There are 20 villages and hamlets in Bagnes municipality. Here is a short introduction to each of them.
The hamleet of Bonatchiesse, on the right bank of the Dranse, between Fionnay and Mauvoisin, is protected by the Couï forest and is only inhabited part of the year. Winter access is very difficult because of the many avalanche corridors. Summer, however, sees many activities. There is a campsite in the larch forest and a Federal Queen Bee Fertilisation Station.
Altitude: 1'577 m
Bruson is the second ski area of Bagnes. The slopes are North-East, South-East and East facing, offering exceptional snow conditions. Bruson is also closely tied to agriculture, as shown by its famous cheese dairy or the experimental Fougères domain, where specialists grow diverse small fruit and medicinal plants.
Altitude: 1'050 m
Population: 351 inhabitants
Patron saint: St-Michel (8th of May)
Champsec is recognisable from afar, nestled at the foot of a small hall on which is situated the chapel. Because of its higher position, the chapel was almost all that remained after the Giétroz flood in 1818 which destroyed the village. Champsec is also home to the Pierre Ollaire museum, the region's typical wood-burning stove often called simply the "Bagnard":
Altitude: 900 m
Population: 295 inhabitants (including La Montoz)
Patron saint: St-Bernard (15th of June)
The last village at the top of the Bagnes Valley, Fionnay is the starting point for numerous hikes in the direction of Louvie or Pannossière. Its "mazots" or mini-chalets are primarily used as Summer homes, nestled between the foot of the mountain and the artificial lake which forms part of the Mauvoisin hydro-electric power station. The Mauvoisin dam, the highest arch dam in Europe, is upstream and makes for an interesting excursion destination during the Summer season. On the way, the small hamlet of Bonatchiesse is worth a visit (see above), where the Dranse river winds its way through a plateau covered in larch trees.
Altitude: 1'490 m
Population: 33 habitants
Half way between Le Châble and Verbier, Fontenelle is split into two parts: Fontenelle Dessous et Fontenelle Dessus. At the entrance to the higher part of the hamlet, the Vernays chapel can be found, on a terrace overlooking the valley. The chapel was built in 1950 following thousand of hours of volunteer work dedicated to Notre Dame des Ardents.
Altitude: 1'050 m
Population: 91 inhabitants
Le Châble is the chief village of Bagnes municipality and houses the municipal administration building. This is found at the heart of the village, in a square recently renovated as a convivial meeting place. There are many buildings of interest in Le Châble, such as the 15th Century gothic church containing Stations of The Cross by the Bagnard painter Félix Corthay, or the former rectory which is now the Bagnes Museum, or the Abbey which dates from 1646.
Altitude: 820 m
Population: 477 inhabitants
Patron saint: St-Maurice
Le Cotterg is situated above Villette and contains an important reminder of earier times: the communal oven. Before, every village had one and each family was able to bake its own bread. Particularly well-preserved, the Cotterg oven is still regularly used to bake Seigle or Cressin bread. A wander through the streets brings back the calm atmosphere of former days.
Altitude: 870 m
Population: 237 inhabitants
A hamlet between Champsec and Lourtier, Le Fregnoley gives its name to torrent whose waters are captured at the hydroelectric plant of Champsec.
Altitude: 996 m
Population: 14 inhabitants
Separated into two distinct parts – Les Places d'en-Bas et les Places d'en-Haut – this hamlet is the link between Versegères and la Montoz. The famous smuggler and counterfeiter from the Valle d'Aosta, Farinet (1845 - 1880) stopped in the village's small tavern.
Altitude: 881 m (Les Places d'en-Haut)
Population: 68 inhabitants
From the heart of Le Châble, the road takes two directions on the left bank: following the Dranse river up to the Haut Val de Bagnes, or winding its way to Bruson, the Valley's second ski resort. Before arriving it travels through Le Sapey, a small tradtional village stretched out along a gentle slope.
Altitude: 960 m
Population: 147 inhabitants
Lourtier seems to control access to the Haut Val de Bagnes. The village occupies the last plateau before the two sides of the Dranse river rejoin. In 1932, the building of the church designed by Alberto Sartoris made the national press: its concrete and sloped roof were seen as too extreme in the middle of a mountain village. Lourtier is also the birthplace of Jean-Pierre Perraudin, the inventor of glaciology, whose home is now the Glacier Museum.
