Courmayeur cannot boast vestiges of Roman antiquity or castles like other towns in the Aosta Valley. However, it has various buildings of artistic interest and museums that deal with important cultural aspects.
On the other hand, the motorway and the Mont Blanc Tunnel bring Courmayeur closer to other centers of artistic, cultural and landscape interest. In fact, by car or bus you can easily reach important places in the Aosta Valley, in France and in French-speaking Switzerland. The main ones are: Aosta, Chamonix, Annecy, Martigny, Lausanne and Geneva.
Art in Courmayeur
The visit of Courmayeur can be done in one afternoon.
It starts from the beautiful parish church of San Pantaleone, with its slender bell tower. The square in front is dedicated to Joseph-Marie Henry, an illustrious fellow citizen. Overlooking the same square is the house of the Society of Guides, now home to the Duca degli Abruzzi Alpine Museum. Inside, objects, documents are exhibited and rooms are set up that document life in the mountains and the history of mountaineering. You can also admire minerals and crystals. Nearby stands the ancient Malluquin tower, where art exhibitions are set up. Another cultural venue is the Jardin dell’Ange, home to the Museo transfrontaliero of Monte Bianco.
Among the attractions of the surrounding area, two are worthy of mention. The sanctuary of Notre-Dame de la Guérison, an elegant white church that rises at the mouth of the Val Veny, standing out against the backdrop of the Brenva glacier. The Passerin d’Entrèves fort-house, a singular example of an ancient fortified residence in Entrèves.
Art and culture in the upper Aosta Valley
The closest destinations can be reached and visited in half a day.
Pré-Sant-Didier is known for its thermal baths and the suggestive ravine. From there you can continue to La Thuile, a well-known holiday and ski resort, and to the Piccolo San Bernardo pass, with the ancient monastery and the remains of a large megalithic “cromlech”.
In Morgex you can visit the historic center, the beautiful church and the Cave Mont Blanc, where Blanc de Morgex et La Salle is produced.
Particularly interesting is Avise, which has various late medieval buildings (Maison de Blonay, Avise castle, Maison de Mosse). In addition, you can visit the gorge of Pierre Taillée, with the Roman remains of the ancient “Via delle Gallie”.
In Arvier you can visit the Cantina dell’Infer d’Arvier, one of the best red wines in the valley. Nearby, the roads lead to Valgrisenche and Les Combes, known for being the favorite holiday resort of Pope John Paul II (John Paul II House Museum).
Less than 10 km from Aosta, the Sarriod de La Tour, Introd and Sarre castles meet in a short sequence. The roads leading to Val di Rhême and Valsavarenche branch off in Introd. On the opposite side of the valley, the road leading to Vetan begins from Saint-Pierre.
The road leading to the Cogne valley departs from Aymavilles. Here you can admire the church of Saint Léger, with its frescoed façade, and the nineteenth-century castle, soon to open to the public. Several wineries can be visited nearby, including the Cave des Onze Communes in Aymavilles and Le Crêtes.
Art and culture in Aosta
Aosta is certainly not a metropolis, however it has a notable artistic and cultural interest.
With the name of Augusta Pretoria, in Roman times it was the main center along the “Via delle Gallie”. Important remains testify to this illustrious past: the Arch of Augustus, the Porta Pretoria, the suggestive Roman theater, the forensic cryptoporticus, the remains of the city walls and the remains of some ancient houses. Important Roman remains are kept in the Regional Archaeological Museum.
Among the testimonies of later eras, the collegiate church of Sant’Orso stands out, with its beautiful cloister, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Cathedral Treasury Museum. Furthermore, temporary exhibitions of ancient art, modern art and socio-cultural themes are set up at the Saint-Bénin Center.
Art and culture in the lower Aosta Valley
The initial stretch of the Aosta Valley that leads to Ivrea has numerous reasons of interest. The distances from Courmayeur are certainly greater, but can be easily bridged within a day.
We can mention, for example, the numerous castles, among which the austere castle of Fenis, near Nus, and the elegant castle of Issogne, near Verres, stand out.
Not to be missed is a visit to the fort of Bard, with the village of medieval origins, the buildings of the fort, the Museum of the Alps and the important temporary exhibitions set up inside.
Lastly, the evocative remains of a Roman road near Donnaz should be remembered.
Art and culture in neighboring France and Switzerland
On the French side of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is worth a visit, with its Savoyard-style buildings.
An hour’s drive away you can visit Annecy, a picturesque town in Haute-Savoie, on the lake of the same name, full of historic buildings: the Palais de l’Isle, the castle, the Saint-Pierre Cathedral and the parades of half-timbered houses. on the rue Sainte-Claire and on the rue Royale. Close to nearby Lovagny it is also worth visiting the impressive Gorges du Fier and the castles of Montrottier and Menthon.
From Chamonix you can pass into Swiss territory and in 30 ‘reach Martigny, with its baroque buildings and the Fondation Gianadda, home to major international exhibitions.
Geneva is an hour and a half drive from Courmayeur. One day is certainly not enough for a complete visit, but it can be enough to grasp the elegant atmosphere and visit some of its important museums.
From Hotel Aigle you can reach Morgex in 20 ‘and Avise in less than 30’. With a few more minutes by car you can reach Arvier, Saint-Pierre, Introd, Sarre and Aymavilles, the Sarriod de la Tour castle, Introd, Les Combes, the castle of Sarre, the Roman bridge of Pondel.
The beautiful castles of Fenis and Issogne are respectively 35 ‘and 45’ by motorway, but require a full day due to the shifts of entry. And the some more time goes for the Forte di Bard.
Aosta can be reached from the hotel in about 25 ‘on the motorway or 40’ on the state road. The visit can take from half a day to a full day.
In flowing traffic conditions, from our hotel you can go to Chamonix by tunnel in less than 30′. You can then easily reach all the towns of Haute-Savoie and French-speaking Switzerland: Annecy, Martigny, Lausanne and Geneva.
Those who want to try some of these things just have to ask the hotel staff. We will be happy to provide you with information, suggestions, guides and support so that you do not remain a slave to Mont Blanc.
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