At 2,473 meters (8,133 feet) above sea level, at the highest point of the Via Francigena between Switzerland and Italy, is the Hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard, which welcomes pilgrims and hikers all year round.
The Hospice was founded in 1050 by St. Bernard de Menthon, Archdeacon of Aosta, to welcome and protect the many travelers who took this passage through the Alps. Some companions, members of the Aosta Valley clergy, helped St. Bernard in the construction of this house. Thus were born a community and a hospice whose vocation of hospitality has remained uninterrupted to this day.
In front of the Hospice, the Great St. Bernard Museum opened its summer exhibition on June 13, 2020: “Presence sauvage” which presents the wildlife in the countryside around St. Bernard, as seen by Alexandre Scheurer, photographer and naturalist. The countryside around St. Bernard, which includes the Entremont valley, the Ferret valley, and the Great St. Bernard pass, is one of the favorite areas of the wildlife photographer.
The progress of the chamois in the deep snow, the ptarmigan whose plumage merges with the vegetation, the course of the hare on the slope, the flight of the eagle, the leap of the mountain sheep, the marmot on the sunny rock, so many subjects representing the wild fauna of the countryside around St. Bernard. To these photos, Alexandre Scheurer adds those of less spectacular but essential species in the Alpine ecosystem: insects, amphibians, and reptiles.
“Wild Presence,” is on display until October 4, 2020, every day in summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Paid entry.
Open every day of summer, the Hospice Museum presents the centuries-old history of the Great St. Bernard. The tour begins with the famous dogs and ends with the temporary exhibition. The visit to the Hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard is free.
Some archival documents also recall the importance of the scientific studies carried out by the naturalist canons between the 18th and 20th centuries. The pioneering role of canon Laurent-Joseph Murith in mineralogy and botany, as well as the work of canons Nestor Cerutti and Emile Favre on birds and insects.
Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard 2, CH-1946 Bourg-Saint-Pierre. Tél. +41 27 787 12 36.