Altitude: 1'070 m
Population: 382 inhabitants
Patron saint: St-George (23rd of April)
A building site village during the construction of the dam and its installations (1947 - 1964), Mauvoisin (1'840 m) is the end point of the road up from the bottom of the Bagnes Valley. The Mauvoisin hotel, built in 1862, is still in use and is today the oldest in the municipality. The Mauvoisin chapel was once a watch-tower of the Lords of Quart of the Aosta Valley, transformed in the 18th Century. As for the dam, it is the highest arch dam in Europe (250 m) and can retain up to 205 million cubic metres of water.
Altitude: 1’840 m
Mayens de Bruson
Louis Courthion wrote in 1908, "If the 'mayens' which rise on the left bank as far as the Six-Blanc don't provide the only view of the 'mayens' of Verbier, they are notable for other charms and changeable aspects. With less sun, these slopes nevertheless have a perennial value, with more intimacy and mystery. The two main routes through the wooded and grassy expanses meet at the Mayens de Moay, rich in beauty, equal to anything in Clambin for anyone who wishes to start a hotel or open rooms for a loyal and stable clientèle".
In 1961 the «Télésiège des Mayens de Bruson SA» society was created. One year later, the La Côt/ Moay skilift was opened. The La Pasay lift (replaced later by a chairlift) and the Bruson/ La Côt chairlift were put into operation. In 1976, the first stage of investment for the Grand Tsai lift was achieved.
Today, the development plan for the Mayens de Bruson is one of the most important in Bagnes. The municipal administration strongly supports the planned development with a significant financial investment. Thanks to high quality links between Le Châble and Verbier, this region can be considered a sector of Verbier, providing a year-round welcoming and tranquil environment.
Altitude: 1’500 m
Population: 83 inhabitants
The last village on the road leading to Verbier, traditional Médières provides a contrast to the tourist resort. Many"mazot" chalets, turned dark brown by the sun, still house a herd of the famous Hérens race of cows. There is also a goat shed.
Altitude: 1'280 m
Population: 223 inhabitants
Patron saint: St John
Montagnier is found on the right bank of the Dranse. Formerly separate from Le Châble, the hamlet has grown and is now part of the chief village's agglomeration. An excellent location, Montagnier has become a sought after residential area. This is also why the municipality chose Montagnier as the location for La Providence, the Bagnes old people's home.
Altitude: 840 m
Population: 530 inhabitants (including Le Diablay)
Patron saint: Saint Stephen (26th of December)
Prarreyer is a village of living traditions. The first is certainly the breeding of Hérens cowns. The youth of the village also keep traditions alive. On every important feast day, such as Swiss National Day on the 1st of August, they cook local dishes whose recipes have been handed down by word of mouth through the generations.
Altitude: 860 m
Population: 318 inhabitants (including Le Martinet, Le Liappey et Le Creusy)
Perched on the sunny hillside on the right bank of the Dranse, the mazots of Sarreyer are certainly the most sun-burnished. At the heights of Summer, the village streets reach Mediterranean temperatures. At the exit of the village, towards the appropriately named Route du Soleil, a water mill powers a log saw, a fulling mill for fruit and a flour mill. This is the Sarreyer Log saw and Mill.
Altitude: 1'240 m
Population: 257 inhabitants
Patron saint: St-Andrew (30 novembre)
A mountain village that has retained an alpine character thanks to its wooden and stone chalets. Verbier resort has 50'000 inhabitants at the heights of the tourist season. Verbier life is based around snowsports. Summer is enlivened by important events such as the Verbier Festival and international showjumping competition. There is also an 18 hole golf course, a sports centre and the Hameau de Verbier with its alpine museum.
Verbier is built on an idyllic South-facing plateau, a veritable amphitheatre that was just pasture in the 1930s. The village itself is separate from the resort, particularly the Bry area.
Altitude of the resort: between 1'450 and 1'700 m
Altitude of the central roundabout: 1'500 m
Altitude of the village: 1'400 m
Population: 2996 inhabitants
Patron saint: St-Bartholomew
Since the 1970s Versegères has had a world-class ambassador: Roland Collombin. This ski champion brought his village international fame, thanks to his many victories in Kitzbühel and his gold medal at the Sapporo Olympic Games in 1972. The village has retained its charm and a walk through its inter-linked streets offers a moment of relaxation and calm.
Altitude: 890 m
Population: 410 inhabitants
Patron saint: St. Peter (1st of August)
Once separate from Le Châble, Villette is now part of the agglomeration, along with Le Cotterg. On the right-side of the Dranse river, Villette groups together a number of traditional buildings nestled together. One of them, the Ancienne Demeure, is a preserved example of a typical habitat, from the time when agriculture was the region's primary economic activity. Still in the heart of Villette, the fulling mill and Oreiller forge show the ingenuity of the village ancestors, who harnessed the power of the torrent.
Altitude: 820 m
Population: 778 inhabitants