The small ski station of Rathvel was created by one family. After the ski lifts, a restaurant, a playground and a little train, a chapel was built on the site.

The history of Rathvel began in 1975, with the construction of its first ski lift, powered by a generator. Over the years, two ski lifts have been added and electricity installed. This increasingly popular site is also visited in the summer. It has been enhanced with a children's playground, a little train and a mini zoo.

The manager decided to build a chapel in memory of his deceased brother, which would also serve as a peaceful refuge for all. As the building authorisation was taking time to come through, he began the work anyway, in 2003. Nature lovers opposed the building plans, however: the site is located in a protected area on the edge of a marsh where amphibians come to breed. Having received a special authorisation on appeal, the chapel was completed, but had to be moved in 2011. A helicopter lifted the walls and roof and set them down 250 metres away, down from the refreshment area.

The oratory is built in wooden chalet style: raw wooden logs are fitted to one another to form a solid building. Windows provide light, and a bell chimes practically at the moment of each visit.

The wetland at the origin of the dispute is a low marsh supplied by groundwater rich in nourishing substances. It has lush vegetation, and is home to numerous species. A few centuries ago, peat used to be cut here. The plot was later abandoned, turning into marshland.

The marsh is home to three species of amphibian: the common toad, the common frog and the alpine newt. They can sometimes be spotted in the springtime. Dragonflies, the spotted orchid and the salad burnet are easier to spot, however, especially with the help of the information boards.




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