An entreprising couple marketing their holiday chalet in the Bagnes village of Versegères have described the location as “Verbier Valley“. Now Versegères is not in Verbier, and some might find this ploy reminiscent of South London estate agents renaming Peckham “North Dulwich”.
However, this example is not in the same league of mendacity: Verbier is up the mountainside, and Versegères is in the valley. Ergo, Verbier Valley. And, as an added bonus, you’re not likely to get shot or stabbed in Versegères (which also has more snow than Peckham).
Maybe the Vallée de Bagnes, to give it its official name, should have been rebranded as Verbier Valley years ago. After all, the stated aim of the municipal council is to promote tourism in this valley, practically unknown to the majority of those who visit Verbier every year yet which has many complementary attractions to the resort. These are principally in the realm of what can be called “soft” or “low impact” tourism (snow shoeing, skinning, cross-country skiing, hiking: anything which doesn’t involve heavy infrastructure such as ski-lifts).
It’s probably significant that the “Verbier Valley” idea came from foreigners. Amongst some Bagnards there’s a certain hostility towards Verbier, with several villagers having told us that they don’t feel it’s “their” resort anymore. Whatever you might think about that, these are the people who vote for the Conseil Communal (local council). Needless to say, a project to rename the valley probably wouldn’t get very far…