So it struck me today that "chalet" may not be the word the Swiss-Germans use to describe same. It is Swiss-French word. Can anyone tell me what the German speaking Swiss use to describe a chalet / Alpine cottage?
It depends which meaning of this word is meant.
If one thinks of a holiday home, it also is
But if one thinks of the original meaning as a mountain shelter, it would be
I am Swiss German, and "Chalet" just is a type of house, and has little to do with its location. It does not have to be in the mountains. For example, I grew up in a chalet in a city near Zurich, which is in the flatland.
The most important property of a chalet is that it's mainly built with wood, except the foundation. Also very typical is the gable roof with big overhang. A good example is this chalet.
Even though chalets are not explicitly linked to mountainous terrain, because they are so popular up there, one always thinks of mountains when hearing the term "Chalet". There are some mountain municipalities that do not allow construction of other houses than chalets, this is mainly for appearance and tourism.
To answer your question: Yes, Chalet is how we call this kind of house. There is no real synonym for it, for example "Hütte" (hut) is a more general term for house or a small house, sometimes even used derogatorively. A Hütte can be made of any material and can not be used as synonym for Chalet.
In Grisons (Graubünden) we mostly use Maiensäss which typically means a frugal but comfortable holiday-home in the mountains. Alphütte and Sennhütte are also in common use, but they imply that you live there to care for lifestock. Berghütte is more a shelter than a house for living in.
For me, from south Germany. Chalet is a natural word I'd use. Of course, south Germany isn't Switzerland, but from checking out Swiss-German websites, they use it just the same.
An alternative would be "Berghütte". However, that word implies something much less comfortable - a Berghütte is something I'd spend a night in on a hike; but I might spend a two-week vacation at a Chalet.
Chalet (frz.; von lateinisch
geschützter Ort») stammt aus der französischsprachigen Schweiz" ...the term
chalet (French, from Latin
protected place») originates from French-speaking Switzerland.
This means, they may use the same term. In Bavarian there are also many French loan words. The term "chalet" is being understood here, but not commonly used, in dialect it would be a
The most traditional Swiss
Chalet I could find: Holzchalet Les Haudères (with a mixed German/French name,
Les Haudères is a place). that's at least where there term comes from - meanwhile larger structures, with whole other purpose, may fall under that term, based upon where they are located and how their roof looks alike (the same applies for a