Who does not know that is Fénis there is one of the most stunning medieval castles of the world? It is definitely a must-see. It is possible to describe the manor, indeed, but words are useless to describe the emotions felt during the visit. To cross the main entrance as Bonifacio I of Challant did at the beginning of the XV century, right after the castle was built; to continue towards the battlemented walls and the frescoed court, where one can see Saint James killing the dragon to save the princess; to listen to the incredible story that lead to the abandon of the castle, which was first reconverted to a shed and then finally restored; these are all strong emotions to feel. Another nice experience is to sit by one of the windows of the castle and admire the woods of the Clavalité valley, unspoiled and wild as in the Middle Age when the ladies of the castle peacefully embroidered, to look for new views over Fénis. From the castle one can see, in fact, a big stone building, the MAV, as well as a nice park with a cyclable and walking trail. Thus, it is easily understandable why Fénis is a surprising corner of the Aosta Valley which has a lot to offer, in addition to its unmissable castle.
WHAT TO SEE
● The castle, a truly unmissable attraction for everybody: Middle Age lovers, architecture fans, arts enthousiasts and kids, who will feel the emotion of living in a tale.
● The MAV, the Museum of the Aosta Valley traditional craftworks, which offers a selection of the best works of art in wood or stone relating to the Aosta Valley. Just a couple of metres away from the castle about 800 handmade objects and sculptures tell the story of the traditional handicrafts, both in the past and in the present.
NATURE AND SPORT
So, not only arts. Close to the castle lies a wide area known as ‘Tzanté de Bouva’ which hosts a picnic area in a wood with oaks, cherry trees, birches and ashes, a playground and a sport centre. Here a 5 km flat cycle lane, starts. From here one can also walk along the path that leads to the Sanctuary of Saint-Julien and to Mont Corquet.
From Fénis the road continues to a tiny parking where a panel says ‘Welcome to Clavalité’: from here one can continue on foot. The most trained can take the climb to the Clavalité Valley and the Borroz Bivouac. Already known in ancient times, this valley is rich in minerals and it is the only area in which there is a rock salt deposit in the Aosta Valley. It owns an idyllic panorama, marked by some isolated building, among which stand the Notre-Dame de la Neige chapel and the last chalets of the Maison Blanche hamlet to the top of the valley. It is easily understandable why Fénis in summer is a true corner of paradise for hiking, climbing, mountain biking and horse riding.
In winter, the Clavalité valley is the ideal destination for ski-tourism and snowshoes lovers.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● Castello in Fiera: markets, music and entertainment close to the castle and in its inner courts.
● Châtaigne d’or: a three-day festival dedicated to chestnuts. The chestnut party in Fénis is one of the most ancient ones in the Aosta Valley.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
In addition to open-air activities in the Tsanté de Bouva area (playground, sport centre, cycle lane) and to the visit to the castle, kids can try, together with their parents, the panoramic stroll to the Sanctuary of Saint-Julien.
And last but to least, the educational workshops organised by the MAV, which transform kids into artisans for one day.
Altitude: 540 m
How to get there by public transports: Once you reach Aosta by train or by bus, you can take the bus to Fénis.