Not too far from the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc, in 🇫🇷 neighbouring France, 🇨🇭 Switzerland and 🇮🇹 Italy, you’ll find some 🖼 permanent outdoor exhibitions, and also some 🖼 new or ephemeral outdoor exhibitions throughout the year and across the passing seasons: 📷 photography, 🎨 sculptures, 🖼 canvases . . .
In the same way as famous artists were attracted to paint the mountains and lakes nearby, you’ll find some modern art too . . .
This article explores some of the 🏔 OUTDOOR SPACES beyond the Pays du Mont-Blanc – in nearby France,🇨🇭 Switzerland and 🇮🇹 Italy used to showcase art.
Colour code for listings
Pays du Mont-Blanc
🇫🇷 Further France
🇫🇷 ALL YEAR outdoor art exhibitions in FURTHER FRANCE
There are some outdoor exhibitions in place that you can enjoy whatever the season . . .
🇫🇷 Parcours d’Art Contemporain du Giffre – sentier « ART et NATURE » (Vallée du Giffre)
The 🖼 Parcours d’Art Contemporain du Giffre – sentier « ART et NATURE » is set up between Taninges & Morillon, and passes through La Rivière-Enverse. It is a continuation of the notion of art in nature that starts at the ⛪️ Parc de Sculptures de la Chartreuse de Mélan (a progressive approach to contemporary art, in which each piece of art inorporates the artist’s view of the surrounding environment: the patrimoine and history of the site, the surrounding scenery of the Vallée du Giffre, the religious architecture of La Chartreuse de Mélan) and opens a dialogue between ancient history and modern sensibilities.
The sculptures are set along 💦 the Giffre river – an open air museum in a natural space, with information along the way.
here address: 74440, La Rivière-Enverse;
🇫🇷 Flaine‘s patrimoine artistique et architectural du XXe siècle: 𝕄𝕦𝕤é𝕖 𝕒 𝕔𝕚𝕖𝕝 𝕠𝕦𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕥 !
Flaine is well known for having an unusual ski resort aesthetic (for the area), and it hosts some fabulous sculptures and architecture by well known artists, like Picasso and Jean Dubuffet, Breuer and Vasarely.
[ ⇒ read more about 🖼 Flaine’s quirky art scene here. ]
And now you can enjoy the 🎨 art in Flaine by following a new jeu de piste called City Game (see here).
🇫🇷 Sentier Art & Nature (LandArt) at La Ferme de Chosal (Copponex)
🐔 La Ferme de Chosal set up 🎨 a LandArt parcours in 2010, placing art and culture an the heart of their social insertion project. 🎨 Le Pôle Land Art Départemental aims to open culture to everyone, and in particular to marginalised people who might otherwise find difficulty in accessing culture (handicapped, socially disadvantaged)
[ ⇒ read more about 🎨 the LandArt project at the farm here ]
🗺 map of trail here;
website & FB page address: 98 route de l’Usine, Chosal, 74350, Copponex;
🇫🇷 « Annecy Paysages » – parcours pérenne (Annecy)
You can now visit some of the works of art all year round in Annecy . . .
🇨🇭 ALL YEAR outdoor art exhibitions in SWITZERLAND
🇨🇭 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!).
🗓 opening hours: daily, from 10h to 18h November to June and from 9h to 19h June until November;
[ ⇒ read about MBFF’s visit to the 🖼 Fondation Pierre Gianadda here ]
🇨🇭 Botanical Gardens (Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques Genève)
These botanical gardens are a work of art in themselves, with the colours of blossoms, flowers and leaves changing with each season. In addition, there are some permanent sculptures and sometimes some art exhibitions in the gardens.
