We are lucky to have some 🖼 wonderful museums 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, many housed in architectural gems (old, new and renovated). . . and as well as their permanent collections, they also offer 🖼 temporary exhibitions and 🎨 workshops for children and families over the school holidays!
We are also lucky if we live (or are visiting!) the 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, as we are at the crossroads with two other countries: Switzerland (either over the col de Forclaz from Vallorcine to Martigny or towards Geneva from Sallanches) and 🇮🇹 Italy (through the Mont-Blanc tunnel). And there are some wonderful museums in these neighbouring countries!
⇒ see MBFF articles:
- 🖼 MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS au Pays du Mont-Blanc here;
- 🖼 MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS in nearby FRANCE here;
- 🖼 OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITIONS & EPHEMERAL OUTDOOR ART here ]
On the 🗓 FIRST SUNDAY of the MONTH in 🇨🇭 Geneva & Nyon, many museums and temporary exhibitions are FREE !!!
And on the first Saturday of the month in Lausanne, many museums and temporary exhibitions are FREE !!!
🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc
Fondation Pierre Gianadda (Martigny)
This fabulous museum in Martigny hosts a couple of temporary exhibitions every year, and in addition to these, the building itself is an architectural gem, and the sculpture garden is lovely, the leaves on the trees changing with each season (it is hence worth visiting this museum on a fine weather day, and not reserving it for a rainy day option!). The Fondation Pierre Gianadda is three museums in one: there is the space dedicated to the temporary exhibitions, there is a collection of Gallo-Roman artefacts (Musée Gallo-Romain), 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 classical concerts / opening hours: daily, from 10h to 18h November to June and from 9h to 19h June until November / price: adults CHF18, children CHF10 and families CHF38;
current exhibition: « Jean Dubuffet: en collaboration avec le Centre Pompidou, Paris »;
Barryland – Musée et Chiens du Saint Bernard (Martigny)
This museum is set across three floors, with the ground floor devoted to its 🐶 Saint-Bernard dogs. Visitors can view the dogs in their kennels and there is a large outdoor space where they play. At various stages during the day, there are some “ meet and greet ” moments with the dogs. On the first floor, visitors can learn about the history of the Great Saint-Bernard Pass and on the second floor there is an interactive exhibition about Saint-Bernard dogs, perfect for children. The museum organises 🎨 family activities and workshops on this floor / good to know – you can often see a fresh batch of adorable puppies at the museum AND there is an incredible Easter egg hunt here on Easter Monday (tried and tested and so, so, so enjoyed by the MBFF team!), and a visit from le Père Noël at Christmastime / opening hours: every day (except 24th & 25th December) 10h to 18h / price: CHF12 and children 8+ years CHF 7;
[ ⇒ to read about MBFF’s experience, see separte article here ]
website & FB page address: Fondation Barry-Barryland – Musée et chiens du Saint-Bernard, rue du Levant 34, 1920, Martigny, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)27 720 49 20;
Musée des Sciences de la Terre: La Fondation Tissières Martigny
Located just off the main square in Martigny, this museum has some permanent exhibitions (alpine minerals, crystals & geology; a reconstructed mine; marble from Valais – see here), as well as temporary ones / opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday and weekends 13h30 until 17h / price: adults CHF6, 11 to 18 year olds CHF3 and under 10s FREE!
website address: avenue de la Gare 6, 1920, Martigny (same building as Office de Tourisme;
GENEVA & ENVIRONS
In Geneva and Nyon, many museums and exhibitions are FREE on the first Sunday of the month! Here is the super website covering Geneva’s many museums, with links direct to museum websites too
Botanical Gardens (Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques Genève)
There are sometimes exhibitions at these fabulous botanical gardens located near 💦 Lac Léman – either indoors in the greenhouses or library, or outdoors in the nature . . .
