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Life in Martigny

Show or hide the answer Where will I live?

Before you arrive in Martigny the secretariat staff will assist you to find short-term accommodation. This accommodation will normally be in a 1-room studio apartment that is furnished and stocked with minimum provisions (i.e. sheeting, kitchen utensils etc). Once you have arrived in Martigny and settled in, you will need to find more permanent accommodation. Rental agreements are for 1 year, and rent is normally paid monthly. Most Rental Agencies require a 3-month bond. In addition to rent, tenants will be expected to pay 100 or 150 CHF per month for heating, hot water (chauffage), cable TV etc. You must also pay the “Responsibility Civil” which covers you against accidents. The cost is around 100 CHF per year and is available from one of the many Insurance Offices in Martigny.

Most apartment blocks have community washing machines available for tenants and tenants are allocated a specific time and day to wash. (Please also note that the majority of washing machines do not operate from 11am until 12.30 pm).

Many of Idiap’s PhD students choose to rent studio (1 room) apartments. These are usually furnished and on average cost around 550 CHF per month to rent. Of course rents differ widely according to location, amenities and size. The following average monthly rents may be used as a guide for a relatively new unfurnished apartment: 1 bedroom apartment 850 CHF, 2 bedroom apartment 1000 CHF, 3 bedroom apartment 1250 CHF. Apartments in Valais are advertised according to the number of pieces (rooms). When calculating the number of rooms in an apartment, kitchens and bathrooms are not included and large entrances are counted as half a piece i.e. a 1 bedroom apartment with bathroom, kitchen, living room and a large entrance is advertised as 2.5 pieces. Please be aware that unfurnished apartments will not come with any light fittings (except perhaps in the kitchen) and some will not have a stove/ oven.

Following are some possible sites to check for rental ads:

Le Nouvelliste This is good to see the ads first thing in the morning so you can be the first to call.

Martigny Announcements - occasionally an apartment gets advertised here

Duc Sarrasin They have one staff member who speaks good English.


Bernard Nicod


Show or hide the answer Where can I buy furniture and items for my house?

There are several places in Martigny to buy furniture. The large COOP and Migros DO+IT sell a range of furniture and household goods. There is also a second hand store in Martigny called HIOB. Most popular though is Conforama and Fly in Conthey (25 mins from Martigny by regional train). They have regular specials and also rent out mini-vans (35 CHF for 1 hour) so you can move your furniture. It is best to book the mini-vans in advance. Conforama do not accept any credit cards. They take cash only, however there is a Credit Suisse automatic teller machine in the store.

Show or hide the answer Can you tell me more about the schools in Valais?

Schooling is the responsibility of the cantonal authorities. School attendance is obligatory for eight to nine years, and education at the State Schools is free of charge. Nursery school; which children enter up to the age of four; which is optional; is followed by Infant School for 4 to 6 year olds. The second year of Infant School is compulsory (from age 5) and is followed by primary school and secondary school. After this comes either vocational training combined with practical work of two to four years’ duration, or attendance at a higher secondary school. The grammar schools (where the national school leaving certificate can be obtained) prepare pupils for university entrance.

Show or hide the answer Where can I do my grocery shopping?

There are many places to shop in Martigny. There are 2 Migros, 2 COOPs, a PAM, 2 Denner Discounts and many many more. A Migros store are only a 5 minutes walk from Idiap. Prices vary between stores and they all have regular specials so it is worth shopping around. Migros has a restaurant attached and some staff from Idiap eat lunch there daily (meals available for between 7 and 12 CHF).

Shops usually close at 18:30 from Monday till Thursday, at 20:00 on Fridays, and 17:00 on Saturdays and days before public holidays. Please note that most shops (not Migros and Coop) close between noon and 1.30pm daily. Some stores are closed on Monday mornings and all day Sunday.

Show or hide the answer Are there any other interesting sites that I could visit?


Federal Statistics Office

Swiss Teletext

Switzerland in Sight

Switzerland Tourism

The Canton of Valais

Valais Tourism

Show or hide the answer Does Idiap / Martigny have a social life?

In Martigny and the surrounding areas there are many interesting and varied ways to entertain yourself. Idiap has internal Mailing-Lists for staff to organize sporting and non-sporting social activities. Volleyball, Badminton, skiing and hiking activities are organized regularly and are well attended. Outings to festivals, concerts and bars and cafes are also common. Here are a few links that might be interesting:

Martigny Aikido Club

Thermal Pools in the region

Montreux Jazz Festival


Verbier Festival and Academy

Show or hide the answer Can I improve my language skills in Martigny?

Idiap offers all staff a free French lesson for 1.5 hours per week. These classes are held at Idiap. There are also language schools in Martigny and others that can easily be reached by train. The most popular school are the Ecole-Club Migros. Prices for the courses vary greatly depending on frequency and class sizes.

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