MBFF has spent seven years discovering and testing playgrounds in the Pays du Mont-Blanc. We are fairly confident that we have tested most of them (please let us know of any treasures we may have missed along the way!). The following list highlights our personal favourites; this is clearly subjective . . . and I’ll admit that at certain points on our journey of discovery, we had to avoid certain playgrounds . . . as with two energetic boys three years apart in age, some playgrounds were somewhat challenging with just one pair of hands to rescue the little monkey who had to follow his big brother to the top of climbing frames!
Adventure Playground in Combloux
This playground is top of our list. The location is wonderful: perched just above the Plan d’Eau Biotope, there is a commanding view of Mont Blanc from here. The playground is aimed at the 3+ age group and is largely made out of wood and rope. It comprises: a spider-web climbing frame and netted swing, balancing beams, leap-frog toadstalls, a tyrolienne . . . Much of this is under a huge canopy of shade, which makes it an ideal spot to head on a hot summer’s day! A bit further up the hill are some netted tunnels to crawl through and some climbing for older children. Do be warned that there is not much in this adventure playground for tiny tots, apart from the netted swing . . . perfect if you have a sleeping baby in a buggy and older children to entertain! But if you have a very active toddler who wants to do just like his “big brother” or “big sister”, you will spend your whole time running (so take an extra pair of helping hands if possible!). There are also a couple of picnic tables, so you can make a picnic lunch/snack. Down the hill, just next to the Plan d’Eau Biotope, is a lovely green space for running with some boulders to hop over. There is also a volleyball court with sand. We love to bring visitors here – there is something for everyone!
Address: Chemin du Perret, 74920, Combloux;
Parking: there is free parking just above this playground;
Aire de Jeux de St Martin & Aire de Jeux de l’Eglise in Sallanches
All of the playgrounds in Sallanches are well-equipped and good for all age-groups. St Martin playground stands out because of its excellent location right by the Arve river, and next to the historic Pont St Martin. Its main attraction is the tall climbing frame with the “tunnel slide”, and there are also swings and other climbing options for older children and a train for little ones. An added bonus is the plentiful free parking on site! (We did have to avoid this playground for a while when little brother was very small, as he kept trying to follow big brother to the top of the tunnel climbing frame, and Mummy kept having to go to the rescue! We are now back on track!).
We are also big fans of the church playground in Sallanches, as it has shade in the summer months and it is a great place to head after a visit to Sallanches’ Saturday market or after a visit to the Centre de la Nature Montagnarde!
Address: Esplanade de St Martin (St Martin) and Place du Commissaire Chesney (Aire de Jeux de l’Eglise), 74700, Sallanches
Parking: free, right next to playgrounds;
Le Parc Thermal in Le Fayet
Le Parc Thermal has a well-equipped playground with plenty of pebbles to fill sand-buckets or diggers and dump trucks! There is a swing and small climbing frame, slide and bouncers for little ones and for older children, there is a small climbing wall and climbing frame, slide and swings. It is the perfect playground to come to with a toddler or baby (or both), as there is plenty to keep everyone occupied – lots of green grass for picnics and ball games, running and biking, a fish pond with ducks and the wonderful mini steam trains in the summer months. There are paths for buggy walks and the musée en plein air from May until November. During the hot summer months, you can find some respite here! (*NB – plans are underway to renovate this playground in 2018!*).
Address: 355 allée du Dr Lépinay, 74190 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Parking: there is parking right next to the playground within the park.
Le Jardin du Mont Blanc in St Gervais
St Gervais town centre has a delightful, newly renovated playground to keep your little ones active and happy. Located in the Jardin du Mont Blanc, the landscaping around the playground is itself lovely, with lots of grassy slopes, an old well and bandstand and some well-located benches to admire the mountain views. The playground has as a theme Le Tramway du Montblanc, and children can play at driving their own tram! There is also a netted swing, a swing for tiny ones, a small trampoline, and a climbing frame.
Address: Jardin du Mont Blanc, Avenue du Mont Paccard, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Parking: there is free parking in the multi-storey car park just across the road from the playground
Le Paddock du Palais des Sports in Megève
The playground near Megève’s Palais des Sports is ample, caters for all ages (from 1-14 years) and has a great view of the mountains . . . this makes it a great spot to stop with the whole family, as everyone should find something to their liking! Being right next to the Palais des Sports, it is a great place to unwind or have a snack after a swimming or ice-skating session at the sports centre! On Friday mornings, Megève’s market is just next door; a good place to buy a snack or a picnic lunch!
Address: route du Palais des Sports, Le Paddock, 74120 Megève (*NB with a new hotel development planned on the site of the playground, plans are underway to move the playground across the road, towards Sallanches*);
Parking: there is plentiful paying parking opposite the Palais des Sports;
La Base de Loisirs des Belles in Praz-sur-Arly
Praz-sur-Arly has a fantastic playground set within its Base de Loisirs des Belles! In fact, it comprises two playgounds (one for little ones with a fire-engine and sand-pit and one for older children with a tyrolienne and climbing frame). On site you will also find a skatepark, mini-golf, a small climbing wall, a multi-sport pitch, tennis courts and a VTT course in the woods (Ludik Park). There is also a small buvette.
Address: Plaine des Belles, 74120 Praz-sur-Arly
Parking: free parking on site
Le Parc de Loisirs Patrice Dominguez in Les Contamines
Le Parc de Loisirs Patrice Dominguez has a wonderful playground within the activity park. Located right next to the small pedalo lake, it comprises: a climbing frame, a small climbing wall, a slide, swings, a tyrolienne . . . You’ll need to watch small children closely, as the water’s edge is right next to the playground, but older children can play happily while their parents have a quiet drink over at the café (you are still able to keep an eye on the munchkins from here!). In the summertime, in the park, are the bouncy castles and trampolines run by Laurent! Lots of fun here!