[ ⇒ to read more about MBFF’s visit(s) to these beautiful gardens, see separate article here ]
website & FB page address: Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, chemin de l’Impératrice 1, 1292, Genève;
Muséum Genève (Natural History Museum)
The fabulous Muséum Genève (Natural History Museum) is still one of our go-to rainy day options! / opening hours: 10h to 17h every day (except Monday) / good to know: on the first Sunday of the month, this museum’s temporary exhibitions are FREE!
[ ⇒ see see MBFF article for more details for more practical advice about a visit en famille to this fabulous museum ]
website & FB page address: 1 route de Malagnou, 1208, Geneva, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0) 22 418 63 00;
current & upcoming exhibitions :
- « Tout contre la Terre » ⇒ 6th November 2022 / ” une exposition qui aborde, sous l’angle des émotions, le dérèglement climatique et l’érosion de la biodiversité. ” / more information here;
- « La peau est un paysage » ⇒ 26th June 2022 / ” Quand la céramique explore les structures fascinantes des peaux de serpents et de lézards “;
- « Ou est le monstre? » – from 6th February ⇒ 22nd May 2022 / “an exhibition in x3 places: the Muséum Genève, the Musée Ariana and the Salle d’Exposition de l’Université de Genève / ” Et si nous étions toutes et tous des monstres ? L’exposition nous interroge sur les frontières du monstrueux et du naturel par un voyage entre art et science. Elle explore comment la nature fabrique — et continue de fabriquer — la diversité des formes vivantes que nous connaissons aujourd’hui. Les créatures chimériques du sculpteur Jean Fontaine dialogueront avec les travaux des chercheurs et des chercheuses de l’Université de Genève. “;
- « La Montagne: laboratoire des savants » – from 6th April 2022 ⇒ 26th February 2023 / more information here;
Musée d’Histoire des Sciences
This museum is located within the Parc du Perle du Lac, next to Lac Léman, and opposite the Botanical Gardens; it occupies the beautiful Neo-Classical Villa Bartholoni (from the 1830s), and hosts a collection of scientific apparatus belonging to scientists and researchers from the 17th to 19th centuries / good to know: les mercredis des sciences – workshops for children / also good to know: ask for the brochure to accompany the exhibition, and also the orienteering parcours leaflet for the park at the reception, and go explore! / opening hours: 10h to 17h (shut Tuesday) / every two years, La Nuit de la Science takes place here;
website & FB page address: Parc de La Perle du Lac, 128 rue de Lausanne 1202, Geneva, Switzerland / tel: 41 22 418 50 60
current exhibition: « La Montagne, laboratoire des savants » – until 26th February 2023;
MEG (Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève)
The MEG is one of our favourite museums in Geneva . . . it is innovative and puts on fabulous temporary exhibitions, with accompanying workshops for families that are often inter-generational / the permanent exhibition at the MEG (always free to visit) is Les archives de la diversité humaine – here you will find more than a thousand objects from different world cultures / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11h to 18h / good to know: on the first Sunday of the month, the MEG and its temporary exhibition are FREE, and there are lots of wonderful workshops on offer too / the MEG has a fabulous children’s pack available for its temporary exhibitions, so be sure to ask about this at the entrance;
[ ⇒ see MBFF article to read about planning a family visit ]
There are sometimes FREE children’s and family workshops and guided tours . . . see here for more information;
website & FB page address: boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67,1205, Geneva, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)22 418 45 50 ;
current exhibition: « Injustice environnementale – Alternatives autochtones » ⇒ 21st August 2022 / MEG website information;
MAH (Musée d’Art et d’Histoire)
The MAH in Geneva is housed in a magnificent building, and is one of the largest museums in Switzerland, displaying over 650 000 sculptures, objects and paintings over 5 floors. The MAH is free to visit, except for temporary exhibitions;
[ ⇒ see also MBFF article ]
⇒ current exhibitions at the MAH : Pas besoin d’un dessin de Jean-Hubert Martin and Surinomo;
for children and families:
- the MAH has a great play area – Espace #mahfamily – next to the café/restaurant;
- guided visits for families: « Visites à tout petits pas » – one Wednesday per month at 10h30, 14h30 and 15h30 / each month, a new theme to discover the museum and its works with little ones 3 to 5 years (accompanied by an adult) / FREE and no reservations required;
- « Mercredis Family » at 15h on Wednesdays / an interactive visit for children 6 to 10 years (accompanied by an adult) / FREE and no reservations required;
Musée Rath (Geneva)
The Musée Rath hosts the MAH’s larger temporary exhibitions. Located next to the Grand Théâtre and the Conservatoire de musique on la Place de Neuve, the Musée Rath is a protected building since 1921. Open to the public in 1826, thanks to the generosity of the Rath sisters, it was the first museum of fine art in Switzerland, a « un temple des muses » / good to know: it is located right next to the lovely Parc des Bastions and old town / opening hours: 11h to 18h;
website address: place Neuve, 1204, Geneve / tel: +41 (0)22 418 33 40;
MAMCO (Musée d’art moderne et contemporain)
The MBFF family members are regular visitors to the MAMCO in Geneva. This modern and contemporary art museum in the Plainpalais area of Geneva is innovative and often very interactive (some exhibitions allow a tactile approach; some NOT, so do check!) / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12h to 18h / first Sunday of the month, this museum is FREE!
