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RHEIN-REUSS-RHONE:

Valais

St.Léonard to Sion

23rd April 2021

Past a hermitage in a ravine to
the capital of Valais on two hills.

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Sion castle church of Valeria


We returned to St Léonard by train and bus, and then continued our way through the dormant vineyards (you can trudge through too many dormant vineyards - it gets monotonous after a while!) to the outskirts of Sion, where we booked into a hotel for the night, where we left our rucksacks and went into the town to look around.

Sion (or Sitten in German) is the capital of the Canton of Valais, and is recognizable from afar thanks to the high towers of Castle Tourbillon and the Castle Church of Valeria.

On the way, we took a detour across the valley and climbed along a wooded hillside to find a hermitage tucked away in the sides of a steep river gorge, the Hermitage Notre-Dame de Longeborgne, under the patronage of the Benedictine Monks, famous for its ex voto pictures, given in thanks for miraculous escapes from danger.

Sion itself is one of the most important pre-historic sites in Europe. The area has been settled nearly continuously since antiquity. The oldest trace of human settlement comes from 6200 BC during the late Mesolithic. The archeological site at Le Petit-Chasseur is well worth a visit.

As we strolled around the town in the late afternoon to evening, we were surprised to discover the old town thronged with people sitting outside enjoying a drink in the sunshine: this was the first days such behaviour was allowed in the COVID-19 pandemic!



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Map

Location of photos

(c) 2021 Angus Carrick

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Last updated: 2021-04-30