The Municipality of Le Chenit
The denomination “Le Chenit” is purely political, as none of the villages in the municipality carries this name. Its origins appeared for the first time in 1489 as “Chinit”. This term was then transformed into “chenil”, “chenu” and finally “tsneu”. “Tsneu”, which means “branches of dry beech giving a vivid gleam”, seems to be the most probable source of the current name. Four villages compose the Municaplity of Le Chenit: Le Sentier (government decision of November 17th 1900), L’Orient (May 9th 1904), Le Brassus (November 23rd 1908) and Le Solliat.
With an area of 100 km2, the Municipality of Le Chenit is the second largest in the Canton of Vaud. In addition, it has the 4th largest forested area in Switzerland after the Bourgeoisies of Bern, Poschiavo and Zernez. The total area consists of 2463 hectares of productive forest and 800 hectares of pastureland.
The growth of this municipality has followed the same curve as the watchmaking industry. After a stable increase from the fifties on, it slowed down in the middle of the seventies after the restructuring of the big watchmaking groups.
The industrial area of Le Chenit, in Le Sentier, is one of the latest achievements within the Municipality, which gives small and medium-sized enterprises the possibility of developing their activity in spacious and transformable premises. This area facilitates the establishment of new enterprises, anxious to share their know-how with those who are already renowned within watchmaking, micro-mechanics or electronics.
As for tourism in the Municipality of Le Chenit, aquatic sports, cross-country skiing and hiking have been well known to the public for quite some years now. The Sports Centre in Le Sentier receives many visitors every year, who are pleased to benefit from four tennis courts (two indoors and two outdoors), indoor baths with a wading pool, an ice rink, an all-round sports hall including a climbing-wall, bodybuilding, fitness training as well as shooting.