Vineyards of Clavau and Sion's Historical Landmarks
View across St. Leonard and the Rhone Valley.
The Vineyards of the Clavau
Walking along the Clavau Irrigation Channel
View of the Ruins of Chateau Tourbillon on the hill above Sion
Ruins of Chateau Tourbillon
Basilica de Valère
Inside the Basilica de Valère
Ruins of Tourbillon seen from Basilica de Valère
Basilica de Valère
View of the Vineyards and the Rhone Valley from Tourbillon.
St. Leonard - Cotsetta Vineyards - Sion - Basilica Valère - Chateau Tourbillon
Published/updated on 25.03.2016 by GabrielleMerk | 12700 points | Date of Tour: 12.03.2016 | Favourite Entries (1)
It doesn’t always have to be green to be remarkable as we found out in this early spring hike in the vineyards along the Clavau irrigation channel near the city of Sion, capital city of Canton Valais. One might think that before the vines sprout their leaves, the miles and miles of terraced vineyards would look drab at this time of year, but the backdrop of snow-covered Alps and the impressive dry-stone walls forming terraces as far as the eye can see provide an impressive canvas that might not be visible in all the summer green.
The walk starts in the village of St. Leonard in the Rhone Valley, and follows the Clavau irrigation channel toward the city of Sion with its ruins of the Chateau Tourbillon on a prominent hill always in your sights. There are over 50 varieties of grapes planted in this region, some of them the only place in the world where they are grown. The terraces are extraordinary, all the walls are dry stone, and at one point the 16m high wall boasts to be the highest dry-stone wall in the world.
Placards along the way provide information about local vegetation and the history of the vineyards and the terraces in this region.
At about the 2-hour mark you reach the point along the channel where the path descends into the town of Sion. From here you get views over the entire city with both its prominent hills upon which perch the Basilica of Valère and the Tourbillon ruins. Allow about an hour for the walk through Sion with a visit to both landmarks, and then the final walk to the train station
Notes on the Landmarks of Valère and Tourbillon:
Built from the 11th Century and onwards, the Church of Valère and the buildings surrounding it have been declared monuments of national heritage. The church (now a Basilica) is home to the world’s oldest working organ, which dates from 1430 – 1440. Unique works of art are preserved in its interior: 15th Century paintings, Baroque Choir stalls, Romanesque Canopies, and a very rare 13th Century Rood Screen (separates the choir from the church attendees).
Chateau Tourbillon: Construction started about the year 1300; this was the headquarters of the bishops of Sion. As the location was hard to access, the castle fell into disrepair and was eventually destroyed in the fire of Sion in May 1788 (which also destroyed about 2/3rds of the town of Sion).