If you really want to discover a tiny village not affected by overtourism, where rhythms are slow and everything is deeply connected with nature, then the perfect destination for you is La Magdeleine. Lying in the middle of the Matterhorn valley at about 1650 m of altitude and surrounded by vast forests, La Magdeleine is the smallest town of the Valtournenche. It is composed by five simple but picturesque hamlets, where you can still find both the typical rascards, a local kind of building made of wood and stone used to conserve hay, and the solid greniers to store cereals.
WHAT TO SEE
● The mills. In the hamlets of Brengon and Clou there are wight mills, lined up along the slope and fed by the water of a small stream. They are all linked by a route that gives the chance of visiting them all.
● The ovens. Breadmaking is still a meaningful tradition in the Aosta Valley. Three of the five hamlets of La Magdeleine own community ovens that are still used nowadays.
● The protohistoric archaeological settlement. At the foot of the Mont Tantané there are the ruins of two different but neighbouring groups of huts dating back to the beginning of the Iron Age.
NATURE AND SPORT
La Magdeleine means relax and slowness. In summer you can walk along some paths in the woods and reach tiny villages or try harder excursions, such as the one to Mount Tantané or to Mount Zerbion, the mountain that dominates Saint-Vincent and the central valley, easily recognizable for the statue of the Virgin Mary that lies on the top of it.
You can also reach Chamois by walking along a panoramic and flat route, completely surrounded by woods and meadows. But you can also try mountain bike excursions or a two-seater flight in paragliding.
The town also owns tennis courts, football, volley, basket and bowls fields, in addition to a health route in the woods.
In winter La Magdeleine becomes a small ski resort with really easy alpine skiing slopes, perfect for kids and beginners. For those who love walking on the snow , with or without snowshoes, and ski-tourism various routes are available, as well as organised activities with an Alpine guide.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● On the occasion of the feast of the patron saint, which happens in July, there is a market with typical products and handicrafts preceded by a gastronomic evening enlivened with music.
● The taste of a walk. In August, along the route that links Chamois to La Magdeleine, some stalls show off typical products, from handicrafts to food and wine. Music and fun cheer the whole day.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
La Magdeleine has a marked inclination for welcoming families with babies. In fact there are various activites for them to have fun. For example, they can reach Chamois by walking on the easy and flat route “Energie in gioco”, which can be done also with strollers. Along the way there are panels giving pieces of information about energy sources. There are also some playgrounds in the hamlets of Clou, Brengon and Messelod.
Here in winter kids can try their first descent on the skis thanks to a baby area with magic carpets, or they can have fun on the brand-new baby snow park.
During the Christmas holidays and the weekends there is also an ice skating rink to have fun even at night.
● Altitude: 1644 m
● Inhabitants: 100
● How to get there by public transports: after having reached Châtillon by train or by bus, take the bus to Valtournenche or Torgnon and get off at ‘Antey-Saint-André – Office du tourisme’. Once there, take a taxi.