for children and families, the MAMCO offers fabulous guided tours for children:
- Mini et Petit Rendez-Vous – on the first Wednesday and Sunday of the month (11h15 et 11h40), there are shorter guided visits for smaller children (for 2 to 4 olds, with an accompanying adult AND 5 to 10 year olds with an adult) / duration: 20 – 45mins;
Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève
The Contemporary Art Museum is located in the same building as the MAMCO. It was founded in 1974 as the Kunsthalle de Genève, the first contemporary art centre in la Suisse Romande, a place of production, research and experimentation (a Kunsthalle, unlike a museum, has no permanent collection; it veers to the future, presenting emerging local and international artists) / good to know: on the first Sunday of the month, this museum and its temporary exhibition are FREE / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11h to 18h (shut Mondays) / price: 5CHF/€ and FREE for under 18s;
website & FB page address: Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 10, 1205 Genève / tel: + 41 22 329 18 42;
workshops & guided visits for children and families:
- L’artiste & moi (enfants & familles) – with artist Sofia Kouloukouri, discover the exhibitions / more information here;
- Les Mercredis de l’Animation – in collaboration with Animatou – Festival International du Film d’Animation de Genève / when? every second Wednesday of the month at 15h (except during the school holidays) / where? Cinéma Dynamo, 4th floor of Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève / for children 4+ years / 9 short films (duration around 45 mins) / FREE! / see here;
- Dessiner avec Mirek! – for young adults, 16+ years / see website for more details;
Musée international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge (Red Cross & Crescent Museum)
A museum decicated to the history and work of the Red and Crescent Cross / price (museum & temporary exhibition): adults 15CHF, 7CHF concessions, FREE for under 12s; price (temporary exhibition only): 5CHF / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10h to 17h/18h / good to know: there is a luminous, spacious self-service restaurant in the museum building (used frequently on weekdays by people working in the area), open Monday to Friday 7h30 to 16h30 and weekends 11h to 15h;
Musée Ariana (Musée Suisse de la Céramique et du Verre)
The Musée Ariana is located near the UN and the Red Cross Museum in Geneva / history of the museum: the palatial neo-Classic, neo-Baroque building which houses the Musée Ariana was built at the end of the 19th century by generous collector Gustave Revilliod, always with the intention of it becoming a museum; he chose the name Ariana in honor of his mother, from whom he had inherited his fortune / good to know: there is a beautiful park to explore outside / also good to know: temporary exhibition FREE each first Sunday of the month / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday (shut on Monday), 10h to 18h / price: FREE for permanent exhibition; temporary exhibitions CHF5/CHF8 and FREE for under 18s
- Coin Enfants – a space for children to draw and discover books associated with the museum’s collection;
- Les samedis des tout-petits – workshops for 2 to 4 year olds on Saturdays (paying);
- Geologex – a treasure hunt on your Smartphone;
- Pyrim de Cobalt: un mystère à l’Ariana – another treasure hunt on your Smartphone!
