Would you like to take a vacation in Val d’Illiez? If you want to escape from the cacophony of this phony rat race life for a while and succumb to an out-of-the-world place, you may consider this remote corner of west Switzerland.
Where is it? You may not find it on a regular map. Zoom close to Geneva. Then, if you take yourself a little northeast, you’ll see Lausanne and maybe Montreaux in the same big-size font. Go down a bit southeast — Do you see Aigle in a slightly smaller font?
From Aigle, you take a tram like the train AOMC and go to Val d’Illiez. It’ll take you about forty minutes. The tram, like the train most of the time, will wait for you at the platform line 11/12.
From here we’ll go to a more remote place called Champoussin village. We’ll take a bus and up the mountain path and reach there another half an hour later. There are only three or four times the bus runs in the whole day. So if you don’t want to keep a car or give in to this bus schedule, you are stuck in this village. Well, you may take a taxi, which will cost you 40 to 60 Swiss Franc depending on if the driver has to make the trip once or twice.
What’s there in this Champoussin place? Well, it is a ski resort. In summer, people do paragliding and indulge in spas and thermal baths. You may know about this if you Google search Val d’Illiez or Champoussin.
I’ll write about the information that I did not find searching the net.
Champoussin village is a very small village with perhaps not more than a hundred houses. There are a few restaurants, one grocery store, and a Laundromat but they run at their convenience, which may not match your hours, especially when you are out all day touring different places. After all, you are a tourist in Switzerland.
Is there a nightlife? No. As the sun goes down, the village becomes peacefully sleepy and quiet, like a little child on his mom’s lap.
Our room is situated up on the hill, which is quite a bit of exercise if you are not diligently used to your stair machine in the gym. Good exercise, for sure. Our log cabin room is an excellent example of the minimalist Swiss way of life. Everything that is needed is here, including a tiny patch of flower bed with happy lupines, columbines, and other pretty flowers. But there is no phone, no wifi, and no paper towels (some clean rags are provided, though).
You have to go down to the lobby if you want to use your phone or laptop. They have a computer too that you may use, paying a fee per hour. Nevertheless, the room is warm, clean, and beautiful.
We can see the snow-capped Alps-Dent du Mid from our decks. Even from the window next to the bed, you’ll be able to see the beautiful hills and the moon. Underneath the snow-capped mountains lie the green rolling hills; only one road, like a streak of a line, snakes up the hills to make a connection with the real world.
You hear cowbells and occasionally most of the gazing cows, reminding you of the picture book Heidi. The air smells like sweet milk mixed with mountain pines. Stretch your vision, and you’ll see so many shades of green. Up on the hill are farms where they milk the cows every day and make homemade cheese. We bought that cheese, a specialty of Champoussin. The lady who has a grocery store down the lane also makes fresh bread every day that tastes so different from the mass-produced ones.
Around you, you’ll hear only French. Very few people speak English or Swiss German language. But they are friendly, and today, I came to know that language is no barrier to making friends if you really care. Emily knows as much English as I know French.
Why will you go to Val d’Illiez?
If I am asked to close my eyes and think of a peaceful, tranquil place on earth — it has given me that resource. Champoussin Village will refresh you and treasure it when you return to your regular life.
You may go to visit Geneva (just about two hours by bus and train) and even less if you keep a car.
Lausanne is another even closer and very beautiful place. The train ride from Lausanne to Aigle is spectacular. The train track circles Lake Geneva goes up the bridge, and gives you the most beautiful view.
You can even take a little walk along the lakefront, hop in a boat and go to Montreaux, or visit Chateau d’Chillon, which is right on the lake, and all these could be done in the afternoon.
At the train station, Lausanne, get out the exit, take a left, and you’ll see a kiosk within a few yards. Buy a metro ticket for about 2 Swiss francs and head towards Ouchy (pronounced as oushee).
Go down the Metro and hop on the tram going towards Ouchy- now you are going towards the lakefront. When you come out of the Metro, take a left, and with a few steps, you’ll find the finest bakery – Aux Bonne Choses. I loved their eggplant with cheese panini and some almond pastries.
Have a picnic at the waterfront in Lausanne. A nice bathroom right next to the children’s playground is clean and free. Take a walk unto Lutry, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes of walk. We took longer, taking leisurely breaks at the park benches watching monogamous swan couples’ lovemaking and happy grandmas pushing strollers with their beloved little ones.
You may even take a trip from Montreaux to the Chocolate factory in Broc Fabrique and also to the famous Gruyere Cheese factory in Broc another day from the Aigle station.
This place (Champoussin Village) is close to Geneva airport and very far from Zurich. Since there are better airline deals through Zurich than in Geneva, you may want to consider that, too. We landed there and then took a train from Zurich to Aigle which took us about three hours.
Consider buying a Swiss Rail Pass, which will cover all buses and boats and also many admissions to museums, which is a big saving.
Also, check out the schedule by plugging in the exact location, and you will get a clear direction for your destination.
We had an RCI Timeshare and lived in the RCI resort at Champoussin, but there are other hotels, too. I have no affiliation with any of the people and the links I mentioned in this article.