The Saint-Nicolas church in Hérémence.

Little sister of the dam, it is a visit not to be missed and an obligatory detour for any stay in Valais.

On your way back from your excursion to Grande Dixence, stop at this amazing building.  Before entering its remarkable interior, stroll through its corridors and stairs. Appreciate the audacious marriage of concrete openings on wooden facades. Take in the contrasts, the play of light and shadow. Contemplate the windows showing the surrounding mountains. For photography enthusiasts, it’s an infinite playground. Highlight the lines, curves, shapes, capture the halos of light and the openings on the peaks. Everything is a source of wonder. And when geting inside, those who at first decried it for its mass of concrete, find themselves loving and indulging in pure enchantment. Admiring, subjugated, fascinated, dazzled… are all words heard by visitors.

Classified as a historical monument of national importance, the church is a strong symbol of the commune of Hérémence. Beyond being a great tourist asset, the Sagrada Familia of Valais is above all a great tribute to the builders of Grande Dixence. When the valley was emerging from an almost self-sufficient agropastoral life, the villagers opted for audacity, by moving to modernity. A titanic dam, an unusual church, are the inhabitants of Hérémence visionaries? More than a church, it is a place of life in the village that brings generations together, a formidable link between them and an ambitious way of writing history for posterity. 

“A church in a village should not be a copy of the surrounding chalets. Nor should it be a mere reflection of the past,” said Marius Charbonnet, the parish priest at the time.

x Warning The access road to the Grande Dixence dam was closed on 2 November by the State of Valais for the winter season. We look forward to seeing you next year in June !
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