Start of the hike near the train station in Bassins before descending to the river
First 40 Minutes to La Cézille is through this forest.
This defense line is called Promenthouse, the name of the river it follows
The main part of the defense line starts at La Cézille
Most of the 3000 blocks still stand, mostly covered in moss and ivy.
Instead of removing the blocks, the residences and farms work around them.
The church in Vich dates from the 11th century.
The defense line is a reminder of a different life 75 years ago.
The Villa Rose is a fortress in disguise.
"Toblerone Trail", the Promenthouse Anti-Tank Defense Line
Bassins - La Cézille - Vich - Villa Rose - Prangins - Nyon
Published/updated on 12.08.2017 by GabrielleMerk | 12373 points | Tour Date: 09.08.2017 | Favourite Entries (2)
Almost everyone is familiar with the term "Toblerone", which is the brand name of the triangle-shaped honey and nougat chocolate first manufactured by Tobler in 1908.
This trail has nothing to do with chocolate but rather with a line of anti-tank barriers (known as the Promenthouse fortification and named for the river which the line follows) consisting of 3000 large (14 tons each) triangle-shaped concrete blocks running North-South from Bassins to Lake Geneva near Nyon.
During the Second World War, when the Germans invaded the neutral countries of Norway and Belgium, Switzerland feared they would not remain immune to invasion and thus built the line to protect the western frontier near Geneva. It was a massive job building bunkers, fortresses, ramming in railway ties and bringing in and setting up the blocks, which the Swiss factories could not produce quickly enough so were brought in from France and Luxembourg as well.
This parade of concrete blocks so much resembles the chocolate, that the soldiers nicknamed them "Toblerones". The placement of the blocks is strategic: The 45-degree slope facing the enemy offers more resistance to bombardment, and a tank running up the slope is put off balance.
An interesting feature along the trail is a fortress called "The Villa Rose" which was built to look like a regular house but whose windows are fake (Trompe-L'Oeil) and whose walls are over two meters thick and housed massive cannons and other armaments, and was set up so that the soldiers could survive for weeks inside.
The trail itself is pleasant and easy to walk, mostly along the river and through forests, often winding in and out of the Toblerones. The main line of fortifications runs to the Villa Rose, and a bus stop near-by means the walk can end here, after 10 km.
Continuing on past the Golf Course to the Lake, then on a winding, wheel-chair accessible trail, you can walk through the Promenthouse Reserve to the National Museum in Pramangins, and on to the train station at Nyon.
- The main part of the fortification line is between La Cézille and the Villa Rose. There is also a bus stop near Villa Rose, so the walk can be shortened to about 2.5 hours by ending here. There is also a bus stop in La Cézille
- The main interest of this tour is the historical value, although it is a pleasant walk on a hot day as most of the trail until Villa Rose is through forested areas next to the rivers.
- Once you are at the lake, you get some nice views to the French Alps on a clear day.