Last Saturday, thanks to Corinne and her generous friend, we went to the town of Sion, using special offer train tickets. The weather that day was beautiful and the temperatures were very pleasant (20° C). We were extremely lucky...
We left Geneva at 7h30 in the morning and took the Cisalpino train (which goes all the way from Geneva to Venice, Italy) till Sion, the capital city of the canton of Valais, where we arrived 1h40 minutes later. There, we visited the town, saw some great momuments, bought 2 kilos of regional mountain cheese and sat on terraces sipping on cups of coffee.
Sion is a very old place that was already inhabited during Neolithic times. It's name takes it's origin from the Latin "Sedunum" which derives from the Seduni Celtic tribes that lived in this region and were conquered by the Romans during the first century BC. The Roman Catholic diocese of Sion is the oldest in Switzerland and one of the oldest north of the Alps, so it is not exactly a surprise if Valais is such a strongly Catholic canton (as opposed to Geneva which is Protestant).
This alluring and attractive town has a population of 27'000. It is situated in the valley of the Rhône and is surrounded by mountains as well as two rocky hills jutting incongruously from a relatively the flat countryside. The crest of both hills is adorned with the medieval Castle of Tourbillon (pics 3, 4, 6 and 9) and the Basilica of Valère (pics soon to follow) which are visible from afar and offer a magnificent spectacle.
Et pour les francophones, voici des liens en français:
Sion (voir lien I & lien II)
Canton du Valais (voir lien)
Vallée du Rhône (voir lien)
Basilique/Château de Valère (voir lien)
Château de Tourbillon (voir lien)