The small medieval village of Étroubles is located at an altitude of 1270 metres in the beautiful Alpine setting of the Great Saint Bernard Valley, surrounded by forests and green pastures. The hamlet was already known in Roman times as Restopolis, since it is located on the ancient Via delle Gallie, the consular road to the Alpis Poenina, today’s Gran San Bernardo pass. Étroubles is still today an important center since it is set on the Via Francigena, the important route that in the Middle Ages connected the British Isles to Rome and Jerusalem, used by many pilgrims.
WHAT TO SEE
● The medieval village with its open-air museum: Étroubles is a permanent art gallery, set up in collaboration with the prestigious Fondation Gianadda of Martigny. Along the cobblestone streets, surrounded by contemporary works of art, people can discover picturesque corners with beautiful fountains and old houses with stone roofs.
● The Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta: the building was reconstructed around 1815 on the remains of a pre-existing church and holds some liturgical items from the 15th century.
● The chapels: five rural chapels prove the devotion and religiosity of the inhabitants. The oldest sanctuary is the one in Echevennoz, dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows.
NATURE AND SPORT
Étroubles provides not only art and history, but also lots of sport and outdoor activities. The area is surrounded by an amphitheatre of wonderful mountains, including Mont Vélan and Mont Fallère, and it is a perfect holiday destination at any time of the year: in summer, hiking enthusiasts can choose among easy walks, long traverses through unspoilt valleys, stretches of the Via Francigena or treks lasting several days, such as the spectacular Tour du Mont Fallère, a round trip offering spectacular views of the main 4000 peaks. In winter, for those who love cross-country skiing, an 18 km long trail starts from Étroubles, which goes up the valley and, touching several pretty villages, reaches the 1521 meters of Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● The traditional Veillà: this event symbolizes a particularly evocative moment in the summer of Étroubles, since it represents an opportunity to relive the antique cultural roots of the country. The old crafts of the past are revived in the village and local specialities are proposed, accompanied by traditional live music.
● The Coumba Freida Carnival: this is a very special carnival, full of mystery and history. According to tradition, this celebration was established in commemoration of the march through the Great Saint Bernard Pass by Napoleon and his troops in May 1800, during his campaign in Italy. The landzette, curious masks of this carnival, wear colourful costumes and are traditionally an allegorical transformation of the uniforms originally worn by the French soldiers.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
Families with children are welcome in the village of Étroubles, since it is not chaotic and it is surrounded by unspoilt nature. Families can take nice walks in the green woods and enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. For babies who are not walking yet, it is possible to take a stroller along the flat path that runs from Étroubles to Saint-Oyen along the Artanavaz river. The municipality offers also three equipped playgrounds to entertain all children with slides and swings.
● Altitude: 1270 m
● Inhabitants: 480
● How to get there by public transport: Étroubles is reachable by bus with the line “Aosta – Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses”. For timetables and further information, please visit the website of the Arriva Savda company.