Yannick Noah reveals all: ‘Mon Eldorado’, paean to the sun, was composed in Anniviers
In a recent interview, the artist revealed that one of his biggest hits was inspired by Anniviers.
‘Du soleil, comme s’il en pleuvait, le cœur en été. Et la vie, avec toi…’ (Dripping with sunshine, the joys of summer. And life, with you…) If you weren’t already humming Yannick Noah’s hit, you will be now! In 2003, the French singer lit up the airwaves in much the same way that the sun washes over the Val d’Anniviers. Eighteen years later, the former tennis star reminisces about one of his most popular songs. In a tell-all interview, he humbly stresses that ‘this isn’t my achievement – it’s down to the whole valley’.
Thanks to Rosset
Spring 2003. Yannick Noah was looking for inspiration. ‘To get my creative juices flowing, I need to really steep myself in a place, really get under the skin of a story’, he explained. ‘My friend Marc Rosset, who I bonded with on the circuit, often talked to me about his little slice of heaven here. He would frequently visit in the summer to practise on Grimentz’s gorgeous tennis courts’.
So it was that the singer arrived in the Val d’Anniviers at the start of April. ‘I’d told my producer that I’d stay for three months – long enough for me to write a single’, he recalled. However, everything went much faster than expected. ‘Just one morning was enough – I was amazed by what I experienced, so much so that it took me just two hours to write the lyrics and set them to music. My friend Rosset hadn’t been exaggerating when he said that in Anniviers, they’re really lucky with the weather’.
Not a one-off
According to a very high-profile producer on the Paris music scene, ‘L’Eldorado’ by Yannick Noah is just one example of this phenomenon. ‘This wasn’t a first’, he said, firmly. ‘Where do you think Richard Cocciante got his sunstroke in 1989?’. He added: ‘I can also confirm that in 1972, when Claude François holidayed in Saint-Luc, it wasn’t just Monday that was sunny’.
Qatar 2022: pour se préparer «en conditions réelles», la Nati s’entraînera en Anniviers
Qatar 2022: to prepare in ‘realistic conditions’, the national squad will train in Anniviers
Guaranteed sunshine, ideal temperatures, the Swiss national football team are going to spend a month in the valley to get acclimatised before next year’s Football World Cup.
Head coach Vladimir Petkovic was in a determined mood in front of the assembled press pack this Tuesday. However, his opening remarks gave no hint of any real optimism on his part. ‘The Euros are a complete shambles - plane tickets, hotels, game plan - we’re totally in the dark’, he conceded straightaway. ‘This summer, it’s likely that we’ll be returning to Switzerland very quickly. In any case, we’re assuming that the cafés and pubs will still be closed and no-one will be able to watch our matches’.
The national coach is seemingly ready to concede defeat at the Euros, but only because he has a bigger vision, one that’s ‘unstoppable’. ‘We’re going to win the World Cup. I’m sure of it’, he stated forcefully, before setting out his action plan to sweep the national side to global football glory. ‘We’re going to start training in Anniviers in mid-July so we can adapt to the local micro-climate. This will allow us to train in conditions that are as close as we can get to those we’ll encounter in Qatar’.
With the sun beating down relentlessly all day, ‘Petko’ wants to spur his men onto almost superhuman exertions. ‘In Anniviers, they’re really lucky with the weather and I’m sure the players won’t take long to realise it’.
Nowhere to play, but opponents to face all the same
The only fly in the ointment for now is the absence of a standard-size football pitch in the valley. However, the coach doesn’t appear overly worried. ‘There are a few bumps and rocks on Mission FC’s old ground, but that’ll make the team really work their legs’, he said. Petkovic has also a team-building exercise in mind. ‘We’re going to renovate the snack bar – it’s been in a pretty bad way since the Navizence flooded’.
After having sweated blood and tears, the 23-man squad will face their ‘first real test’ against a Val d’Anniviers select side. ‘We’re familiar with their technical ability and robust style of play’, declared Vladimir Petkovic. ‘I’ve heard all about Bozza’s leadership skills, Coco’s grit and young Nathan’s ball-handling.’ It’s a fixture that already feels more like a final than anything else. ‘We’re going to go all the way’, the coach predicted.
Chandolin: il ouvre un solarium et fait faillite après 3 jours
Chandolin: he opens a tanning salon but goes bust after just 3 days
Thibault Girard is one of these people who always sees things through to the end. His friends describe him as a real go-getter. However, the old saying, ‘build it and they’ll come’ doesn’t always work out, as this 39-year-old from Monthey found out to his cost.
Let’s go back to the start. A successful businessman based in the Chablais, Thibault Girard made his fortune through a dozen or so tanning salons that he opened in the area. ‘I’ve always wanted to bring a little ray of sunshine to those who have to live in cold, dark places’, he explained.
It was only natural that the entrepreneur launched his venture in his native Chablais, where demand for his service was strongest. It was a runaway success. Very quickly, the so-called Sun King’s business became a must-have service across the region. However, the ‘king’ caused his own downfall, brought about by the kind of delusions of grandeur so common in the rich and powerful.
Nightmare in the Val d’Anniviers
Always seeking to extend the boundaries of his empire, bit by bit, Thibault Girard looked longingly towards the Central Valais. ‘I’d heard tell of the city of the Sun – I wanted to conquer it myself.’ The Monthey-born man took up residence near Chandolin. ‘A sun king obviously has to live where he can look down upon his subjects’, he revealed.
