Stage town for the first time Capital of the district of Aigle in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland
Population:
10,500 (Aiglons and Aiglonnes)
Specialities: papet vaudois (Swiss potée), saucisson vaudois, white wines from the Chablais.
Personalities: Jacques Dubochet (former Nobel Prize winner in chemistry), Sébastien Buemi (car driver, F1, then WEC world champion), Pascal Richard, Laurent Dufaux (cycling), Xavier Gigandet, Lise-Marie Morerod (alpine skiing), Gaêtan Boucher (ice hockey), Luuk de Jong (football), Yu-Seng (breakdance)
Sport: World Cycling Centre (a high-level training and education centre including a velodrome, a BMX circuit and an athletics track. It also houses the headquarters of the International Cycling Union), Cyclophile Aiglon. Events: Grand Prix de la ville d'Aigle (track cycling, men's and women's events), Half-Marathon des Alpes Aigle-Tour d'Aï-Leysin
Economy: World cycling centre, services, Reitzel (condiment factory founded in 1909), Badoux wines, Zyma pharmaceuticals, Zwahlen et Mayr SA metal processing company.
Festivals: Mondial du Chasselas (international competition between different wines made from the Chasselas grape variety), Swiss Wine Tourism Prize, Fête des couleurs (multicultural festival).
Motto: Recta volat cum scientia et justica (She flies straight to the goal with knowledge and justice)
Labels: City of Energy.
Websites: www.aigle.chwww.aigle-leysin-lesmosses.ch

Vue sur Aigle © Ville de Aigle
© Ville de Aigle
Paysage d'Aigle © Jeremy Blatti

AIGLE, A STORY  

Capital of cycling... and of Chasselas  

The cultivation of vines has been part of Aigle's identity since the 8th century, when the first mention of vines in the city of Aigle was made. Indeed, the vineyard has left its mark on the Aigle landscape, as the town is surrounded by a sea of vines. Those vines produce the most famous Swiss wine, Chasselas (a dry white wine). Aigle is considered to be the centre of the Chasselas triangle, a region between Geneva, Biel and Sion, which accounts for 75 pc of the world's Chasselas production (for wine-making purposes). Historians trace its origins to the Egyptians, a hypothesis confirmed by the discovery of grape seeds. Legend has it that in 1523 a diplomat brought some plants from Constantinople to France. Opinions are divided as to whether the origin of Chasselas comes from France or whether the Romans had previously imported it... it is certain, however, that Chasselas has found a favourite place in the Pays de Vaud and in Aigle. The best Chasselas in the world are elected in Aigle every year since 2012 during the Mondial du Chasselas which takes place at the Château d'Aigle.

La ville d'Aigle entourée de vignes © Visualps - Matthias Lehmann

AIGLE AND CYCLING  

Aigle is the world capital of cycling as the host city of the International Cycling Union (UCI) (see below). While the facilities of the World Cycling Centre make it a hotspot for track cycling, Aigle also has a great road history. The town has hosted the Tour de Romandie six times, the last time in 2021 for the start of a stage won in Martigny by Peter Sagan. Aigle also hosted the Tour de Suisse in 1998.   

World Cycling Centre  

The UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC), which houses the headquarters of the International Cycling Union (UCI), is a high-level training centre. Inaugurated in 2002, it welcomes every year a large number of athletes from all over the world who devote all their energy to their sporting careers. The WCC trains and develops around 100 athletes per year in three Olympic disciplines (road, track and BMX). It regularly hosts training sessions organised by national federations. Its multi-sport facilities can accommodate specialists in many sports. The athletes of Swiss Athletics and the gymnasts of the Swiss Gymnastics Federation (FSG) train here almost daily.  Although it is geared towards high-level training, the WCC also aims to make its facilities accessible to local athletes and the general public. Its sessions for learners, open to all, allow people to discover the sensations experienced by the champions on the velodrome or on the BMX track.

Centre Mondial du Cyclisme © UCI

SIGHTS  

Aigle Castle

Foundation: end of the 12th century.
History: damaged by the Bernese during their conquest of the region in 1475, the castle was heavily rebuilt. After the Vaud Revolution of 1798, which drove out the Bernese and saw the canton of Vaud proclaim its independence within Switzerland, it was acquired by the Commune of Aigle. From 1804 to 1972 it was the seat of the court and the prisons. It also housed the town's poorhouse from 1804 to 1916.
Current purpose: houses the Vine and Wine Museum.
Listing: cultural property of national importance. www.chateauaigle.ch   

Cloister Church or former St. Maurice Church

Listing: cultural property of national importance.
Foundation: late 12th century.
Characteristic features: While the choir stalls date from the late 17th century, the pulpit dates from 1901.  
Zen Garden Area: 3,500 m2.
Location: a discovery of Asia in fifteen stages. From the Moon Gate to the Forbidden City Pagoda, passing through the Tea Pavilion and the Grotto of Love. The garden brings together hundreds of species of plants, which bloom with to the seasons.  

Jerusalem Street

Aigle has a mythical street, the Rue de Jérusalem, which has remained unchanged for centuries. Only its name dates from the 20th century. Walking along its cobbled floor, you can admire the superb old houses that are linked together by covered walkways.  

Cloister district

At the foot of the Château d'Aigle, the Cloister district, in the heart of the vineyards, is one of the oldest inhabited areas of the town. As you walk through the streets, time seems to stand still and the stroll is most contemplative before the climb to the castle. The Cloister district includes houses, the Protestant church, two restaurants with charming terraces, numerous cellars and of course the castle, the town's jewel since the 12th century. The narrow streets are an invitation to hang around. The high stone walls are decorated with flowers and the fountains are ideal refreshments. As far as the eye can see, the vineyards stretch up to the château.  

Espace Graffenried

The Espace Graffenried is an art exhibition space inaugurated on 8 September 2018 in the former Town Hall of Aigle, a 16th century building. On two floors of exhibitions, it aims to present and highlight artists and works linked with the Chablais region, as well as the commune's collections. On the first floor, thematic or monographic exhibitions are renewed twice a year, while the small room on the ground floor, reserved exclusively for the work of contemporary artists, presents four exhibitions per year. www.espacegraffenried.ch

© Ville de Aigle
Quartier du Cloître © A.S.O.
© Creative Commons 4.0/Flobert
© Ville de Aigle
Château d’Aigle et vignobles © Ville d'Aigle/Jeremy Blatti

TO DRINK  

The wines of Aigle  

The wines of the Aigle appellation enjoy an excellent reputation and can draw on a long and rich wine-making tradition. Their qualities are particularly prized in German-speaking Switzerland. With a total surface area of 132 hectares, the Aigle vineyards benefit from a privileged location, both in terms of climate and exposure. The whites account for the lion's share with 110 hectares. The reds, dominated by Pinot Noir, occupy nearly 22 hectares. The region of Aigle remains par excellence the land of Chasselas.

Vignobles à Aigle © Visualps - Matthias Lehmann

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