13th & 15th june 2008 – On site casting of the Millenium Bell, in Menthon Saint Bernard (74)

Within the context of the festivities aimed to celebrate the millenium of Saint Bernard de Menthon; the mayor of Menthon has ordered a bell  which will add to the tessitura of the Carillon in Menthon's church, from the Paccard Bell Foundry.. 

A magical setting...

In the aim of sharing this event with Menthon's inhabitants as well as with neighbouring towns, the bell was cast in the courtyard of Menthon's Castle. Could anyone dream of a more idyllic setting for such a great show ! Even the bell casters were susceptible to the magical moment...




The casting of a bell is always a magical moment. It is preceded by a number of metallurgic processes aimed to purify the molten metal; and thus garanteering the quality of the future bell. During these spectaculor processes, it wasn't difficult for the specators to note that the bell casters didn't have 'cold eyes' speaking in both litteral and figurative sense (look at the photo shown beneath)...

Last temperature test before the casting of the bell
dedicated to the millenium (1000th century) of Saint Bernard de Menthon

Educational stands

The on-site casting went on for three days. To enable the young generation to make the most of the event, the educational workshops were organised on the friday, at the end of the afternoon and on the saturday morning. This event enabled the children, from Menthon's two schools; to discover at the same time a culturel, religious and craft heritage, and all this thanks to the Paccard know-how.


By organising an on-site casting just like the one at Menthon, the Paccard Foundry is actually reviving the tradition of the first bell casters. The travelling 'saintiers', as they were called at the time, cast the bells on site. This was due to the problems caused by the weight and handling of the bells. The bell founders became settled at the time of the industrial revolution.


The on-site casting at Menthon reached far beyond the context of just a bell-casting. the museum and the Paccard Foundry put all their technical, musical and educational know-how into this event making it a festivity shared by many and wich will stay in everyone's mind for a long time.…

Song & Carillon Concert 

The Song and Carillon Concert, that preceded the friday evening casting session, enabled around 200 spectators; who dared to brave the unseasonal temperatures, to patiently wait until the metal had reached a temperature of 1200°C. For the occasion, the musical sculpture "Ars Sonora" usually used  to animate Song & Carillon Concerts in the PACCARD Museum, had been brought on site.

With a tessitura of 19 bells, this musical sculpture delighted both children and adults, giving them a general musical idea of the sonority of Menthon's future bell...


22h00 casting of 7 bells; one of which being the Fa#7 of the carillon,
in front of the amazed spectators

Turning out

The bell, after polishing


In addition to the bell intended for the churche's carillon, 6 bells were cast on that evening. They were ordered by private persons and this thanks to the Paccard Foundry new personalized on-line sales website: www.campanuna.com . Each one of these bells is unique. In memory of Menthon's millenium, they will bear the coat of arms of the town of Menthon, as well the effigy of the Patron Saint. Sunday 15th, at last after two days of cooling down, 300 people took part in the turning out of the bell. This is the true birth of the bell, which is removed from the mould and can be seen for the very first time. This was followed by the polishing process and at the close of the messe dominicale, the blessing of the bell. Moments filled with emotion...

Blessing of the bell
by the priest Xavier de Daumas

Credits photographs: André Menu, with many thanks from the Paccard Foundry...

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