He was happy, but there was something missing. The man from the Chablais was disadvantaged due to being little-known in his adopted region. To counter his low public profile, he decided to leverage his entrepreneurial skills and sank his savings into a cutting-edge solarium. It was a calamitous mistake. ‘Not a single client walked through the door – I went bust after three days. To help me understand what had gone wrong, I took a day off to talk to the locals’, he recounted. By the time he came back from his fact-finding mission, he was sun-burnt all over. ‘Damn, the sun’s really scorching here,’ he noted. Now he understood his mistake. ‘Here, they’re really lucky with the weather’.
Thermals: a Val d’Anniviers paraglider ends up in the stratosphere
Caught in a thermal column, a young paraglider from Zinal will mark one year spent in space come this 13 March. This incredible adventure has its roots in the stirrings of the first lockdown. His family tell his story.
March 2020. Aurélien Epiney, 29 years old, senses the wind shift. Anxious to make the most of his freedom before the expected lockdown, the young Zinal native treats himself to one last paragliding trip. ‘Aurélien always had a good nose for things’, says his father, Vincent, holding back tears. ‘Just you wait and see – they’ll shut everything down, or so he said. So, he went off for one last trip’.
It was an outing that should have lasted a couple of hours. But a half-day quickly morphed into a journey without end. ‘It’ll soon be a year that he’s been floating around up there’, says his sister Eugénie, with a proud smile.
Thermal currents that are out of this world!
After leaving from the cabane de Sorebois mountain lodge in search of thermals on which to begin his ascent, Aurélien very quickly found what he was looking for. ‘Maybe he had too much of a good thing’, sobs Vincent. ‘It’s obvious that he needed a thermal current to gain some altitude, but he clearly underestimated the micro-climate in the Val d’Anniviers. Here, we’re really lucky with the weather’.
Rapidly taken up into the troposphere, the young paraglider reached the stratosphere in the space of a few hours – disappearing without trace – or almost. ‘A few hours after we were expecting him home, I took out my telescope’, Eugénie says. ‘I saw a little white spot which I quickly lost from sight. I was half-blinded by the sun at the time, too’.
No news of Aurélien
It’s almost a year now that the Epiney family haven’t heard from their eldest child. However, his nearest and dearest aren’t worried for him. ‘Aurélien’s very resourceful. Even if he’s in the stratosphere, he’ll have his feet firmly planted on the ground’.
A solar panel firm sets up operations in Saint-Luc with the goal of supplying half of Europe’s elect
‘Basically, all that I’ve done is to make the most of the micro-climate in the Val d’Anniviers’, he modestly notes. ‘From a very young age, we’ve known that here we’re really lucky with the weather’. And it’s this good fortune with the weather that the qualified ski patroller has successfully turned into an opportunity.
‘I plastered the village of Pinsec with solar panels left over from my father’s business’, he explained. ‘To begin with, I just wanted enough electricity to power the satellite television in my ‘mayen’ (small hut in the mountain pastures), but I quickly realized that I was producing enough power to share it with my neighbours’. And a lot more than that, in fact!
Without realizing it, the Val d’Anniviers man was on his way to becoming Europe’s biggest energy supplier. ‘The sun’s rays are so powerful here – and it’s sunny so much of the time that we really had no choice other than to export all this power that mother nature provides us with’.
The competitors – a bunch of blow-ins!
Attracted by the runaway success of this business venture, several European competitors decided to set up shop in the Val d’Anniviers too. The only problem was that they weren’t familiar with the local climate. ‘You wouldn’t believe it’, Régis Solioz chuckled. ‘These idiots landed in town with their wind turbines, whilst there’s hardly the slightest breeze in Anniviers. I sent them to Martigny sharpish.’
The skies open in Chandolin, and tourists realise they're actually in Savièse
When the time came to plan their holidays, Monique and Claude Détraz were sure they’d made a good choice. Friends from Valais had strongly recommended the Val d’Anniviers to them. Because of its sunshine, of course, but also because of its ski slopes, its hospitality and its après-ski.
Aperitifs but no pistes
Fully convinced of the pleasures of the Val d’Anniviers, the couple and their three children jumped into their SUV, turned on the GPS and drove all the way to Chandolin. “Our friends hadn't lied to us. As soon as we arrived, the locals gave us a warm welcome and invited us for an aperitif.” But they soon began to have their doubts. “There was no one in a ski suit, no catchy pop songs filling our ears or ski instructors hanging around Chloé, our eldest.”
The next day, the Détraz family put on their ski boots and headed for the slopes. That was their second surprise – tarmacked roads. Not a piste or drag lift in sight. “We tobogganed down the embankment along the side of the main road. It was fun to start with but, to be honest, after three hours we’d had enough.”
The skies as their guide
So it was a somewhat disillusioned family that returned to their lodgings that night. “We felt betrayed.” The skies saw to it that their doubts were dispelled once and for all. “At around 8pm the storm broke. That's when everything became clear: we weren’t in the Val d’Anniviers at all!”
Without wasting another moment, the Détraz family packed their bags, left Savièse and crossed the Rhône plain, heading towards Chandolin. The real one. The one where “you really are lucky with the weather!”
The first cloud of the year
After some strange ballets observed on December 12th and then during the night of December 29th to 30th, an inhabitant of Grimentz reported a diurnal phenomenon, this time "on January 5th, at 11 o'clock, in the blue sky west of my chalet, I noticed the presence of a white ball, for one hour. "Christian Laveau photographed the scene. "It's the first time I've seen this," he says, very intrigued.
- What's the weather like down there?
- And tomorrow?
- ... Bad.
- And the day after tomorrow?
- Still bad.
In Val d'Anniviers, we're REALLY lucky with the weather!
- Ha, we're really lucky with the weather aren't we?
- We're really lucky with the weather
- What ?
- I said: " WE'RE REALLY LUCKY WITH THE WEATHER!"