Tourisme Suisse


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Tourisme Suisse
Bateau de la CGN sur le lac Léman
To discover an region

French speaking Switzerland, also called Suisse Romande,
an ideal destination for your holidays.

Choose an region of Suisse Romande
Romandie : French speaking Switzerland

Gruyere / Pays d'Enhaut Prealpes region Valais region Lemanic Basin countryside of Suisse Romande Jura region
French speaking Switzerland is inhabited by some 1.3 million peoples divided in 6 cantons:
Geneva     Vaud     Valais     Fribourg     Neuchâtel     Jura

What makes Romandie or Suisse Romande so attractive?

Romandie borders France and Italy in the South/South-West of Switzerland. Romandie includes all the beauties of this part of the world and even more…
The variety of its landscapes, like plains, mountains, lakes and rivers make it a little paradise in the heart of Europe.
French speaking Switzerland has deep lake traditions linked to its « Lac Leman », also called « Lac of Geneva » which is the biggest lake in Western Europe. Also a large Alpine tradition stems from the presence of the highest mountains of the Swiss Alps with more than 30 summits culminating above 4000 metres. Among those we find summits of worldwide reputation like the Cervin (Matterhorn), the Mischabel range, the Mont-Rose or the Dent Blanche.
High-tech means of transportation will take you to incredibly high altitudes. Warm and well equipped resorts, allowing for year around activities, welcome thousands of tourists every year.
You will not only find breathtaking sceneries, but also a quality of life recognised by the large number of travellers visiting every year. Culture, gastronomy, sports, warm and friendly welcoming as well as security make it equally a destination appreciated by business women and men, showbiz and political personalities.
Suisse Romande is recognised worldwide as being the cradle of the Swiss watch industry and the centre of micromechanics. It is also home of multiple international sports federations. Among those the IOC or International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, the UEFA or Union of European Football Association in Nyon. Many headquarters of NGO or Non-Governmental Organization as well as international governmental agencies are located in Geneva. Among these, let’s name the most famous like UN or United Nations, WHO, ILO, WTO, ICRC, IATA.

Let your heart speak…and a region of Romandie will be yours

The Lemanic Basin

Choose this region for:
Ideal for activities linked to the lake, to the proximity of large cities like Geneva and Lausanne, to the cultural life and of course to shopping in the most famous boutiques. It is one region and four different worlds i.e. city-rural-mountain-lake over two km2 only.
Canton(s) forming part of this region:
Your holidays in the Lemanic Basin

The Prealpes region

Choose this region for:
To ski or to stroll in the permanent snow in the morning and to swim in the Lake Leman in the afternoon is a must. A green or snow covered nature depending of the season, all types of sports which can be practiced year around; ski areas with easy access for all and the proximity of Lake Leman make it an ideal destination for your holidays.
Canton(s) forming part of this region:
Your holidays in the Prealpes region

The countryside of Suisse Romande

Choose this region for:
Far away from the excitement of the big cities and tourist resorts, but close to the Alpes after all, it is a region for quite, smooth and ecological holidaying.
Canton(s) forming part of this region:
Your holidays in the countryside of Suisse Romande

The Valais region

Choose this region for:
It is the paradise of the mountaineer, with its breathtaking peaks, its scenic valleys, its charming and typical villages, its sports resorts, its chairlifts and other modern and safe means to the top as well as its landscapes. All this makes it one of the world favourite tourists’ destination.
Canton(s) forming part of this region:
Your holidays in the Valais region

The Jura region

Choose this region for:
When snow is covering the valleys and the mountains, winter is favourable to long treks on skies or snowshoes. The rest of the year you can explore walking, on bike or on horse. You will discover a well protected nature strolling through small valleys, pastures, woods, lakes and rivers.
Canton(s) forming part of this region:
Your holidays in the Jura region

The Gruyere / Pays d'Enhaut

Choose this region for:
A green or snow covered nature depending of the season, all types of sports which can be practiced year around; ski areas with easy access for all and the proximity of Lake Leman make it an ideal destination for your holidays.
Canton(s) forming part of this region:
Your holidays in the Gruyere / Pays d'Enhaut

Canton of Valais

The Valais (German: Wallis (help info)) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the south-western part of the country, around the valley of the Rhone River from its springs to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhone valley. Paradoxically it is also one of most well-watered parts, having large amounts of snow and rain up on the highest peaks found in Switzerland. It is perhaps best known world wide for the Matterhorn.


The canton of Valais is located in the south of Switzerland. To its south lies Italy, to the southwest France. To the north the canton is bounded by the Swiss cantons of Vaud and Bern; the cantons of Uri and Ticino lie to its east.
The wide, glacial Rhône valley dominates the area. There are many side valleys which branch off the main valley. These vary from narrow and remote to reasonably populous and popular. At the head of the Mattertal valley lays Zermatt, a pretty tourist village dominated by views of the Matterhorn (4,478 m). Fifty of the mountains exceed 4,000m with the highest, Monte Rosa, reaching to 4,638m (15,217ft), and there are numerous glaciers.
The Rhône drains the main valley from east to west up to Martigny, then in a right angle north to its mouth in the Lake Geneva. After the small town of Saint-Maurice, the northern banks of the river belong to the canton of Vaud. The main valley is bound by the Bernese Alps in the north and the Pennine Alps in the south. Only about half of the total area is considered productive.


