Set in 🏰 a historic 14th century château seigneurial (noble stronghold), located just behind ⛪️ the Eglise Saint-Jacques and next to the entrance to 💦 the Gorges du Lévaud in Sallanches, the 🏰 Château des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes is a museum dedicated to 🏔 the Alps (and mountains in general)!
The museum recently re-opened to the public, after an extensive 2 year renovation programme !
Château des Rubins – a château seigneurial (noble stronghold): a little history
The renovation project (led by FRABRIQUE, a Lyon-based architectural firm; with the interior design from MAQ2, a firm located in Viviers-du-Lac) had high on its priority list patrimoine, the need to restore this historic Sallanches building.
The 🏰 Château des Rubins has all the features of a medieval nobleman’s stronghold: thick walls, a beautiful entrance door, a spriral staircase made of black stone from Magland, wooden beams, small decorated windows.
The 🏰 castle was owned by different noble families until the 18th century Révolution, and it avoided being destroyed during this period, as well as being spared by 🔥 the infamous Sallanches fire of 19th April 1840, whose flames destroyed a huge part of the rest of the town! Bought by the Ville de Sallanches in 1978, in 1985 it became the Centre de la Nature Montagnarde (CNM), a museum dedicated to the Alps, its geology, flora and fauna.
The renovation project has put a spotlight on the history of the building and there is a juxtaposition of old and new throughout: films projected on old walls, old stone window seating v modern seating . . .
You now enter the museum (after the modern ticket office) through the original formidable arched doorway, and so you immediately get a feel for the history of the building. You also access each floor (apart from the new lifts for 🅿 mobilité réduite or families with buggies) via the old spiral staircase, so as a visitor to the museum, you are constantly reminded of the original building.
A family visit to the 🏰 Château des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes
The new 🏰 Château des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes is the perfect destination for a family visit: it is an innovative museum (with over 50 interactive modules set across 500m2), with a varied, interactive and educational presentation. All of your five senses will be engaged on your visit, which will take you between 1h30 to 2h.
For those already familiar with the original museum, the entrance has moved up a level: you now enter the museum via the montée des Rubins.
The museum displays are set across 4 floors, each with a different theme:
I love modern architecture of the new museum, and especially as it is set against the backdrop of a 14th century castle; this has been beautifully realised:
Events and workshops
The new museum has a rich programme for the public and there lots of events for children during the school holidays :
Until the end of 2022, in the reception area and in the Salle des Gardes, you can see the photos of Jérémie VILLET, previously exposed at the summer Montagn’Art exhibition along the quais in Sallanches. ” Au fil de ses longues expéditions solitaires dans des lieux reculés, Jérémie Villet utilise la neige comme un peintre utilise du papier blanc pour révéler la pureté de la nature. Chaque année, lorsque la neige tombe pour la première fois avec les dernières feuilles d’automne, les paysages blancs forment un décor parfait. La neige efface le superflu, balaie l’excès et fait ressortir l’essentiel. Loin du reste du monde, cette scène immaculée est restée son jardin d’enfance, et la photographie, son droit inaliénable de rêver. Les photographies de Jérémie Villet ont reçu de nombreux prix, dont le Wildlife Photographer of the Year et le European Photographer of the Year, et sont parues dans de nombreuses revues. Ces images tirées de son livre Première Neige sont le résultat de six hivernages en solitaire dans un monde tout blanc. “
🗓 opening hours:
OPEN every day of the summer holidays (except Tuesdays), from 10h > 18h !
🗓 autumn opening: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 10h > 18h;
🗓 autumn closure: 8th November 19th December 2021;
🗓 winter holiday opening: 19th ⇒ 31st December 2021, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 10h > 18h;
🗓 winter opening: 1st January ⇒ 13th March 2022, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 10h > 18h;
🗓 spring opening: 13th March ⇒ 31st May 2022, Wednesday ⇒ Sunday, 10h > 18h;
price: adults 7€ / children 5,50€ / under 5s FREE / 19,50€ families (x2 adults and x2 children);
website & FB page address: Château des Rubins - Observatoire des Alpes, 105 montée des Rubins, 74700, Sallanches; tel: +33 (0)4 50 90 83 03;
parking: there is FREE parking in the Parking du Lévaud, just opposite the museum;
🚲 bikes: there are now spots to attach your bike!
[ good to know: the museum is located a short walk from the 📚 Médiathèque Ange Abrate, the church playground and 🍏 Sallanches’ Saturday market, so a day can be planned around this! For a buggy-friendly walk through Sallanches, see separate MBFF article here ]