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The road from Aigle up into the mountains divides at Le Sépey – Les Diablerets is east, the Col des Mosses leading to Château d’Oex is north, while buses follow a tiny winding road west to the beautifully located little village of LEYSIN, once a high-altitude centre for the treatment of respiratory diseases, but now metamorphosed into a popular and well-maintained ski resort. Lifts and gondolas from the village serve a host of red and blue pistes, as well as a half-pipe for snowboarders below the peak of La Berneuse (2048m), where there’s a panoramic revolving restaurant. Summer hiking in this mountain hideaway is excellent.

The best accommodation in the village can be found in the friendly Hiking Sheep Guesthouse in Villa La Joux (Phone & fax 024/494 35 35, www.leysin.net/hikingsheep; a), with some twin rooms and space in small dorms (Fr.28); satellite TV, a large cosy lounge, dining rooms with log fires, kitchen use, balconies with perfect views and switched-on multilingual staff add to the attraction (as do reductions for long stays). Hotels – the Orchidées (024/494 14 21, fax 494 18 10; b) or the Mont-Riant (024/494 27 01, fax 494 27 04; b–c) for example – are comfortable enough but just can’t compare.

Leysin was once famous around Switzerland for its giant August rock festival – that is, until they ran into major difficulties a few years back with crowd control and financing. Until they can sort things out again, a low-key Alpine Music Festival has taken its place – check with the tourist office (024/494 22 44) for more details.

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