Val d’Anniviers, a new slow life destination

News - 6 May 2022
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The time seems to have stopped. Or at least, it has slowed down its frantic pace as if it wanted to catch its breath. Val d’Anniviers, with its Heidi-like setting, seems to belong to a more serene era. With its majestic mountains, splendid landscapes, and raccards, the valley has become a privileged destination for slow life enthusiasts.

Located two hours from Geneva and 40 minutes from Sion, Val d’Anniviers is home to six charming old-fashioned village-resorts that unfold along a winding road where the famous postal buses circulate. Each village tells its story in its own way in this wild and fascinating valley. At nearly 2000 meters above sea level, Chandolin flirts with the sky and clouds. This small village with minimalist structures, one of the highest inhabited in Europe, has hosted many personalities. It is where the Geneva adventurer Ella Maillart settled for six months a year after a life spent traveling in Asia.

Saint-Luc reaches for the stars with the François-Xavier Bagnoud Observatory, the Digital Planetarium, and the Path of the Planets. The medieval village of Vissoie communing with nature, and Vercorin is known for its sunny climate and nature reserve. In Vissoie, you can discover the church and the crypt of the castle chapel, beautiful examples of religious art. Zinal, a village of mountaineers, is located directly at the foot of peaks over 4000 meters high.

The Village of Geraniums
A multitude of bright red geraniums hanging from the wooden balconies of houses welcome visitors to Grimentz as soon as the beautiful days arrive. A magical spectacle that contributes to the fame of this little village straight out of a picture book. The tradition of geraniums in Grimentz probably dates back to the early 1900s. At that time, the stained glass windows of the church were decorated for the patronal feast on August 16th. But over the years, the geraniums became less and less numerous. An association of enthusiasts decided to revive this tradition by launching the Geranium Operation to reflower the village and strengthen its designation as “picturesque and flowery.” The stars of Grimentz, geraniums even have their own path. A didactic and fragrant walk that allows you to discover 34 different species. The principle: smell the leaves by rubbing them lightly between your fingers and try to recognize the scent.The small cobbled streets, the raccards (wooden granaries on stilts protecting wheat from rodents), and the church bring the visitor back to a long-gone era. At the heart of the village, the Grandmother’s House, now transformed into a museum, is said to have been built around 1529. It has preserved the original bedroom with its small windows and the granary with the pigsty below, one of the few still remaining.

A narrow alley leads to the Cave de la Bourgeoisie de Grimentz to taste the Vin du Glacier, typical of the Val d’Anniviers. The technique is unique: the barrels are never emptied. Each year, new wine is added to the old.8 km from Grimentz, surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the Alps, Zinal reveals a magnificent and powerful nature. It was Zinal and its peaks that, from the end of the 19th century, attracted tourists.From 1860, Zinal gained some notoriety as a summer resort and became a privileged place for English climbers. In 1857, the first alpine club, the British Alpine Club, was born, initiating the golden age of mountaineering. It was followed by its Austrian counterpart in 1862, Swiss and Italian in 1863, German in 1869, and French in 1874.

Ski in the Spotlight
The three magnificent ski areas – Grimentz-Zinal, Saint-Luc-Chandolin, and Vercorin – allow you to dive into the great white with joy. Skiing is available on about 220 kilometers of slopes, catering to all skiers. The high altitude offers some of the best snow conditions in the Alps. The presence of a heliport allows for connections to all official heliports in Switzerland and VIP transport from the airports of Geneva or Sion, or even Zurich. The areas also have a freeride area, where extreme skiers and snowboarders can tackle the vast spaces, and three snow parks. Cross-country skiers enjoy 19 kilometers of trails in Zinal. And for variety, why not descend the slopes on a sled, lace up your ice skates, thrill yourself with mountain carting, or climb the two icefalls of the Val d’Anniviers.

The paradise for hikers

Summer and winter, the Val d’Anniviers is full of sports activities. With 490 kilometers of hiking trails and a wide variety of routes, the valley is a paradise for both beginner and experienced hikers. In the summer, 15 long-distance loop hikes allow you to explore every corner of the Val d’Anniviers. For example, the mid-altitude loop starting from Grimentz that winds through the forest to the village of Mottec with a return via the old bisse des Morasses. The region can also be explored by reaching the summits with a hike that includes six high-altitude cabins.In winter, when the snow has covered the green pastures, it’s time to put on skis and discover the ten hiking trails designed for ski touring. Marked trails allow for hiking or snowshoeing, including night hikes along a 3.2 km route between Grimentz and Saint-Jean. An extraordinary symbiosis with nature.

Legendary Races

This year, the Val d’Anniviers hosted the queen stage of the Tour de Romandie. Sponsored by the Comptoir Immobilier Group, it led the riders from Aigle to Zinal, with the victory going to Colombian rider Sergio Higuita.

The Sierre-Zinal running race, created in 1974, has become a legend. Also known as the “Race of the Five 4,000s” named after the five mountains reaching over 4,000 meters visible from the course – Weisshorn (4,506 m), Zinalrothorn (4,221 m), Ober Gabelhorn (4,063 m), Cervin (4,478 m), and Dent Blanche (4,357 m) – it attracts around 6,000 participants from 63 nationalities each year. Its challenging 31-kilometer course, along with its breathtaking landscapes, makes it one of the most beautiful mountain races in the world.

The valley is also the setting for the Grand Raid, a 125 km marathon mountain bike race from Verbier to Grimentz, and the Rock The Besso / Zinal enduro mountain biking race. As for the extreme alpine trail of Besso / Zinal, it takes runners on almost forgotten old alpine paths, connecting the five huts in the bottom of the Val d’Anniviers.


Culture, gastronomy, and more

Boredom is nonexistent in the Val d’Anniviers. The Ella Maillart space in Chandolin traces the exceptional journey of this woman considered one of the greatest travelers of the 20th century. Near Grimentz, the monumental Moiry Dam, 148 meters high, captures attention with its dimensions and the incredible view it offers of the valley. In Zinal, history comes alive with a visit to the copper mine of La Lée, a witness to the mining industry of the Val d’Anniviers.

The authenticity of the valley is also expressed at the table with local products such as raclette d’Anniviers AOP, a raw and whole milk raclette cheese made according to an ancestral recipe, rye bread, and dried meats.


Charming Real Estate Project

This quality of life inspired the Comptoir Immobilier Group for its Guernerés Exclusive Lodge project. Located at the foot of the slopes and near the village of Grimentz, the high-quality project includes 16 chalets – individual or divided into apartments – and a residence housing 41 apartments, restaurants, a pool, a spa, a playroom for children, and a ski room. Owners will have access to a wide range of five-star hotel services.

The architecture follows the tradition of the Val d’Anniviers with old wood and dry stone, allowing the project to integrate harmoniously into its environment while strengthening the station’s range of services.

It is noteworthy that the Comptoir Immobilier Group is also working on another major project, located at the entrance of the village with a privileged location, offering panoramic views of the Weisshorn and access to an untapped thermal water source, which is still in the design stage.

copyright : sierre-anniviers


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