Le Parc Thermal in Le Fayet is by far one our favourite haunts in the springtime and summertime, where we go to escape the heat of the valley, to find shade and to appreciate the refreshing breeze from the Bonnant river!
The park has an elegant entrance, with a pretty fountain. There is a main path through the park that is ideal for walking with a buggy (see here for more details).
*NB in 2018, the Parc Thermal is going to have a full renovation – the Bains du Mont-Blanc, the playground, the accrobranches ® . . .*
Le Parc Thermal is the perfect place to come with a toddler or baby (or both) as there is plenty to keep everyone occupied – lots of green grass for picnics, ball games and running, paths for biking, a well-equipped playground with plenty of pebbles to fill sand-buckets or diggers and dump trucks . . . there is also a fish pond with ducks to marvel at.
Hiking, rock-climbing & accrobranches ®
For the slightly more adventurous, there is rock-climbing, an accrobranches ® with a parcours suitable for small children (see website for details), and a few not-too-strenuous hikes to be done with baby-carriers.
The Clubhouse – near the playground – is a great spot for lunch, ice-cream or a coffee; otherwise the park is ideal for picnics (there is even a small bandstand, for those days when your picnic gets caught out by sudden rain!).
Le Petit Train du Parc Thermal
Le Petit Train du Parc Thermal was started by train enthusiasts, with the aim of keeping the memory of steam trains alive and is FREE (a donation is asked). It runs on fine weather days from June until September, on Wednesdays and weekends from about 14h / see here for more details;
Open Air Museum
Le Parc Thermal is also an open air museum, with the Musée Plein Air displaying artwork suspended from the trees. The exhibitions change yearly and run from May to November. It makes a buggy stroll even more enjoyable and cultural! (there are plenty of quotes to read along the way!).
2018 update: 6 tonnes of granite have been delivered = the sculptures of Denis Monfleur for upcoming open-air exhibition: «Erratiques. Sculptures de Denis Monfleur», from 25th May 2018.
History of the Parc Thermal
If you are wondering why the park has such a grand entrance, the answer lies in the important discovery in 1806 of the thermal springs and the development of the thermal baths, which are today to be found at the far end of the park – Les Bains du Mont-Blanc. It was a miner from Servoz who first spotted steam when he was out fishing and, after a bit of digging around, found the hot spring water. By 1815, the first thermal baths were built and St Gervais as a tourist destination was on the map. In 1892, an air pocket burst in the Bionnassay glacier, wiping out the hamlet of Bionnassay and killing 200 people, as well as destroying the thermal baths.
355, allée du Dr Lépinay
Le Fayet, 74170 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Parking: there is plenty of parking near the Clubhouse and playground, though on hot summer days we try to find some shade in amongst the trees, along the road.