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There are few more dramatically sited cities in Switzerland than MARTIGNY. Set down on the broad valley floor, with wooded heights soaring on all sides, it’s positioned at a natural crossroads. The Rhône, having flowed almost arrow straight along its valley for over 100km, suddenly makes a sharp right-angled turn at Martigny, heading off between the mountains to Lake Geneva; elevated points within the town give yawning views along both valleys, east and north. The major draw to the town is the Fondation Pierre Gianadda, one of the country’s most prestigious art galleries. A handful of Roman ruins add a further smidgen of interest.
And yet Martigny is a curiously unsatisfying place to spend more than an afternoon. It’s not an unpleasant town, but there’s just not much going on, and – even worse – not many characterful places to sit and watch life go by. Stay overnight and make the best of it, or cut your losses and look elsewhere: St-Maurice has held onto its history better than Martigny; atmospheric Sion is close by; or you might prefer to plump for a “been-there-seen-it” night way up on the Grand-St-Bernard.
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