Return to basics

Togetherness, authenticity and local products for the whole family

Sharing quality time with your loved ones, meeting the locals, listening to them talk about their products and then tasting them. The Val de Bagnes is waiting for you to come and discover all the wonders of its terroir.

This summer marks an important anniversary and you want to celebrate in style. For the occasion, you’ve invited family members from every generation – your wife, your son, his wife and their 6-year-old daughter – to spend a few days with you in the mountains. You love their company, you love local products and you’ve always dreamt of learning how to make raclette cheese. Well, that’s decided then – this trip is all about that. And there’s only one place to go: the Val de Bagnes! Combining all of its different aspects, Verbier guarantees you an amazing infinite playground!

The sun is already high in the sky when you arrive at Le Châble on a Wednesday morning in July. Before you get to Le Mazot de Fionnay, where you’ll spend the next couple of nights, you stop off at the tourist office to book activities for the whole family. Then, you head to the little corner of paradise where you’ll be staying – Fionnay, a charming village nestled high up in the Val de Bagnes. Fanfan and Christophe Bellwald have converted their traditional “mazot” farmhouse into a restaurant with a bed and breakfast. The place is comfortable and tastefully decorated. You’re dying to relax, but you have something else on your mind. Firstly, take time to enjoy the restaurant’s salads and regional specialities before returning to Le Châble where a real journey back in time awaits you.

At 1:30 pm sharp, you board the little Train des Combins. This takes you to Bruson where you’ll learn all about the history of raclette. Your granddaughter, initially excited by this journey, ends up getting lost looking out along the railway at the pastures that stretch as far as the eye can see. In Villette, at the old Forge Oreiller – one of the region’s museums – you’ll find out how the huge bells worn by the Hérens cows – the bell-ringers – were made. Then you walk to the village of Bruson where you visit the Raclette exhibition and taste some of the hand-picked cheeses. The cherry on the … cheese? The trip is free and includes the train as well as the museum tours!

Tonight’s the big night. To celebrate your birthday in style, you’ve picked an unusual venue: Raclett House. Eddy Baillifard, its cheery owner, is a true ambassador for the Val de Bagnes. Deeply attached to his native Valais and passionate about cheese, he is Mr Raclette himself! Raclette, of course, and other Valaisan dishes and local specialities are on the menu and you’re in for a treat.

In the morning, you join your family at the breakfast table with a smile on your face. You’ve had an amazing night, and waking up to the sound of chatter is a real delight. The breakfast of local products is lovingly prepared by Fanfan and Christophe and is the crowning glory in this moment of happiness.

The post bus then takes you to Lourtier – free of charge thanks to the Verbier Infinite Playground Pass given to you by your hosts. The activity planned for this second day – “Au fil du goût” – is organised by the Association des Paysans et Artisans de Sarreyer. Jean-Daniel and Mauricette Fellay welcome you to their farm which has 10 cows, 200 ewes, 8 donkeys, 75 hens, 1 dog and 2 cats. You’ll visit the barn and get to know the different residents before taking a closer look at the cheese-making process. As well as “P’tite Tomme de Mauricette” and other cheeses with herbs, raclette cheese is, of course, the main attraction. You can taste it, melted, for lunch. After that, a producer of medicinal and aromatic plants waits to take over for the rest of the schedule. This is the perfect moment to pass on your passion for mountain flora to your granddaughter. At the end of the afternoon, you take the bus back to Le Mazot and all spend a relaxed evening together.

You leave Fionnay the next day with a yearning desire to come back soon. But your visit isn’t quite over yet! For lunch, you plan to treat your loved ones to a delicious meal at the hotel La Vallée restaurant in Lourtier. It’s mainly the menu that catches your eye because it’s filled with dishes made of regional produce from the hotel’s vegetable garden! That’s what’s called eating local!

For the finishing touch to an unforgettable stay, a taxi waits in front of the Tourist Office in Le Châble to take you to the Col des Planches. From there it’s a one-hour walk to the Mont-Chemin mine. Jumpers are recommended! This activity is also included in the VIP Pass and concludes with cheese tasting. Finally, on the way back, your eyes light up again as you look back on these three fabulous days. As for us, we kept our promise: In Verbier, anything’s possible.

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