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Old 23.09.2011, 11:44
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Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

I've always wanted to go see the Saint Bernard Hospice/Museum since I love the breed and, probably, because I am missing my Saint since we couldn't bring him along.

Since I've never been there and it's getting late in the season, should I be worried about snowy/icy roads? I read one post that isn't very complimentary towards Martigny so is there anyone from around there or has been there who might have any other sites to recommend to make the 3 hour drive a bit more worthwhile. Is the Saint Bernard Museum worthwhile or am I just a sentimental old sack?
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Old 23.09.2011, 12:04
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

Definitely worth it in my opinion. Fairly new museum and the dogs are wonderful, you will likely get to meet them up close and personal. On a side note, I think they still take them up to the pass for the summer, so check and make sure they are back in their winter home before you go.

The autoroute down there in the Valais is very good, and unless a bundleful of snow has just fallen (not likely in Sept.) the autoroute will be clear and Martigny exit is just off it. Also, if afraid of driving, the train is very convenient there (CH to Martigny), and a second small st. Bernard train takes you to the museum, very nice indeed.

There is a lot to see and do in that area of the Valais, list some of your interests and can help. There is another museum across the street from St. Bernards but we didn't go, more art I recall www.gianadda.ch. Around the area there is the labryinthe adventure which is great for kids, the Bex Salt mines, the Fairy falls/cave in St maurice as well as the monk monastary, then you can take the small train over to Chamonix France, it is beautiful trip, etc. etc.. Only listing a few things that come to mind, but there is much more.
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Old 23.09.2011, 12:12
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

Thanks for all the info. The website says there are 8 dogs there year-round so we should get to see at least one and I'll hope I don't start getting all sniffly. And the other stuff sounds great, too.
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Old 23.09.2011, 12:49
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Nothing wrong with being a sentimental old sack anyway. I'm glad you asked about this... I'm going to have to visit this myself.
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Old 23.09.2011, 12:55
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

As far as I know, you can book a walk with one of the dogs and a monk for a few hours in the mountains. I think they don't let you go alone with a dog because they're so big (and you might never come back with it )
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Old 23.09.2011, 12:58
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

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As far as I know, you can book a walk with one of the dogs and a monk for a few hours in the mountains. I think they don't let you go alone with a dog because they're so big (and you might never come back with it )
Or go skiing in Verbier in winter and get your picture taken with one in the mountains.
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Old 23.09.2011, 16:48
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

I have not been to the St-Bernard Museum on either of my day trips to Martigny, but have enjoyed the Fondation Giannada very much. The Monet Exhibition is on until the 20th of November.
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Old 23.09.2011, 17:01
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

Sounds like it could be an EF event?
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:32
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

We went to Martigny last saturday. Our main reason for going was to see the Monet exhibit. It was great. With a bit of time left, we decided to go to the Saint Bernard Museum. It was a nice side trip. The museum is primarily about the Saint Bernard Pass and its history. Yes they do have several dogs and if you ask nicely, the young woman who takes care of them will take one out and let you pet it. Well, I don't care so much about dogs but my 10 year old son sure enjoyed it. Warning: the young lady was not very friendly. We went by train from Lausanne. In Martigny, the Monet Exibit and the Saint Bernard Museum (and the roman ruins) are all within walking distance of the train station.
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:43
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

You should be okay getting up there until the end of September. After that, it depends on the weather. If you don't fancy the drive from Martigny, there's a train from Martigny (the St. Bernard Express) but that stops at the end of September.

Martigny has to be one of the most unattractive towns in the whole region but there's tons of places to see nearby which make the drive from Zurich worthwhile.
Martigny is only 25 mins straight down the autoroute from Lac Leman so you can visit Montreux/Chateau Chillon/Vevey + Lavaux vineyards (World Heritage site and nice for walks even in winter with breathtaking views). Around the end of September the autumn leaves in the vineyards are stunning. Even Lausanne is only an hour or so away.
Then there's Sion a nice place with old town/Basilica /Chateau. The market is on Friday.
You could go to the spa baths in Saillon.
The Underground lake at St. Leonard, which closes at the end of October.
If you based yourself in Montreux
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Old 24.09.2011, 00:31
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

I have been thinking about this post for some time ...

I have enjoyed both of my visits to the Fondation Gianadda, but both were from the Valais, so much less time spent traveling. There are many excellent museums far closer to Zurich, I would not do the trip unless I really wanted to see the Monet exhibit. Note that it is excellent, but 3+ hours each way?

So it boils down to how badly the OP wants to see the dogs.
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Old 24.09.2011, 00:38
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

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So it boils down to how badly the OP wants to see the dogs.
I miss my dog and I've had a Saint in my life for the last 30 years...until about 6 months ago...so, yeah, I want to see the dogs. The pic below was the saint who was too old to make the trip...
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Old 24.09.2011, 18:41
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

Poptart,
Sadly, both our dogs died within three months of each other last year. When they were alive we used Bernard Léger's boarding kennels at Fully between Martigny and Sion. And a better kennels you couldn't hope to find anywhere.

