The 🌳 Parc Thermal in Le Fayet is by far one our favourite haunts 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc in the 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 🌳 Parc Thermal has an elegant entrance, with a pretty fountain, and there is a main path through the park that is ideal for walking with a buggy (see here for more details).
The 🌳 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 picnic tables, 🌱 green grass for ⚽️ ball games and running, 🧗♀️ boulders on which to scramble (my son has played ” helicopter mountain rescue ” with his grandpa here!) paths for 🚲 biking, a well-equipped 🌈 playground . . . and there is also a 🐟 fish pond with 🦆 ducks to watch . . . and often ephemeral ART !
Hiking, rock-climbing & accrobranches ®
For the slightly more adventurous, there is 🧗♂️ rock-climbing and 🌳 an accrobranches ® from Mont-Blanc Parc Aventure (with a parcours suitable for small children) – see website for details . . .
And there is also 🧗♂️ a new via ferrata . . .
There are also boulders upon which to scramble (with due care!) . . .
There are also some not-too-strenuous hikes to be done with baby-carriers:
- the Passerelle des Thermes hike is short and impressive, with views of 💦 the Cascade des Thermes);
- you can also hike up to Saint-Gervais, via the 💦 Cascade de Crespin;
[ ⇒ see separate MBFF article here for some ideas for hikes in the Parc Thermal ]
. . . and a stroll around the park for buggies . . .
The restaurant in the middle of the park has re-opened for the summer and is being managed by the team of the La Cha in Les Houches.
🍏 Picnics are the order of the day: plentiful grass, picnic tables and benches, lots of shade, big boulders . . . and there is even a small bandstand, for those days when your picnic gets caught out by 🌧 sudden mountain 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 it is FREE (a donation is asked). The little trains have a station and the tracks run around the park on fine weather days from ☀️ June until September, on Wednesdays and weekends from about 14h / see here for more details;
Plein Air summer exhibition
The 🌳 Parc Thermal is also an 🖼 open air museum, with its frequent art exhibitions! This makes a buggy stroll even more enjoyable and cultural.
🌟 wood sculptures 2020! 🌟 🐄 two Hérens cows were sculpted from the wood of a giant 120 year old sequoia tree that was cut down in the 🌳 Le Parc Thermal in 2018 for safety reasons. Artist Kevin Churoux asked to be able to sculpt something from this ancient and beautiful tree, to pay it proper homage! The sculpture remained in the park until September 2020, and then it took off to travel throughout the region to accompany real 🐄 combats de reines!
Denis Monfleur sculptures: in the summer of 2018, 6 tonnes of granit were delivered to the 🌳 Parc Thermal, for a sculpture exhibition by the sculptor Denis Monfleur: « Erratiques. Sculptures de Denis Monfleur ». It was the perfect setting for the exhibition!
. . . and for summer 2022: Plein Air: parcours d’art à ciel ouvert :
NEW in 2021 – 🗺 4 parcours d’orientation offered by Saint-Gervais Tourisme (pick up the leaflet from the tourist office), and you’ll find the easier one in the Parc Thermal!
History of the Parc Thermal
If you were 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 Thermes Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc.
One story says that it was a miner from Servoz who first spotted steam and noted a sulphurous odour when he was out 🎣 fishing and, after a bit of digging around, found the 💦 hot spring water.
Then in 1806, maître Gontard (a royal notary) discreetly had the 💦 spring water tested, and found it to be rich in minerals and capable of healing lots of diseases. . . he hence bought the land around the springs and built the first wooden bathing huts and the first thermes were born!
By 1815, 💦 the first thermal baths were built and Saint-Gervais as a tourist destination was on the map. But in 1892, a tragic event occurred: an air pocket burst in ❄️ the Bionnassay glacier, and a huge landslide then wiped out the hamlet of Bionnassay, killing 200 people, as well as destroying the thermal baths down below.
Right by the duck pond, you’ll find some new panels explaining the history of the Parc Thermal and the hot springs . . .
[ ⇒ read more about 💦 the history of the thermal baths here ]
Les Thermes Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc
💦 Les Thermes Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc thermal bath are now owned by Loréal, and have recently re-opened after a huge renovation and extension project / good for parent-pampering and there are family sessions and parent & baby sessions too! / 🌟 les nocturnes from 18h30, are the cheaper option !
[ ⇒ see separate MBFF article here for more information ]
Centre sportif du Parc Thermal au Fayet
After a renovation project, the 1968 Centre Sportif intercommunal du Parc Thermal re-opened its doors to schools and associations (not to the general public) in autumn 2021 . . . located near the entrance to the park, this sports centre has x2 gyms, a climbing wall, an athletics track, tennis courts and a swimming pool.
Wintertime in Le Parc Thermal
The 🌳 Parc Thermal is a great spot to head after ❄️ fresh snowfall – a place to make ⛄️ a snowman, for snowball fights or for 🛷 luge walks . . . The hikes, however, tend to ice over and become very slippery, so these are to be undertaken with great caution and proper equipment (crampons, poles).
🅿️ parking: there is plenty of parking near the playground and the climbing wall, though on hot summer days we try to find some shade in amongst the trees, along the road;
address: 355 allée du Dr Lépina, Le Fayet, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains;