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Les bisses

Historic site and monument in Verbier
  • The "bisses" of the Valais

  • The bisses, which have been part of the Valais landscape since the 14th century, are witnesses to a veritable epic of the canton's economic and social life. Their construction was intended to ensure the irrigation of the meadows to obtain the fodder necessary for the breeding of livestock. Some of these structures are spectacular and span dizzying walls. Most of them have disappeared, victims of modernisation and economic transformation. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were still...
    The bisses, which have been part of the Valais landscape since the 14th century, are witnesses to a veritable epic of the canton's economic and social life. Their construction was intended to ensure the irrigation of the meadows to obtain the fodder necessary for the breeding of livestock. Some of these structures are spectacular and span dizzying walls. Most of them have disappeared, victims of modernisation and economic transformation. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were still more than 200 bisses, from the top of the Goms valley to the lower Valais. This represented some 1,800 km of canals, built by human hands and sometimes at the risk of their lives.

    The routes will take you through beautiful, gently sloping walks and through some of the canton's little-known and idyllic landscapes.

    All the start and end points of the routes are served by public transport. You can leave your private vehicle on the plain, near the starting station. It is advisable to take food and drink with you and to be well equipped.

    The Bisses are irrigation canals built by a private consortium and by non-profit associations. They do not belong to the community and are mainly used for agricultural and tourist purposes. Any damage entails significant restoration costs and calls into question their existence. Damaging the bank or throwing branches or other objects can lead to overflow.

    Mountain bikes are not allowed along the bisses and dogs must be kept on a leash, so as not to disturb walkers or wildlife.
  • Spoken languages
    • French
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