You can start the virtual stroll at the place of your choice by selecting a key location from the list below.
Bayart Tower Trail (1)
At the beginning of the Bayart Tower trail, we pass a shelter that houses various objects that are part of Saillon's heritage. The name and telephone number of the owners appear on a small pyrographed sign, perhaps these old objects can be acquired?
Bayart Tower Trail (2)
When we took these pictures, it was November and everything looked abandoned. We continued to follow the path to get a better view of the surrounding landscape, which was full of beautiful colours.
Bayart Tower Trail (3)
Autumn was drawing to a close, the vines had turned an old gold colour, with still some patches of green. As the afternoon stretched the shadows, the sky was as blue as ever, with just a few stray clouds.
Bayart Tower Trail (4)
The path will now enter the forest and our virtual stroll will end here. We did not go up to the Bayart Tower, the sun was already low on this autumn afternoon and we promised ourselves to come back one day to shoot new views...
Chemin de la Tour (1)
The walls of the fortified city protected only the dwellings. The barns and other agricultural buildings were outside. Of course, nothing remains of the buildings from the Middle Ages, but along Chemin de la Tour you can see some relatively old buildings.
Chemin de la Tour (2)
The walls of the fortified city protected only the dwellings. The barns and other agricultural buildings were outside. Of course, nothing remains of the buildings from the Middle Ages, but along Chemin de la Tour you can see some relatively old buildings.
Gate of Fully (1)
The Gate of Fully controls the north-western entrance to the medieval town. To its left you can see Rue Saint-Sulpice (dead end street) and the stairs leading up to the church. The large photo you see on the wall is one of the works exhibited as part of "Saillon, cité d'images", a biennial exhibition whose 2nd edition is organised from 13 November 2021 to 27 February 2022. The panoramas of our virtual stroll were shot a few days before the opening.
Gate of Fully (2)
Here we see the Gate of Fully from outside the walls. Behind us begins Chemin de la Tour, which runs along the rocky ridge before becoming a trail and climbing towards the Bayart Tower.
Gate of Scex (1)
Access to the walled city was through four gates, three of which have been preserved. We are here at the southern entrance, the Gate of Scex. Our virtual stroll will take you to the Gate of Fully to the north-west and we will show you the Gate of Leytron to the north-east when we complete the stroll, one day or another.
Gate of Scex (2)
We are here at the beginning of Rue du Bourg, the main street, and we are looking at Scex Gate from inside the fortified village. The walls were built in the 13th century, at a time when Saillon belonged to the Duchy of Savoy, and these fortifications allowed the town to benefit from franchises and to organise fairs and markets.
Passage des Lombards (1)
For about ten years, until his death in 1880, Farinet minted thousands of counterfeit 20-cent coins (now worth about 1.50 euros). His life was fictionalised by Charles Ferdinand Ramuz in "Farinet ou la Fausse Monnaie", in which the Vaudois writer tells a story that is far from reality. Farinet never exploited a gold mine that allowed him to mint coins of better quality than the official currency, but the legend is nice!
Passage des Lombards (2)
In the 19th century, the Valais was very poor. At the time, the Cantonal Bank was a mixed bank, a joint-stock company with State participation, which had collapsed around 1870, causing great distrust among the population. Farinet's 20-centime coins, all dated 1850, were very welcome and it seems that, at the time of the counterfeiter's work, they were one third of the coins in circulation!
Passage des Lombards (3)
A commemorative plaque has been affixed to the place where Farinet hid before being found by the police. The population supported the counterfeiter, hid him and led the gendarmes astray. Handsome, charming and sympathetic, Farinet distributed his fake coins widely to the poor, both out of his natural generosity and to secure accomplices. Even if they were worthless, his coins were accepted everywhere!
Passage des Lombards (4)
Farinet probably fled through this passage to take refuge in the mountains. Such a popular outlaw could not be tolerated by the Swiss government, which increased the pressure on the Valais police to finally achieve a result. Apparently, some Valais politicians thought it unwise to attack a popular hero while the federal government felt deeply mocked...
Passage des Lombards (5)
Alas, the story of Joseph-Samuel Farinet could only end badly. On 17 April 1880, his body was discovered at the bottom of the Salentze gorge, a stream that flows down from the mountain above Saillon into the Rhône. It was never known whether he fell accidentally, starving and exhausted from the chase, or whether he was shot in the head by the police. A legend was born...
Place du Bourg
Our virtual stroll is still very incomplete, it only offers you a small glimpse of the pretty Place du Bourg and its terraces, the heart of the village. Further on, we reach Rue du Bourg which connects Gate of Scex to the south to Gate of Leytron to the north-east.
Rue du Bourg (1)
In Rue du Bourg, a group of buildings in ruins and about to be demolished was renovated in 1970 by students. The complex was later taken over by the municipality, which turned it into a cultural centre. Maison Stella Helvetica bears the name of the student society and houses a hall that can accommodate over 100 people for meetings, medieval meals and banquets, conferences and exhibitions.
Rue du Bourg (2)
Right next to Maison Stella Helvetica, the Museum of Counterfeit Money tells the story of Swiss money, real or fake. You will learn about the technical aspects that make today's Swiss money modern and reliable, with a bonus room dedicated to the coins found in Valais, from the Gauls to the present day. You will also get to know a little-known profession, that of counterfeiter...
Rue du Bourg (3)
Joseph-Samuel Farinet (1845-1880) was a smuggler and counterfeiter from the Aosta Valley who found refuge in Saillon while the Valais policemen were hunting him down. Beyond this arched passageway, we can see a place where he hid, probably with the help of the local population.
Rue Saint-Jacques
Rue Saint-Jacques climbs from Place du Bourg (to which our back is turned here) to the Gate of Fully. On our right we see the remains of the ramparts and on the left the Lombards passage, which passes in front of Farinet's hideout and leads to Rue du Bourg.
Rue Saint-Sulpice
At the foot of the Catholic church of Saillon, Rue Saint-Sulpice is a dead-end street. We have shot a single panorama there, just to share its atmosphere with you.
Vers le Scex (1)
Our little stroll through the village of the famous counterfeiter Farinet begins here, on this path that climbs between the vines. It is an autumn afternoon, the sun is already low and the Bayart Tower can be seen against the light on the side of the rocky ridge.
Vers le Scex (2)
The name of the path that climbs up to the village does not have a saucy allusion. A "scex" is a rock. In toponymy, the word designates an isolated rock or a cliff and is found in many places in the Alps, in different forms (Sex, Sixt, Six). Here, the name ("Towards the Rock") simply means that the path leads to the rocky ridge.
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