- for more information about workshops&/ services for families and children, see here;
current exhibitions – see here;
Fondation Baur (Musée des Arts d’Extreme Orient)
This museum’s collection is dedicated to about 9000 objects from China and Japan and the building is an end of XIXth century hôtel particulier. The man behind this collection of art was Alfred Baur (1865-1951), and since 1995, the museum has acquired more donations / for family activities, see here (like Chinese dragons, origami . . . ) / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday (shut Mondays) from 14h to 18h / price: permanent exhibition CHF10 and free for under 16s; temporary exhibition & permanent exhibition CHF15 and free for under 16s;
Le Musée Barbier-Mueller
The Musée Barbier-Mueller, located in the heart of the Vieille Ville in Geneva, displays Arts de l’Antiquité, de l’Afrique, de l’Asie et de l’Océanie. It was founded in 1977, and its function is to conserve, study and show a collection that was started by Josef Mueller in 1907 (a collection of tribal and classical art from many different civilisations) / the museum organises temporary exhibitions, and these are the works of art that the public gets to see / children’s activities & guided tours: see website & FB page / opening hours: every day from 11h to 17h;
Quartier Libre SIG
There are regular temporary exhibitions at this super little exhibition space in central Geneva, on a tiny islet on the Rhône and next to Lac Léman.
🖼 current exhibition: JF LIEGME – archipels de couleur jaillis du pinceau / ” Cette exposition marque le centenaire de la naissance de Jean-François Liegme. Cet artiste genevois a été, dans les années 1960-1970, l’un des représentants majeurs de la peinture non figurative à Genève. Par le lyrisme de son langage « abstrait », il se relie aux grands courants de la deuxième partie du XXe siècle. “
website address: Quartier Libre SIG, Pont de la Machine, 1204, Genève;
Bibliothèque de Genève
You’ll find some interesting exhibitions at the Bibliothèque de Genève!
website address: Bibliothèque de Genève, Promenade des Bastions 1, 1211, Geneva;
Geneva Lux Festival (centre of Geneva)
Geneva Lux, the Ville de Genève‘s very own light festival runs for a week or so at the end of January, with 26 light installations (and 11 new ones, including the cute Anooki with their environmental message!) / ⇒ see website or FB page for more information / be sure to wrap up warmly for your evening stroll!
Sculpture Garden Bienniale (Parc des Eaux-Vives)
The first edition of « Sculpture Garden » ran in the summer 2018 in the lovely Le Parc des Eaux-Vives / sculptures and performances, a parcours to wander through;
Maison de la Créativité (Conches, Geneva)
Not a museum, rather an interactive creative centre, the MBFF family are huge fans of La Maison de la Créativité . . . a house and gardens full of treasures for children, wonderful workshops, an outdoor “kitchen”, a playground, incredibly welcoming staff . . . / no need to reserve! / aimed at children up to the age of 6 years / price: 3CHF for children and adults 2+ years / open to public: Wednesdays (9h30 until midday AND 14h30 to 17h30) AND one Saturday per month (9h30 to 12h and 14h30 to 17h30) AND during Swiss school holidays / SHUT over summer holidays! / parking: on route de Florissant, and then a short walk (or bring draisienne!);
[ ⇒ see MBFF article for more information about planning a family visit ]
website & FB page address: 7, chemin Calandrini, 1231, Conches, Switzerland / tel: +41(0)22 810 18 90;
Villa Bernasconi Lancy (Lancy, Geneva)
The Villa Bernasconi houses the Centre d’art de la Ville de Lancy, and since 1997 has been offering contemporary art exhibitions, bandes déssinés and illustrations, as well as performances, concerts, readings and workshops. The neoclassically inspired house was built in 1828, and it is located in a beautiful park next to the Aire river.
