La Fondation Pierre Gianadda (Martigny)

ūüĖľ¬†La¬†Fondation Pierre Gianadda in ūüá®ūüá≠¬†Martigny, Switzerland is one of my all time favourite museums! There are some fantastic temporary exhibitions organised here (every 6 months the main exhibition is changed, and past exhibtions have included: Klee, Goya, Rodin, Giacometti, Moore, Modigliani, Claudel, Chagall, Braque, D√©gas, Manet, Dufy, Mir√≥, Gauguin, Bonnard, Van Gogh, Picasso, Morisot . . . ), the building itself is an architectural gem (to my eyes!) and the sculpture garden is a real treasure trove. ūüĆ≥The outdoor space changes with each season, and so a ūüĆ∑¬†spring visit is a totally different experience to a visit in ūüćā¬†autumn or summer or winter.

La Fondation Pierre Gianadda in springtime ©
Collection Merzbacher at La Fondation Pierre Gianadda ©

The ūüĖľ¬†Fondation Pierre Gianadda is three museums in one:

  • ūüĖľ¬†there is the space dedicated to the current exhibitions (usually paintings, sculptures or photography) / see here;
  • ūüŹļ¬†there is a collection of Gallo-Roman artefacts (Mus√©e Gallo-Romain);
  • ūüöô¬†and there is a room in the basement with a collection of vintage cars (about fifty vehicles dating from 1897 to 1939)!

The museum is also used to host ūüéĶ¬†classical concerts.

ūüĖľ¬†current¬†exhibition: ¬ę Rodin-Giacometti ¬Ľ – this exhibition brings together these two seminal sculptors and is the fruit of a partnership between the Paris-based Fondation Giacometti and the Mus√©e Rodin . . .

© 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. Fast forward a few more years, and with a now 7 year old and 4 year old in tow, the experience is a bit more challenging! But still manageable (just about!).

A visit with children takes a bit of planning, so here are some handy hints (tried and tested by the MBFF team!):

sculpture gardens – this is one museum that you don’t really want to visit on a ‚ėĒÔłŹ¬†rainy day, as the sculpture gardens¬†are a pure joy, and it would be a shame to miss this experience due to bad weather: as well as sculptures that are really appealing to children (sheep, wolves, a giant apple, a giant thumb), you are allowed to walk on the grass, there is a duck pond, giant bamboo, the remains of ūüŹļGallo-Roman thermal baths . . . 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!);

La Fondation Pierre Gianadda in springtime ©
La Fondation Pierre Gianadda in springtime – Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure ¬©

ūü揬†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 caf√© / restaurant in the garden. For a really atmospheric ‚ėēÔłŹ¬†coffee stop, there is a small bar / caf√© next to the cars in the basement!

ūüöô¬†vintage cars – be sure to visit the vintage¬†car¬†display¬†downstairs!

La Fondation Pierre Gianadda Рvintage 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 ūüĖľ¬†artwork, while the children are kept occupied outside (not alone, clearly!) / if you have a group that can divide, then the fabulous ūüź∂¬†Barryland ‚Äď Mus√©e et chiens du Saint-Bernard¬†is a short walk away – this is a museum that little ones will enjoy!

ūüĆą¬†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 D√©l√®ze 19). See here for a list of playgrounds in Martigny.

The story behind the Fondation Pierre Gianadda

The engineer L√©onard 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, L√©onard 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.

La Fondation Pierre Gianadda Рa wonderful tribute to a loved one ©

Opening hours

ūüóstthe museum is open daily: from November to June,¬†10h to 18h / and June until November,¬†9h to 19h;

Handicapped access


adults: CHF 20 /¬†senior citizens (60+ years): CHF 16 /¬†children (10+ years) and¬†students: CHF¬†12 /¬†families: CHF 42 / ‚ā¨ accepted!

good to know: visitors to the Fondation Pierre Gianadda are entitled to a 30% reduction on the admission price to¬†Barryland ‚Äď Mus√©e et chiens du Saint-Bernard¬†on presentation of their entrance ticket, and the reverse is also applicable;

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

ūüöė¬†parking:¬†there is plentiful FREE parking on-site;

ūüö쬆train: 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.

ūüďö¬†gift shop ‚Äď there is a gift shop; a great stop for postcards and books! ¬†You may be asked to leave big bags here!

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