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The Bagnes Heritage

The building of the Mauvoisin dam and the development of the resort of Verbier signalled the beginning of Bagnes's transition from an ancient rural civilisation to modernity. This change brought about a growing interest in the rich heritage of the Bagnes valley. Since the beginning of the 1970s, the Bagnes municipality has been actively protecting its heritage.

Around forty mountain pasture buildings spread throughout the territory constitute an exceptional group. The vaulted stables in particular are worthy of admiration. Stone buildings 20 metres long and 5 metres wide, built at an altitude of over 2000 metres, they date back to the beginning of the 19th Century. Their roofs in harmony with the natural relief of the terrain, they are wonderfully integrated within the countryside. Similarly the "Îtres" - shelters for shepherds and places to make cheese - or the storehouses and cheese cellars.

In the villages, the memory of rural activity is kept alive through the preservation of flour mills, communal ovens and fountains. Two important structures are in working order during the Summer Season: the Forge Oreiller in Villette and the Sarreyer Log Saw and Mills.

Religious architecture is omniprescent. It bears witness to a half-centry of architectural evolution. The parish church, a gothic structure from the beginning of the 16th Century - the clock is dated 1488 - is the prinicipal element of a site which includes an ossuary, built around 1560, and the former rectory, a charming 16th Century building which today houses the Bagnes Museum. In many sites, 17th Century chapels can be found as well as several contemporary structures including the Lourtier chapel (architect : Alberto Sartoris). 

Beyond the inhabited zones, there are physical reminders of different periods of local history. The ruins of the Verbier "Castle" look down on the valley. the Mauvoisin bridge (1828) is a counterpoint to the Mauvoisin dam. The "bisses" irrigation channels have sometimes left a trace in the countryside or, in the case of Verbier, Bruson or Corbassières, are once again carrying water following renovation work. The territory is home to many stone "basins" whose origin is still a subject of debate and widely differing opinion, as show in the book Pierres à cupules.

A description can never be exhaustive, with every corner of the territory preserving traces of ancient activitiy: cart tracks, inscriptions on storehouse lintels, furnaces, abandoned mines. There are so many examples of the local heritage to discover whilst travelling through the Bagnes Valley.

Department of Tourism
Department of Culture

Contact people

Bertrand Deslarzes
Chef de service de la culture
Maison de Commune
Route de Clouchèvre 30
1934 Le Châble VS
Phone : +41 27 777 11 49
Fax : +41 27 777 11 01
Contact
Julie Lapointe Guigoz
Archiviste et conservatrice des musées et du patrimoine
Maison de Commune
Route de Clouchèvre 30
1934 Le Châble VS
Phone : +41 27 777 11 21
Fax : +41 27 777 11 01
Contact
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