Monday, July 27, 2015


We went to the Alpine village of Bourg-St-Pierre in Valais for the Trail du Vélan, a 45km trail race. It's a beautiful village and I enjoyed exploring its secrets while Daniel achieved a top ten finish!

Bourg-St-Pierre is known as the gateway to Italy as it is the last village in Switzerland before the Italian border. It has an important historical tale as it has been the thoroughfare of Hannibal, Roman troops, the Saracens, soldiers and troops of Charlemagne and Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as pilgrims, travellers, smugglers and traders crossing the Alps through the St Bernard's Pass.

The village of Bourg-St-Pierre

The ruins of Chateau du Bourg just outside the village

The Valsorey valley leading towards Italy

Bourg-St-Pierre is also home to Le Moulin du Valsorey, an old mill dating from 1681 which was built along the Valsorey River. The mill was restored and now offers tours throughout the year and a mulled wine party at Christmas. I enjoyed investigating the old mill workings and reading up about the last meunier, Eric Max.

Bridge over the Valsorey River leading to the mill on the left

The old mill house

The mill workings

The region is famous for its rich fauna and flora, and I discovered the La Linnaea Alpine Garden which was opened in 1889. This is a small botanical garden set into the mountains with beautiful little trails and a well-labelled cross-section of Alpine plant species.

Le Jardin Alpin

Daniel's race went well although the conditions were tough at the start. The race began at 4:30am and it was pouring with rain. He headed off in the cold, wet, darkness and emerged a few hours later in 9th place and sunshine!

Running happily towards the finish line in Bourg-St-Pierre

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