Palexpo temporary exhibitions (Geneva)
The Geneva Palexpo is used for temporary exhibitions / here below, MBFF winners of free entrance to exhibition « The Art of the Brick » (tickets kindly offered by « The Art of the Brick »):
Musée de Carouge (Carouge, nearr Geneva)
The Musée de Carouge is now OPEN again, and Carouge is a lovely place to visit! / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 14h to 18h / FREE to visit!
current & upcoming exhibitions: see here;
In Nyon, a combined ticket covers entrance to all 3 museums in the town (and all three are FREE on a Sunday), valid 12 months:
Musée du Léman & Aquarium
A museum dedicated to the history of Lac Léman and an aquarium too! / new permanent exhibition: « Petite Nature? » (36 questions to decode the the secrets of the lake!) / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, April until October, 10h to 17h and November to March 14h to 17h / price: CHF8 and free for children under 16 years / CHF 7 per child (museum entrance free) / super playground right next door and picnic spot!
[ good to know – FREE every first Sunday of the month / 1 x entrance = free access to the Musée Romain and the Château de Nyon (valid 12 months) / l’atelier Créa’lac – every 3rd Sunday of month, a workshop for children at 15h30 ]
website & FB page address: quai Louis-Bonnard 8, 1260, Nyon, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0) 22 316 42 50;
- Un Tsunami sur le Léman ⇒ until 2022;
- Le lac du cygne : histoire d’un oiseau blanc sur le Léman ⇒ September 2022 / ” C’est l’histoire d’un oiseau blanc. Son élégance et sa beauté font le bon plaisir des monarques et des artistes depuis des siècles en Angleterre, en Allemagne ou en France. Du côté du Léman, son passé est plus récent. C’est au début du XIXe siècle seulement qu’il fait son entrée à Genève. Mais en un rien de temps, il devient emblème et ambassadeur de ce lac où on l’aime tant. Avec ce mélange de rigueur scientifique et de fantaisie qui fait son succès, le Musée du Léman raconte l’histoire amoureuse et intime du cygne et de son lac. Il revient sur sa gloire, ses quelques déboires, les lois qui l’ont protégé, les artistes qui l’ont célébré. Il compile les anecdotes, les souvenirs, les faits divers, tous ces fragments de son destin extraordinaire. “;
Musée Romain de Nyon
The foundations of the basilica of the forum were discovered in 1974 and since 1979 the Musée Romain has been here, within the walls, allowing visitors a glimpse into the world of ancient Noviodunum / MBFF visited in 2019, and the boys really enjoyed the museum, with a little treasure hunt available for kids! / opening hours: November to March, Tuesday to Sunday, 14h to 17h; April to October, 10h to 17h;
good to know: take the time to explore Nyon’s Roman ruins while on a visit to the museum . . .
Le Château de Nyon
Originally a maison forte (fortified house) dating from the middle of the 12th century, the Château de Nyon was altered in the 16th century by the Bernese. After the Vaud Revolution of 1798, the castle was bought by the City of Nyon, and it therefore contains: courts, assemblies of the municipal council, prisons and, since 1888, the museum. The castle was completely restored between 1999 and 2006, and it holds a large collection of porcelain produced in the 18th century in the famous Nyon factory as well as objects that tell us about Nyon’s 3000 year history. It also offers temporary exhibitions devoted to historical themes or contemporary art;
current temporary exhibitions: there are regular temporary exhibitions / more information here;
website & FB page address: Château de Nyon, Place du Château, CH - 1260 Nyon; tel: +41 (0)22 316 42 73;
Château et Jardins de Prangins (near Nyon)
LAUSANNE & environs
[ good to know: in Lausanne, many of the museums are FREE on the first Saturday of the month (while in Nyon and in Geneva, it is the first Sunday of the month! ]
Here is a small selection of suggestions, with families in mind:
Musée Olympique (Lausanne)
We visited this museum with our boys a couple of winters ago, en-route back from the Montreux Christmas market . . . we had so much fun! It is really interactive and very pedagogic! Located right next to Lac Léman, it has a stunning setting with huge grounds for sporting fun! / history of museum: the museum opened to the public in 1993 and was renovated in 2012 / the TOM café upstairs (stunning views) has a children’s menu * NB only brunch menu at the weekend! * / opening hours: October to April, Tuesday to Sunday (shut Mondays), 10h to 18h; from May to October, daily from 9h to 18h / price: CHF19, children (6 to 16 years) CHF10 and under 6 years FREE;
current exhibition: « Riding the Olympic Wave » ⇒ March 2023;
[ Olympic Park – as well as the permanent and temporary exhibitions indoors, there is a lot of fun to be had with kids outside the museum, in the grounds overlooking Lac Léman and the Alps . . . 8,000m2, with works of art (Niki de Saint-Phalle, Botero, Tapies and Calder) and sports installations.
