Val de Bagnes
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The long Val de Bagnes runs southeast from Le Châble, a peaceful, entirely rural community tucked beneath the famous ski resort of Verbier. Le Châble is in fact the capital of the Bagnes commune, Switzerland’s largest, and at 295 kilometres square larger than the cantons of Geneva, Schaffhausen or Zug (although about a third of the Bagnes is covered by glaciers). Buses run twice a day (July–Sept only) from Le Châble to the impressive Mauvoisin Dam, a giant wall 250m high blocking the end of the valley. At 1961m, it’s one of the highest-altitude dams in the world. A hotel at the base (Phone & fax 027/778 11 30; a) has rooms and dorms (Fr.20) allowing you to stay overnight, either after a walk up from Fionnay or Lourtier villages in the valley, or before taking a full day to hike back to Le Châble.

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