The last time we were there, the owner's St. Bernard had just produced a litter of adorable pups. Bernard Léger (yup he's really called Bernard) is something big in the world of the breed.

http://www.grand-blettay.ch/lesgardiens.html

Here' an article from 2004 which mentions Bernard Léger and also suggests that the dogs are moved down to Martigny in winter, so maybe you could see them there. I'm sure Monsieur Léger would be happy to meet a fellow St. bernard lover. The Légers are a delightful family.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/29/in...29bernard.html
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Old 24.09.2011, 20:31
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

We skipped the museum that you mentioned and went to this place sponsored by the Barry Foundation, about 45 minutes away. Its up near the Grand St. Bernard Pass. There are kennels and a small museum.

The location was beautiful and we had the chance to take a few dogs on a walk up the mountain. (Rather, the dogs walked us).

We went in August and had no problems with the roads. Not sure how it is in September, though.

http://www.fondation-barry.ch
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visit-saint-bernard-museum-img_0295.jpg   visit-saint-bernard-museum-img_0300.jpg  

Last edited by Ambie26; 24.09.2011 at 20:33. Reason: Added time/distance.
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Old 24.09.2011, 21:05
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

We took a friend from Colorado to the St Bernard Hospice so she could see the dogs, the day after they'd moved them to the new place down in the Valley. She was so disappointed!

Runningdeer- that poor St Bernard on the slopes in Verbier is bored to tears- standing there all day in case somebody wants to take his picture- I hate it when people use animals like that- duh
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Old 24.09.2011, 22:21
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

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As far as I know, you can book a walk with one of the dogs and a monk for a few hours in the mountains. I think they don't let you go alone with a dog because they're so big (and you might never come back with it )
Actually, it ends tomorrow. If you show up at 2pm and have ~50chf, you can walk a dog into town. We got there just in time to be too late though..I must admit as a Saint owner, 50chf for a walk is a bit much. I will send along a nice donation to the Barry Foundation, though.
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Old 24.09.2011, 22:27
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

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We went to Martigny last saturday. Our main reason for going was to see the Monet exhibit. It was great. With a bit of time left, we decided to go to the Saint Bernard Museum. It was a nice side trip. The museum is primarily about the Saint Bernard Pass and its history. Yes they do have several dogs and if you ask nicely, the young woman who takes care of them will take one out and let you pet it. Well, I don't care so much about dogs but my 10 year old son sure enjoyed it. Warning: the young lady was not very friendly. We went by train from Lausanne. In Martigny, the Monet Exibit and the Saint Bernard Museum (and the roman ruins) are all within walking distance of the train station.
I met the woman today as we decided to be insane and make the trip. I will say that I agree, she's not very friendly, but most Saint owners are the same. I switched to my not-so-fluent French and she brightened up a bit as I explained that I have been a long-time fan/owner of the breed, etc., and, instead of patting the dogs on the head as is usual for non-dog folks, went straight for scratching the ears whereupon the dog melted and begged for more. (Saints are crazy for the ear scratch/rub...moreso than most breeds I've known). She was reserved but, much friendlier after that so...I figure she must be both very protective of the dogs and tired of the tourists. So...I understand her reserve but, at the same time don't quite understand why they'd have someone so grim promoting the breed. Still, she could have been the antichrist and I would have still enjoyed making the dog happy.
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Old 24.09.2011, 22:32
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

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Poptart,
Sadly, both our dogs died within three months of each other last year. When they were alive we used Bernard Léger's boarding kennels at Fully between Martigny and Sion. And a better kennels you couldn't hope to find anywhere.

The last time we were there, the owner's St. Bernard had just produced a litter of adorable pups. Bernard Léger (yup he's really called Bernard) is something big in the world of the breed.

http://www.grand-blettay.ch/lesgardiens.html

Here' an article from 2004 which mentions Bernard Léger and also suggests that the dogs are moved down to Martigny in winter, so maybe you could see them there. I'm sure Monsieur Léger would be happy to meet a fellow St. bernard lover. The Légers are a delightful family.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/29/in...29bernard.html
I remember reading that article and feeling a bit sad. I will definitely look him up the next time I drive there (which I will as I wanted to go up the pass but..we got a late start). And, yes, there are few things on earth as adorable as a litter of saint bernard pups. Oh, god, I was so thankful there were no pups there today. I would not have been able to leave without one. (And I've heard of Bernard. ) It's a small world, really, in breed specific clubs.
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Old 24.09.2011, 22:39
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

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So it boils down to how badly the OP wants to see the dogs.
Yes, you are very correct. The museum was mostly a bust. But..for a woman missing her giant breed buddy...priceless. It's not a big draw, I must admit, unless you're really into the big, drooling beasts. My daughter...we didn't tell her where we were going, exactly, mentioned she missed our dog on the way there and my husband and I exchange looks like, uh, did you tell her? She was so thrilled to see and pet the dogs...of course, she was sad and wanted a new dog as she knows that our dog in the US couldn't make the trip due to age and other factors, but it was great just to see her play with the dogs and wig the tense handler out for a bit. ( I think the handler was used to kids not having been around saints as my daughter really made friends with one of the younger dogs).

But..yes, if you're not there for the dogs, head for Chamonix.
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Old 24.09.2011, 22:43
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Re: Visit to Saint Bernard Museum

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Runningdeer- that poor St Bernard on the slopes in Verbier is bored to tears- standing there all day in case somebody wants to take his picture- I hate it when people use animals like that- duh
Don't fret too much Odile...Saints always look both sad and bored, most likely to extract the maximum amount of treats from those who don't know them. Seriously. Those dogs are liven' the good life.
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