website & FB page address: The Olympic Museum, 1 quai d'Ouchy, 1006, Lausanne, Switzerland / tel: +41 21 621 65 11;
Espace des Inventions (Lausanne)
The Espace des Inventions in Lausanne is a place for families and children to experience and experiment with science, technology and art, through its exhibitions / opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 14h to 18h and Sunday and bank holidays, 10h to 18h / price: children CHF5, adults CHF7;
website & FB page address: Vallée de la Jeunesse 1, 1007, Lausanne, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)21 315 68 80;
current exhibition: « D’un Giacometti à l’autre » – until 19th June 2022;
Plateforme 10 (Lausanne)
The new quartier des arts (art district) in Lausanne! The industrial and rail storage area, near the current train station, has been transformed by architects into 🖼 a contemporary art and culture space – 25’000m2 now houses several museums:
- 🖼 Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts (mcb-a);
- 🖼 Musée de l’Elysée (Musée cantonal de la photographie);
- 🖼 mudac (Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains);
Fondation de l’Hermitage
Located in a 19th century building, and surrounded by a park, la Fondation de l’Hermitage has 🖼 temporary exhibitions devoted to les beaux-arts, from the Renaissance to today! /
AQUATIS aquarium & vivarium
MBFF visited in December 2021, and we absolutely loved AQUATIS aquarium & vivarium, which has been open to the public since October 2017! / restaurant on-site: Piranha, with a view on the piranha pool! / opening hours: November until March 10h to 18h, every day; April until October 9h to 19h, every day / price: CHF29, children (5 to 15) CHF19, under 5s FREE;
[ ⇒ to read about MBFF’s visit en famille, see separate article here ]
website & FB page address: AQUATIS aquarium - vivarium, route de Berne 144, 1010, Lausanne, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)21 654 23 23;
A museum all about food and nutrition! / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday (shut Mondays), 10h until 17h or 18h
website & FB page address: Quai Perdonnet 25, CH-1800, Vevey, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)21 924 41 11
Chaplin’s World (Vevey)
Located above Vevey, and with 3000m2 of grounds, this unique centre was Charlie Chaplin’s home and gardens! Today, it is an interactive museum that tells the life of the cinematic icon Charles Spencer Chaplin . . . a temple to one of the great 20th century artist!
- nest is a museum dedicated to Henri Nestlé and the Nestlé brand . . . it is also a café and restaurant (Sunday brunches) . . . its current incarnation will be in place until September 2019, after which the museum’s interactive parcours will take a digital turn . . . / current parcours: discover the orginal factory, through:
- immersive experience Fondations, Vevey of the XIXth century . . .
- continue through Zeitgeist (here you get to touch, open and question the Nestlé archives . . .
- next comes Forum, a tactile experience, allowing you to understand the food challenges . . .