  • North of the Rhone River
  • Fieschertal
  • Lötschental
  • Dalatal (Leukerbad)
  • South of the Rhone River:
  • Binntal
  • Saastal
  • Mattertal
  • Val d'Anniviers
  • Val d'Hérens
  • Val de Nendaz
  • Val de Bagnes
  • Val d'Entremont
  • Val d'Illiez


Notre Dame de Valère above the cantonal capital Sion the Romans called the area Vallis Poenina ("Upper Rhône Valley"). From 888 onwards the lands were part of the kingdom of Jurane Burgundy.
Main article: Bishops of Sion.
King Rudolph III of Burgundy gave the lands to the Bishop of Sion in 999, making him Count of the Valais. The count-bishops then struggled to defend their area against the dukes of Savoy, so that the medieval history of the Valais is inextricably linked with that of the diocese of Sion.
The Valais resisted the Protestant Reformation, remaining faithful to the Roman Catholic Church. On March 12, 1529, Valais became an associate member (Zugewandter Ort) of the Swiss Confederation. In 1628 the Valais became technically a republic, the République des Sept Dizains / Republic der Sieben Zehenden under the guidance of the prince-bishop of Sion and the bailli. The bishop remained in power until 1798 when Napoleon's troops invaded the Valais and declared a Revolutionary République du Valais (March 16) which was swiftly incorporated (May 1) into the Helvetica Republic until 1802 when it became the independent Rhodanie Republic. In 1810 the Rhodanie Republic was annexed by Napoleonic France as the department of Simplon. Independence was restored in 1813 and on August 4, 1815 the Valais finally entered the Swiss confederation as a canton. In 1845 the Valais joined the Catholic separatist league (Sonderbund), but chose not to fight the troops of the confederation in 1847 and submitted to the federal forces.


Summertime skiing in the Valais on the Theodul glacier Wine production and tourism are some of the main industries of the canton. The Matterhorn near Zermatt is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Swiss mountains, as is its sister valley immediately east Saas Fee. Other parts of the mountains of the canton further west are popular as well, such as the more French speaking resorts near Verbier and the Evolene & Arolla region. The resorts on the north side of the main Rhone river valley are popular, looking out southwards towards the Peninne Alps and still part of the southern slope of the Bernese Alps, such as the family oriented resort of Crans-Montana. The resorts in the Goms region are slightly less known, yet also receive attention during the summer hiking season and the winter ski season.
Apart from tourism, agriculture is still important, particularly cattle breeding in the mountains and dairy farming in the plains. The wine industry of the canton is the largest in Switzerland. There are also large number orchards in the area, and saffron is also gathered here.
Europe's tallest gravity dam is located at Grande Dixence in the canton. Hydroelectric power plants from the canton produce about a quarter of the Swiss electricity.
The west part and the most industrial region of the canton are called Chablais. The area is very important for the economy. The lands from the Valais part of the Geneva Lake to the town of St-Maurice stand in the Chablais. There are a lot of factories; the most important are the subsidiaries of Novartis and Syngenta, in Monthey. In the town of Collombey, there is an oil refinery.
Near Visp there is a large plant of aluminum manufacturing. Other metal products and chemicals are produced around Visp and Sierre.
Despite the thriving tourist industry, high level of infrastructure, and the many vineyards, canton Valais is still one of the poorest of the Swiss cantons, and not yet near the wealthier banking/financial cantons. A large portion of the canton's land and houses is now owned by foreigners.
The mountainous canton with a plethora of ski resorts was narrowly passed over in the bid for the 2006 Winter Olympics.


View looking down on the broad Rhone river valley running through the middle of the Valais small airport is located at Sion, but the main routes of transport are rail and road. Both networks are extensive and benefit from tourism. There are two major rail tunnels at the Simplon (Simplon Tunnel) and Lötschberg (Lötschberg Tunnel) and a road tunnel at the Great St Bernard. Many of the road passes are well known, such as the Grimsel Pass. The longest land tunnel in the world, the Lötschberg Base Tunnel, will soon be in operation, in late 2007 perhaps, connecting by rail the town of Frutigen in canton Bern, with the town of Visp in canton Valais/Wallis. This is to better allay car traffic in the highly scenic Kandertal, and also to provide faster transport through the Bernese Alps from the populous Mittelland in the north to the southern canton of Valais. Cars may be loaded onto the trains as freight. The old train line will still likely have traffic though, as it has highly scenic sections in both cantons on either side of the old tunnel through the dividing ridgeline, yet is somewhat slower than the new route which has a much longer tunnel section.
Because of the tourism there are many mountain railways and cable cars in the mountains. The scenic rail route across the Furka Pass originates in the canton of Valais.


Valais is predominantly French and Arpitan speaking. The eastern part of the canton Upper Valais, however, speaks Walliser German. The French speaking population makes up a little bit more than two thirds of the total population.
The whole canton is thinly populated. The largest towns are the capital Sion (Sitten), Sierre and Brig. There is no major city located in the canton. Over 90% of the population is Roman Catholic.


  • Brig
  • Sion
  • Sierre
  • Monthey
  • Martigny
  • Visp

  | Tourism guide of the French-speaking Switzerland.