La Fondation Pierre Gianadda (Martigny, SWITZERLAND)

🖼 La Fondation Pierre Gianadda in 🇨🇭 Martigny (Switzerland) is one of my all time favourite museums!

The building itself is an architectural gem, 🖼 the exhibitions are varied and ambitious, and the 🐑🍏 sculpture garden is a real treasure trove.

Fondation Pierre Gianadda in springtime ©

La Fondation Pierre Gianadda : three museums in one (and a sculpture garden)

The 🖼 Fondation Pierre Gianadda (indoors) is three museums in one:

  • 🖼 there is the space dedicated to the current exhibitions (usually paintings, sculptures or photography) / see here;
  • 🏺 there is the Musée Gallo-Romain, with its collection of Gallo-Roman artefacts / see here;
  • 🚙 and there is the Musée de l’Automobile, a large room in the basement with a collection of vintage cars (about fifty vehicles dating from 1897 to 1939)! / see here;

And then there is the 🐑🍏 Parc de Sculptures, the outdoor museum! The landscaped outdoor space is home to some wonderful sculptures by renowned sculptors and some gallo-roman ruins. The gardens have been conceived to change with each season, and so a 🌸 spring visit is a totally different experience to a visit in 🍂 autumn or 🌼 summer or ❄️ winter. The museum’s gardens are actually a unique réserve naturelle, with lovely water fixtures accompanying you on your walk through the gardens, and also fig trees as a reminder of the days of the Roman Empire, European white birch, Austrian black pines and Japanese maple trees . . .

[ more information about the 🐑🍏 Parc de Sculptures here ]

Fondation Pierre Gianadda – plan du Parc de Sculptures © Fondation Pierre Gianadda

Temporary exhibitions

There are some fantastic and ambitious 🖼 temporary exhibitions organised here and every 6 months the main exhibition is changed. Past exhibtions have included: Cézanne, Klee, Goya, Rodin, Giacometti, Moore, Modigliani, Claudel, Chagall, Braque, Dégas, Manet, Dufy, Miró, Gauguin, Bonnard, Van Gogh, Picasso, Morisot . . . ).

🖼 upcoming exhibition: « Turner – The Sun is God », in collaboration with The Tate from 3rd March until 25th June 2023 / more information on website;

© Fondation Pierre Gianadda

Visiting La Fondation Pierre Gianadda with small children

Having already visited this fabulous museum in my life pre-children, I was keen to introduce our eldest to it when he was 18 months old . . . despite not being a museum geared towards small children specifically, there is still a great deal to keep little minds occupied, and so the visit was a success.

A 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 visit to La Fondation Pierre Gianadda with children takes a bit of planning, so here are some handy hints (tried and tested over the years by the MBFF team!):

🐑🍏 sculpture gardens – this is one museum that you don’t really want to visit on a ☔️ rainy day, as the Parc de Sculpture is a pure joy, and it would be a shame to miss this experience due to bad weather! There are sculptures that are really appealing to children (sheep, wolves, a giant apple, a giant thumb) . . .

. . . and are allowed to walk on the grass, there is a duck pond, giant bamboo, the remains of 🏺 Gallo-Roman thermal baths . . .

Fondation Pierre GianaddaChagall fountain ©

[ note: do bear in mind, of course, that the artwork is not a climbing frame (I did turn my back during one visit to find – to my horror – my littlest climbing a work by Chillida!) ]

The gardens have been planned to change with the seasons, so a spring or summer visit is very different to an autumn visit . . .

Fondation Pierre Gianadda in springtime ©

🍏 eating options: there are picnic tables in the sculpture garden, which is very handy. Alternatively, you could head to the 🏟 Roman ampitheatre (a hop and a skip away from the museum) for a picnic before or after your visit (a short walk through the car park and across a busy road; there are more picnic tables en-route). There is also a café / restaurant in the garden. For a really atmospheric ☕️ coffee stop, there is a small retro bar / café next to the cars in the basement! There are also many options for restaurants in Martigny town.

🚙 Musée de l’Automobile with young children, be sure to visit the vintage car display downstairs !

La Fondation Pierre Gianadda – vintage car collection ©

🐶 further options with very young children if your children are too young to enjoy the exhibition, and you find that they are being a little too unruly indoors and – hence – rendering your visit a bit too challenging (yes, this has on occasion happened to us!), then the adults can take it in turns to have a quiet moment in front of the 🖼 artwork, while the children are kept occupied outside (not alone, clearly!) / if you have a group that can divide (and conquer!), then the fabulous 🐶 Barryland – Musée et chiens du Saint-Bernard is a short walk away – this is a museum that little ones will enjoy!

🌈 playgrounds  there is a small playground opposite the museum and a couple more within walking distance to the museum (there is one next to the Salle du Midi car park, on rue Délèze 19);

The story behind the Fondation Pierre Gianadda

The engineer Léonard Gianadda discovered the 🏛 remains of an ancient Celtic temple in the spring of 1976. Shortly after this discovery, his beloved younger brother Pierre died while searching for help for his fellow survivors in the aftermath of a plane crash. In the wake of this tragic event, Léonard decided to create a foundation so that the memory of Pierre could live on, and he chose to build this on the grounds of the Celtic temple. The 🖼 Fondation Pierre Gianadda was very fittingly inaugurated on what would have been Pierre’s 40th birthday: 19th November 1978 – what a truly wonderful memorial to a loved one.

Fondation Pierre Gianadda in autumn ©

Practical Information 

🗓 opening hours: the museum is open daily, from November to June, 10h to 18h / and June until November, 9h to 19h;

♿️ handicapped access: please let the personnel at the reception know what is required (wheelchairs are available) / there are special ramps and lifts (maximum 220kg);

🎫 price: adults: CHF18 or 18€  / children (10+ years) and students: CHF10 or 10€ / families: CHF38 or 38€ (with children under 10 years!) / € accepted!

🅿 parking: there is plentiful FREE parking on-site;

🚞 train: if you are staying in the Chamonix Valley, then you could take the Mont Blanc Express train all the way to Martigny station (1hr45); from here, there are free shuttle buses that take you to the museum entrance;

📚 gift shop – there is a gift shop; a great stop for postcards and books!  You may be asked to leave big bags here!

[ good to know: visitors to the Fondation Pierre Gianadda are entitled to a 30% reduction on the admission price to Barryland – Musée et chiens du Saint-Bernard on presentation of their entrance ticket, and the reverse is also applicable ]

website & FB page

address: Fondation Pierre Gianadda, rue du Forum 59, 1920, Martigny, Switzerland
tel: +41 (0)27 722 39 78

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