- and finish with enigmatic Visions, which explores innovation . . .
for the minis, a Mini Fabrique, where little ones are encouraged to play and get to scan their food items / price: adults: 18CHF and children 7,50CHF / opening hours: from 10h until 18h April until October;
website address: chaussée de la Guinguette 10, CH-1800, Vevey / tel: +41 21 924 40 40;
Musée Jenisch Vevey
A museum since 1897, and the second art museum in the canton de Vaud, in the neoclassical building you’ll find lots of temporary exhibitions, as well as the permanent collection, from the Renaissance through to the modern era : Bocion, Courbet, Corot, Hodler, Vallotton, Picasso, Morandi, Dürer, Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Goya, Bonnard, Degas, Warhol;
Musée Suisse du Jeu (La Tour-de-Peilz)
A scenic location in a castle overlooking Lac Léman, this museum tells the history of games (5000 years of history!) . . . and lets you play some of them too! / restaurant on-site: Joker / opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11h until 17h30;
website address: rue du Château 11; CH-1814, La Tour-de-Peilz / tel: +41 (0)21 977 23 00;
Château de Vullierens sculptures (Vullierens)
A visit to the Château & Domaine de Vullierens is an absolutely FABULOUS FAMILY VISIT: a manor house, beautiful iris gardens, a magical forest for children, views of the mountains . . . and over 80 sculptures are dotted across the 30 hectares of land, from 21 Swiss and international artists! (read more about the sculptures and sculptors here);
The Domaine de Vullierens has belonged to the same family for over 700 years, with the Mestral family residing here ever since the completion of the current castle by Gabriel-Henri de Mestral in 1745. A collection of irises at Vullierens was created by Doreen Bovet, the Californian wife (and mother of the current owner of Vullierens!) of Bernard Bovet de Mestral, and the iris gardens attract many visitors (and are a work of art in themselves). The sculptures in the gardens fit so aesthetically, and are a beautiful addition to the gardens – Étienne Krähenbühl‘s Le Bing Bang is donged every day at at 15h! Children will delight in Le Royaume du Roi Lézard, a magical forest with so much to discover (be sure to ask for the map at the entrance). A visit to these beautiful gardens comes highly recommended by MBFF (article to come!);
Forte di Bard (Bard)
This impressive fortess, which you may have driven past if heading up or down the Aosta Valley, was entirely renovated a few years back to accommodate a cultural complex: temporary exhibition spaces, museums, accommodation and hospitality all together! The Forte di Bard opened to visitors in 2006, and you can now make your way to the exhibitions and museums at the top of the fortress by way of a series of funiculaires; not only do you get art and culture, but adventure en-route! The views from the top are amazing, there are sculptures along the path to the top, and there is a lovely café/restaurant. The museums on offer here are:
- The Museum of the Alps;
- Children’s Museum – Le Alpi dei Ragazzi (only open to the public on Sundays and during holidays);
- the Prison Museum;
- Il Ferdinando: Museo delle Fortificazioni e delle Frontiere;
[ ⇒ for more details about the wonderful Forte di Bard, or to plan a family visit, please see MBFF article ]
As well as regular, changing art exhibitions, every year the Forte di Bard hosts the fabulous Wildlife Photographer of the Year from February until June / ⇒ see MBFF article for more information;
[ ⇒ to see a list of the current temporary exhibitions, see here ]
website & FB page address:Forte di Bard, 1020, Bard (AO) Valle d’Aosta, Italy / tel: +39 0125 833811;
Castello Gamba (Châtillon)
Another juxtaposition of castle and modern & contemporary art in the Aosta Valley! This time in the town of Châtillon, a renovated 20th century castle now houses the region’s art collection . . . and also, not to be missed are the most magnificent gardens & park surrounding the castle, with a majestic California redwood and more! / highly recommended by MBFF!
[ ⇒ read more about our family’s visit in separate article here ]
Roman ruins (Aosta)
With the same ticket, you can visit lots of these Roman ruins in Aosta (your ticket gives you entry for a year): the Roman theatre, the Forensic cryptoporticus (Augustan era), the early Christian Basilica of San Lorenzo and the regional Archaeological Museum / ⇒ more information / opening hours: October to March daily 10h to 13h and 14h to 17h; April to September daily 9h to 19h / price: 7€, under 18s 2€ and FREE for children under 6 years;
address: Aosta, Italy / tel: (+39) 335 7981505;