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Did you know that Samoëns is famous for their masons and stonecutters. Stone has long been a traditional feature of the Upper Giffre Valley which is dotted with limestone quarries. To supplement their income from farming, the men in the region used to work stone. In 1659, there were so many frahans (the local name for stonecutters and masons) in Samoëns and their expertise was so well known that they set up a very famous brotherhood. It engaged in charity work, taking care of the sick and training young apprentices in its own school of draughtsmen, which had an extensive library. The members of the brotherhood of masons and stonecutters in Samoëns were contacted for leading construction projects. They worked with Vauban on his fortifications, were commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to build canals in Saint-Quentin, and worked in Givors and even further afield, in Poland, Louisiana and Australia. To ensure that they were not understood by outsiders when talking to each other, they used their own dialect, called mourmé. Evidence of their work can be seen all over the village, in its architecture. Even now, there are a number of stonecutters upholding the tradition in Samoëns and the brotherhood has become a cultural association, the Société des Maçons.
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