Travel towards Sion along the flat Rhone valley and you’ll see its landmarks long before you reach the town. Twin peaks, each topped by a castle, stand guard over the ancient city and it’s not hard to imagine a fantasy novel set here, with the castle peaks ruled by opposing brothers. Luckily it’s a peaceful place with an enchanting old town at the foot of the two hills and plenty of outdoor life in summer. Set in its suntrap valley, it’s one of the sunniest spots in Switzerland.
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It’s a hearty walk up the nearest of the two peaks and once you reach the top you realise that its castle, Château de Valère, is actually a fortified basilica. The mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles is simple but beautiful, as are the delicate interior frescoes that have survived the centuries. A second, heartier hike, takes you on up to the other castle, Château Tourbillon, which is a majestic ruin these days.
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If you walk up to the castles it’s impossible to miss this great restaurant as it sits at the bottom of both hills. The simple yet elegant interior of Enclos Des Valère, has whitewashed walls, flagstoned floor and beamed ceiling, but it’s the outside that makes it special, with a tranquil garden bursting with foliage and a terrace for al fresco dining. The perfect place to enjoy the first-rate cuisine.
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