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"Sion is known for its charming old town, from the 1500 - 1600s, and it is an excellent way to spend a Saturday if you happen to be in Geneva (2 hour trip on the superb Swiss Railways). You will probably have read about the "chateaux" -- there are two and they face each other on adjacent hills. One ..."is the remains of a medieval castle, something out of King Arthur's tale. The other is the Basilique de Valere, a cathedral within a walled precinct perched at the very top of a steep hill. Make sure to eat a good lunch for the trek to come, and you are strongly advised to wear walking/hiking shoes -- something with soles meant to give you a grip (on uneven stone paths and steps). You will walk up from the old town, and be presented with a choice. I opted for the cathedral and was richly rewarded. With parts dating back to the 11th century, and mostly built in the 1400s, the church and the museum are out of a storybook about the Middle Ages. The church has the oldest playable organ in...
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"More similar in size to some of the Welsh cathedrals like Brecon or St. Asaph than Canterbury. The inside is pretty dark - the result of a lot of modern stained glass in strong, but dark colours. Otherwise the interior is quite bare - there is very little in the way of monuments. The church is very ..."easy to get to - right in the centre of the city. The oldest part of the church is the west tower which is 12th century Romanesque and the newest is the end of the quire at the other end which was finished in 1947. Probably not worth making a trip to Sion on its own, but worth stopping into if you are in the city. No doubt its appeal will be greater to those with an interest in 20th century stained glass.
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Church-Fortress of Valere (Eglise-Forteresse de Valere)
"This is a fortified church situated on a hilltop. The climb up to it from the city centre is pretty steep and the last part of the route is over rough stones - definitely not wheelchair accessible. The church would have made a rather tough place to attack in the middle ages. Its being restored at th..."e moment and has been for some time. Because of the restorations its only possible to visit the nave at the moment. The quire can be glimpsed through a pair of locked glass doors. Of not in the interior are some wall paintings, an ancient organ sat on what appears to be the prow of a boat that's crashed through the west wall, and a rather curious bridge across the nave high up near the vaulting. An interesting enough church to visit but for me the real star is the panoramic view over Sion and the Rhone Valley from the western battlements . There's a small museum next to the church which I haven't visited - plus twice a week there are displays of birds of prey from the cliffs east of the chu...
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