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A chalet, also called Swiss chalet, is a type of building or house, native to the Alpine region, made of wood, with a heavy, gently sloping roof with wide, well-supported, eaves, set at right angles to the front of the house.
The term chalet stems from Arpitan speaking part of Switzerland and Savoy and originally referred to the hut of a herder. It derives from the medieval Latin calittum, which might come from an Indo-European root cala that means shelter.
Many chalets in the European Alps were originally used as seasonal farms for dairy cattle which would be brought up from the lowland pastures during the summer months. The herders would live in the chalet and make butter and cheese in order to preserve the milk produced. These products would then be taken, with the cattle, back to the low valleys before the onset of the alpine winter. The chalets would remain locked and unused during the winter months. Around many chalets there are small windowless huts called mazots which were used to lock away valuable items for this period.