- 1 The bisse of Savièse
- 2 The route
- 3 The bisse
- 4 The history of the bisse
- 5 Access
- 6 The bisse in the forest
- 7 The Vouasseurs’ bar
- 8 The description of the route
- 9 The Brac’s refreshment bar
- 10 The sawmill and wall of Les Branlires
- 11 The Soie castle and the Savièse vineyard
- 12 Appendix
- 13 Videos
- 14 Linked Attractions
The bisse of Savièse
The bisse of Savièse (bisse de Savièse in french) or torrent-neuf bisse is a 15th century bisse that brought water to Savièse along impressive rocky walls. It is the most famous bisse in Valais and offers a magnificent free excursion. It is open from early May to late October and closed in rainy weather.
The bisse of Savièse no longer exists since 1935 when it was abandoned and replaced by a tunnel to carry water to the village of Savièse. Since 2005, it is not the bisse that has been restored but a path that follows the old route of the torrent-neuf. The round trip path connects the Vouasseurs’ bars with the one in Brac. It winds its way through the forest along rocky walls and even uses metal footbridges to avoid corridors along which rocks fall. Only two small parts of the bisses are filled with water. Didactic panels and some curiosities decorate the route.
The round trip on the same route is about 9 kilometres long with a slight difference in altitude. It takes about 2h30 of walk plus 40 minutes round trip to reach the car park. The whole route is well secured but you should pay attention to small children by holding their hands as there may be a risk of slipping between or under the barriers. The Torpille team recommends a minimum age of 6 years.
A bisse is an open-air canal that carries water to agricultural land for irrigation. It can be dug into the ground or rock and, most impressively, hung on a rock face and then consists of wooden boards called chenaux in french.
The history of the bisse
The bisse is built in the middle of the 15th century and remained in service for nearly 500 years. It allowed water to be brought to the village of Savièse from a catchment on the Netage River upstream. Each farmer could use the water from the bisse by opening a small door for a certain time of the day to irrigate his field. In 1935, it was replaced by a tunnel through the Prabé mountain.
Two car parks are available, P1 ans P2 car parks. The P2 is smaller and it takes 20 minutes to follow the brown “Torrent-Neuf” signs to get to the Vouasseurs refreshment bar, the starting point of the walk. 40 minutes are required from the P1 located at Binii.
The bisse in the forest
From the car park, we go up the section of the bisse that flows towards Prafirmin above the village of Savièse. The path leads through a forest to the Vouasseurs refreshment bar. We can observe old small gates that allowed farmers to irrigate their fields with water from the bisse. Along the way, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Alps with the Dent Blanche clearly visible and the Matterhorn to its right appearing in a smaller form.
The Vouasseurs’ bar
This is the beginning of the Savièse bisse walk. The bar is located next to the Sainte-Marguerite chapel, which is part of the Savièse parish and probably dates back to the construction of the bisse in the 15th century. The refreshment bar offers drinks as well as simple dishes such as a Valaisan plate (assiette valaisanne in french)
The description of the route
The Torpille team shows below a chronological description of the route between the Vouasseurs and Brac refreshment rooms.
First hanging bridge
The course offers a series of 4 long footbridges each about 90 meters long.
The bronze bear
Shortly after the beginning of the route and a pretty stream running down the mountain, there is an imposing bronze bear.
A didactic panel indicates the animals that can be observed with luck, such as chamois or golden eagle.
Second hanging bridge
1st place of picnic
A shadowy picnic spot.
View from the bisse over the Morge valley
Southwestern view of the Rhone Valley.
Vue Ouest avec le Mont Gond et La Fava.
Northwestern view of La Fava, Le Sublage and Le Sérac.
Third hanging bridge
A didactic panel indicates that the last bear that lived in Valais was killed in 1865.
2nd place picnic
Picnic place in bright sunlight with a magnificent view.
Our Lady of Torrent-Neuf
Fourth hanging bridge
Small stone mounds raised by walkers since the beginning of the season.
The Brac’s refreshment bar
The Brac refreshment bar marks the end of the Savièse bisse’s journey. The return journey is the same way.
The sawmill and wall of Les Branlires
It is possible to visit a sawmill driven by the force of the water as well as a route along the wall called the Branlires. These two curiosities can be visited with a volunteer from the Savièse bisse association and are, like the bisse itself, free of charge. You should refer to the information page of the official site to know the opening days for the visit of the sawmill and the wall of Branlires.
The Soie castle and the Savièse vineyard
Below the bisse, on the way down to Savièse by car, is the Soie castle, of which only a few ruins remain overlooking the Savièse vineyard and its 300 hectares of vines.
A museum is dedicated to the bisses in the commune of Ayent. In particular, it offers a pretty interactive map that shows the route of all the bisses in the Valais.
Attractions in the canton of Valais
Attractions in the district of Sion
Natural curiosities in french-Speaking Switzerland
Hanging bridges in french-speaking Switzerland