The Matterhorn tourist area
It is at ChĂ˘tillon that the Valtournenche opens out, and at the end of this splendid alpine valley is the Matterhorn, the mountain, the like of which no other can be found. Described as "the most noble rock in Europeâ€ť by the English writer and poet John Ruskin and familiarly dubbed "la Gran Becca" by the valley-dwellers, the Matterhorn rises up amid the slopes of the valley, right from the first of the villages, Antey-Saint-AndrĂ©, a superb health resort in a sunny position sheltered from the winds. The other municipalities look down onto the central valley from beautiful, predominantly flat natural balconies. Torgnon and La Magdeleine, situated opposite one another, are ancient villages comprising numerous little clusters of houses that still conserve their traditional alpine architecture. From Torgnon you can go through Col Saint-PantalĂ©on, from where there are marvellous views of the valley and the Matterhorn, down towards the villages of Verrayes and Saint-Denis into the central valley. Chamois (one of the â€śalpine pearlsâ€ť) feels no need for a road up to it to this day, and can only be reached by cableway, or on foot from the village of La Magdeleine or from Valtournenche. Valtournenche is the home of the alpine guides of the Matterhorn, as well as a range of other illustrious characters from the history of the Aosta Valley, and here you can find the famous Breuil-Cervinia, one of the largest ski areas in the Alps.