Vivier’s amphitheatre© Valais tourism
• 1st-time stage-town
• Population 16,000
• Town in Valais canton (Switzerland)
A small Gallo-Roman town with a rich historical past, Martigny is the cultural capital of the Valais region. Indeed, its cultural life is punctuated by its numerous artistic and cultural exhibitions. The Pierre-Gianadda Foundation, the Saint-Bernard Dog Museum and the Multimedia Library are its flagship attractions.
Situated in the triangle formed by the Great Saint-Bernard Pass (towards Italy), the Forclaz Pass (towards France) and the banks of the Rhône, Martigny harbours a rich palette of historical and architectural treasures. Dominating the town from on high looms the Bâtiaz Castle Tower, a fortress dating from the 13th century. Among other riches, the town boasts a 5 000 seat amphitheatre and numerous excellently preserved vestiges from the Gallo-Roman era.
Martigny is also a haven for gourmets: the expert cultivation and production of asparagus and tomatoes begins here, along with the William pears and apricots that are used to make the famous Morand fruit brandies.
With the abundant sunshine of a Mediterranean climate, the town’s inhabitants readily affirm that “he South starts in Martigny”.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice church© Tourism offi ce of Les Arcs
• 2-time stage-town
• Population 8,000
• Capital of Savoie canton (73)
Situated at the gateway to the Haute-Tarentaise and the Mont Blanc, close to the Franco-Italian border, Bourg-Saint-Maurice – with its winter sports resort, Les Arcs - lays claim to the outstanding assets of a pleasant little mountain town of 8000 inhabitants. Its location, at the foot of the world’s most prestigious mountain passes and ski area, has earned this highly popular winter and summer holiday destination, international acclaim as a mega-resort. Situated close to the Vanoise National Park, the currents of the Isère River, flowing through the town, facilitated the development of an international fresh torrent watercourse that regularly hosts major water sport events. Bourg-Saint-Maurice – Les Arcs is a town with an avant-garde strategy of authentic innovation. The most striking example of this is the design and development of the site, perfectly integrated in the alpine landscape of Les Arcs, the fruit of the work of a group of inventive architects. Proud of an excellently conserved natural terrain, resolutely turned towards the future, notably with a venture to launch a leisure complex developed around a hot water spring with therapeutic virtues, Bourg-Saint-Maurice – Les Arcs is establishing itself as an all-encompassing tourist destination that combines quality of life, leisure activities and the great outdoors.