Saint-Oyen lies at the foot of the Bosses combe in the Great Saint Bernard valley at an altitude of 1373 metres and is characterised by beautiful typical houses. Here we find a variety of environments, sun exposures and altitudes, where the vast meadows and pastures of the left bank, more exposed to the sun, blend with the green forests of the right bank.
The history of this village is linked to the road leading to the Great Saint Bernard Pass, once important from a commercial point of view, now followed by many pilgrims who every year travel the ancient Via Francigena, which connects the British Isles to Rome and Jerusalem.
WHAT TO SEE
● The Parish Church of Saint Eugendus: the church was probably founded in the 12th century, but has been rebuilt in 1820. It preserves a beautiful silver reliquary, partially gilded and decorated with crystals, dating from the 17th century and made by a Swiss artist.
● Château Verdun: this fortified house was donated in 1137 by Count Amadeus III of Savoy to the canons of the Great Saint Bernard hospice, who transformed it into a very characteristic guesthouse.
NATURE AND SPORT
Saint Oyen offers several hiking routes on both sides of the valley, once frequented by smugglers who carried their loads to the Swiss Valais. Among the summer hikes, not to be missed are those to Plan Puitz and the Flassin combe.
In winter, in Flassin there is a modern foyer de fond, a facility for cross-country skiers who can enjoy 18 km of slopes between Étroubles and Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses. Many ski mountaineering and snowshoe trails, for example to the Barasson and Flassin mountain pastures, are also possible.
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
● The barbecued Jambon of Saint-Oyen festival: the event takes place every year on the first weekend of August and is dedicated to this delicious spit-roasted ham, slightly smoked, sprinkled with a mixture of aromatic herbs and slowly browned above large braziers.
● The Coumba Freida historic carnival: every year, as in the whole Great Saint Bernard valley, a parade is organized during which the landzette, curious masks of this carnival, wear colourful costumes and hats, which are traditionally an allegorical transformation of the uniforms of Napoleon’s troops who crossed the Great Saint Bernard Pass in 1800.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
In winter, children can spend a good time at the fun park on the snow in Flassin, which covers an area of about 50,000 square meters and offers many activities for adults and children.
In summer, the little guests can, together with their families, walk along the old irrigation channels of the village and discover the hamlets of Saint-Oyen, have lunch at the equipped picnic area in Prenoud among fir and larch trees, or have fun at the sports center with a nice football field.
● Altitude: 1373 m
● Inhabitants: 200
● How to get there by public transport: Saint-Oyen is reachable by bus with the line “Aosta – Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses”. For timetables and further information, please visit the website of the Arriva company.