🇨🇭 Parc Stagni (Chêne-Bougeries, near Geneva)
MBFF discovered the 🌳 Parc Stagni and its playground in Chêne-Bougeries a few years ago on a crisp and sunny autumn day, when we went to the fabulous 🖼 Ô Cézanne exhibition next door in the Espace Nouveau Vallon! From the fabulous playground (replete with a big tree trunk to climb and sandpit), there is a secret doorway which leads Parc Stagni – perfect for running! Have you heard of Disc-Golf? This is a hybrid sport, somewhere between the rules of golf and frisbee-throwing! And you can play it in the Parc Stagni for FREE!
There are also sculptures to admire in the gardens next the playground.
address: Parc Stagni, 1224, Chêne-Bougeries, Switzerland;
🇨🇭 Promenade sur les Quais (Montreux lakeside)
A few years ago, MBFF headed to Montreux for its 🎄 Marché de Noël. Rather than park in one of the allocated car parks outsided of town, we ended up parking just out of the the centre, and we took our time strolling down 💦 the lakeside path towards the bustle of the market!
Along this lakeside path we found playgrounds and music and jazz-themed sculptures (a nod to Montreux’s famous jazz festival), some permanent and some temporary. Among the permanent sculptures is a bronze statue of Freddie Mercury (1946-1991), which has resided in Montreux since 1996 (and is permanently adorned with flowers!). Freddie lived in Montreux, loved the city, and recorded Queen albums there. (good to know: you can take a Freddie Mercury tour; see here)
Temporary exhibitions are staged along the lakeshore in the summer, with the Montreux Biennale – the perfect location to show off work, with 💦 Lac Léman and the Alps as a background!
[ ⇒ more information about the Montreux Biennale here and the Montreux quai here; ]
🇨🇭 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 sculptures in the gardens fit so aesthetically, and are a beautiful addition to the flowers and plants – 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).
website address: Les Jardins du Château de Vullierens, CH-1115, Vullierens, Switzerland;
🇮🇹 ALL YEAR outdoor art exhibitions in the Aosta Valley (ITALY)
🇮🇹 Forte di Bard sculptures (Bard)
MBFF loves the 🏰 Forte di Bard, and we return regularly. Once a mighty fortress dominating the Aosta Valley, it is now one of the 🖼 principal cultural centres of the Western Alps. As well as serveral permanent museums on-site and the 📷 temporary photography and art exhibitions (like the yearly 📷 Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition), there are sculptures to see throughout the fortress – if you choose to walk back down the paths (after taking the funiculars UP), then you will be rewarded with lots of art!
At the moment, there are some up-cycled colourful plastic animals from Cracking Art adorning the fortress! Kids will love finding them!
[ ⇒ for more information about a family visit to the Forte di Bard, see MBFF article here ]
website address: Forte di Bard, 1020 Bard (AO), Valle d'Aosta, Italy
There are a couple of villages in the Aosta Valley which are regarded as open air museums, with artwork and sculptures scattered about. It is lovely to wander and appreciate the art, as well as a pretty tradional Aostan village!
🇮🇹 Étroubles outdoor museum – « museo a cielo aperto » (near Aosta)
In 2005, the medieval village of Étroubles became 🖼 an outdoor museum, thanks to a collaboration with the Fondation Gianadda (Martigny) . . . its ruelles turned into 🖼 a permanent art gallery, exhibiting the works of some world famous artists. This project was an attempt to relaunch the economy of the local area, due to the shutting of ski stations.
MBFF had a delightful overnight in this mountain village in December 2022 – we managed to arrive with a fresh blanket of snow, and it was lovely !
In December there are illuminations in the village: Luci su Etroubles.
[ ⇒ more information about Etrouble and its artists here ]
🇮🇹 Chemp : musée à ciel ouvert (Val d’Oùta, Aosta Valley)
Un village, “ un rêve porté par le vent ” . . .
