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pre giroud outside

Have you heard the myths about the secret underground Swiss military tunnels? Well, they’re true! Come and visit this little farmhouse and get taken underground. Carved out of rock, this fort, was built between 1937-1941. Their mission was to protect the passage of the Col de Jougne from any foreign army and support the defense of the French-Swiss border during World War II.

In 1945, the artillery fort, which was carved into the rock, housed 200 men. It consists of six blockhouses, connected by a network of galleries with stocks of ammunition, a machine room and barracks.

The life of the fort has been reconstructed using dummies. The temperature is a constant 8°C so make sure to dress appropriately.

Museum and exhibition

  • An exhibition which recounts real events through the customs of Vallorbe 39-45 (photos, plans, mannequins, banners, weapons)
  • The refectory has been converted into a museum with various weapons and infantry items provided to the men who were responsible for the external defense of the fortress (diorama)
  • The dormitories of the non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and kitchen helpers are still totally equipped, with arms, uniforms and all accessories
  • Rooms for officers and senior NCOs
  • The officers mess, decorated with wood by the soldiers of the garrison
  • The telephone center, connecting the fort with all the troops in the sector
  • The company office
  • The sanitary block (operating room, dentist, infirmary) where a physician-surgeon officer is ready for any intervention
  • Sound and light reconstruction of shooting parts (gun and submachine gun)

pregiroudinsideBuffet campagnard au Fort de Pré-Giroud
August 18 from 10h-16h: Not only will a visit be a great idea for you this summer but take advantage of their buffet lunch on Sunday, as well. In addition to the food, there will be cannons, cor des Alpes and entertainment.

Brisolée au Fort de Pré-Giroud
13 October from 10h-16h: Visit of the fort with brisolée (roasted chestnuts) accompanied by a raclette and sausages of the region. Cannons will be fired and other entertainment will be organized. Prior reservations required.

Note: Picnic spots and a barbecue (for grilling) are provided in front and at the entrance of the fort. At the kiosk: hot and cold beverages, wine, confectionery, postcards, brochures, pennants, glasses, military equipment (and more).


Obviously, if you saw the above sculpture on top of a pole in downtown Geneva, you probably wouldn't have even stopped to admire it. It just looks like a bunch of distorted oversized wires. But suddenly, as you walk this way or that, the juxtaposition of these wires start to play with each other. They start to mean something. As you try not to trip over the curb, you don’t want to take your eyes off it, for fear of missing a millisecond of the new shape emerging! Amazingly, on one extreme you can make out the word OUI in French. On the other side of the square, you make out the word NON. It is quite amazing and brings to mind other works that the artist has worked on in the past. 


The artist, Markus Raetz, entitled this work simply OUI/NON. It was finished in 2000 and erected in 2001 on the Rue du Rhône (at Place de la Fusterie) in downtown Geneva. Markus Raetz works on the real and unreal of the negative/positive and the perception and the deformation on shapes in a mirror or facing each other. He invites the viewer to interact, because many works by the artist reveal themselves only by the movement of the viewer in front of the sculpture. Markus Raetz was born in the canton of Bern in 1941. He is one of the most renowned contemporary Swiss artists. 


Château d'Aigle, Valais

This is an extract from ©Know-it-all passport® 2011/2012 and all page numbers are referring to this edition. This section is taken from pages 84-85. See map here at reference square H4.


— Tourist Office

L’Association Touristique

Rue Colomb 5

1860 Aigle - Leysin

024 466 30 00



In the village, several historical sights can be visited, including the Church of St Maurice founded in 1138 (Eglise du Cloître) and rebuilt in the 15th century.

Around the village of Aigle, there are wine cellars to visit and wine-tasting organized by owners. There are also many walking paths through the vineyards.

The mini-train, Le P'tit Chablaisien, circulates on weekends in June, and daily in July and August, and will take you on a 50-minute trip with one of the stops being the Château. You can start at the Aigle train station if you want to park there. Note: Wine-tasting on-board for Fr. 5.-/person on Fridays in July and August for mini-trains leaving at 17h15 and 18h30; sign-up at the Tourist Office before noon. Click here for map of Aigle with the mini-train stops. Price without wine-tasting is Fr. 4.-/person, children up to age 9 free-of-charge.



To give you an idea of some of the spectacular places you can visit in this region, we will feature each month a photo of one of its many great locations.  Since we rely on recommendations, please send us your special photo taken, for example, on a memorable day out at a water park or from a remarkable viewpoint in the area.


Text and photos by Lisa Cirieco-Ohlman

This beautiful Swiss town is built on a cliff hugging the river, La Sarine, and is a city to discover without further delay!

Because of it’s location, access to the city center is possible via one of the numerous bridges scattered on all sides. Architecturally interesting by themselves, you might like to park your car and walk across some. From the old town we drove across the Zähringen Bridge, built in 1924 that replaced a suspended bridge (1834), and is now 165-meters long. I noticed that we were on the top “deck” as when we circled back I saw the lower “deck” below. It reminded me of the Bay Bridge between Oakland and San Francisco!


To give you an idea of some of the spectacular places you can visit in this region, we will feature each month a photo of one of its many great locations.  Since we rely on recommendations, please send us your special photo taken, for example, on a memorable day out at a water park or from a remarkable viewpoint in the area.

Alpe D'Huez swimming poolAlpe D’Huez
by Jenny Jeffreys

Since we’re still in the heart of Winter, we couldn’t resist choosing another ski resort for this month’s Location of the Month.  However, if you’re not a keen skier, this resort still has plenty to keep you busy!  

Situated just beyond Grenoble in France, about 2 and a half hours drive from Geneva, Alpe D’Huez is situated on the  sunny, south-facing slopes of the Grandes Rousses massif, which can enjoy up to 7.5 hours of sun in December and 11 hours of sun in April – in fact an average of 300 sunny days per year.  On one of those fine days, apparently you can see a fifth of France from the top of Pic Blanc (3300m)!