultural parts), to which a distillation room is annexed in 1831, and d ‘a house of servants, a’ chalot ‘(typical dependence of the Vosges Sônoises which used to store the crops of the house) and a large orchard . The company was active for more than 150 years ; this justifies the fact that it was chosen to house the ecomuseum. In 1984, the house is listed in the general inventory of historic monuments and in 2003, the museum becomes Museum of France.

Subsequently, over time, he experienced several phases of modernization. In 2001, a major architectural renovation program was launched, which was awarded the 2005 Grand Est Architecture Grand Prix; it involves the construction of a reception building and a temporary exhibition room (so-called “basement room”). Then a new museography for the site, designed by the renowned scenographer Audrey Tenaillon, is put in place in 2007.

The eco-museum aims to study, preserve and expose the know-how and lifestyles of Fougerollais; the visitor discovers more precisely how the production of kirsch, at the beginning simple agricultural activity, became industrial. The visit begins in the mansion dating from 1829; Throughout the exhibits and exhibits are unveiled to the visitor the traditional life Fougerollaise, ways to live, eat but especially drink; he also discovers the beliefs and symbols associated with distillation. Then, in the new buildings, he learns everything about the tree and the fruit, the alcohol, its consumption or its legislation.

The museum

Kirsch de Fougerolles.
The building is bigger than a traditional dwelling. It consists of three parts; the farm, the distillery and the dwelling. It was originally designed to house the sale and distillation of alcohol on a farm. Through the kitchen, the dining room and the office, we go to meet the Aubry family who is at the origin of the distillery and who seeks to imitate, like many others, the “bourgeois of the cities – or his clientele. Indeed, thanks to this activity, the family was enriched, but the grandson of Desle-Joseph Aubry squandered the family patrimony in 1887.

Then we discover the storage room in which alcohols are exposed barrels and other tanks, packaging materials and various labels that emphasize the diversification of production of spirits that took place from the middle of xix th century .

Upstairs are the rooms that show the drinking and the customs associated with alcohol, which affect every moment of life: births, marriages, conscription for men … Until the years 1970, cafes are the main places of sociability.

The attic follows, where the aging of the kirsch and the secondary activities that the latter has developed ( basketry , cooperage ) are explained. We then come to a red and green room that tells us that from 1915, the year when the consumption and production of absinthe are banned, begins the decline of the distilleries Fougerollaises. But the production of kirsch is experiencing a revival from the 1950s, leading to the obtaining of the AOC for kirsch Fougerolles in 2010.

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