A mountain village forgotten in time . . . and then brought back to its former glory by the hands of Pino (Angelo Giuseppe Bettoni), his wife Paola and their friend Silvano Ferretti. Together they toiled and mended the old farms, and then Pino created new sculptures for this magical place . . . Soon, more sculptors added their unique work to this village, and soon the village became an open air museum, with the new sculptures blending with the old farms of stone and wood.
where to find Chemp: located at the opening of the Valley du Lys, in the commune of Perloz. Accessible from le Pont-Saint-Martin. Perloz is a pretty village, with a fresco-covered church and two castles and an old press;
🇮🇹 Challand Art (Challand-Saint-Victor, Aosta)
A LandArt project in the woods of Challand-Saint-Victor, via the Lago di Villa and the Col d’Arlaz.
🇮🇹 Rifugio Mont Fallère (Saint-Pierre, Aosta)
A friend recommended me this hike for families !
All the way to this mountain refuge, you’ll spot little wooden creatures hidden behind branches and stones : owls, hawks, hares, groundhogs, woodpeckers, foxes and eagles . . . and you might spot some curious gnomes watching you too. Most of those works of art (about 100/120 sculptures) were carved by the Siro Viérin.
” Approaching the refuge, the sculptures become bigger: here is the grandfather indicating the right path to the shelter to his nephews while not too far away there is a couple of chamois and ibex, but also a villager who – caught by a sudden urge – hides behind a stone. While walking, you will feel like being on a treasure hunt among wooden sculptures and the scents of the mountain. ”
website & FB page address: loc Les Crottes, Saint-Pierre (AO), 11010, Aosta Valley, Italy
EPHEMERAL outdoor art exhibitions in 🇫🇷 FRANCE & 🇨🇭 SWITZERLAND
🇫🇷 « Annecy Paysages » (ANNECY) – July ⇒ end of September
🖼 « Annecy Paysages » is an ephemeral summer art exhibition (and the parcours pérenne can be visited all year). You’ll be treated to a visual and sensory stroll through the lovely Annecy, and along its lakeside, with fabulous ephemeral art!
[ ⇒ see MBFF article for more information about 🖼 « Annecy Paysages » ]
website & FB page
🇫🇷 « Festiphoto de Menthon-Saint-Bernard » (Menthon Saint-Bernard, Lac d’Annecy) – mid June ⇒ mid November
From June until November, you can enjoy the 📷 Festiphoto de Menthon St Bernard, along la Rive Plein Soleil in Menthon-Saint-Bernard. An open air gallery, with around 📷 80 photographs from French and international amateur and professionnal photographers;
good to know: you could combine a visit to this exhibition with a visit to the nearby castle of 🏰 Château du Menthon-Saint-Bernard!
🇫🇷 « Le Festival des Cabanes » (Les Sources du Lac d’Annecy) – July to November
The « Festival des Cabanes » is an annual event at the Sources du Lac d’Annecy (Doussard nature reserve and other locations) 🗓 from July until mid-November . . .
Architecture students and architects from all over the world build some unusual cabanes, rendering our nature even more magical! The festival stretches over 160 mm², across 7 communes: Chevaline, Val de chaise, Doussard, Giez, Lathuile, Saint-Ferréol et Faverges/Seythenex.
website & FB page
🇫🇷 Le Fabuleux Village ou la Légende des Flottins (Evian) – December & January
If you fancy a change from Christmas markets in December, then this event in Évian is perhaps for you? A 🏔 legend of fairy folks from the Alps (les Flottins), washed up on driftwod in Évian, and also a legend involving Santa paying them a visit . . . you’ll find many driftwood sculptures adorning town and the lakeside – they are so very unique !
Over 3 weeks, Evian is filled with actors, storytellers, musicians, circus performers, sculptors and spectacles! There are light shows and the Town Hall is also illuminated!
❤️ coup de cœur ❤️ – highly, highly RECOMMENDED by the MBFF tribe! The flottins are so unique, and we had a FABULOUS outing last year!
🇨🇭 Genève Sculpture Garden – Biennale 2024 (Le 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, and a parcours to follow! FREE to visit /
🇨🇭 Le Village des Branchés (Montuires, Vertic’Alp, Vallée de Trient)
[ ⇒ and read about MBFF’s trip to VerticAlp here ]
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