It is now officially summertime, scorching hot, and we have just bought a new paddling pool for the terrace – so I thought this the opportune moment to present a post about the WATERSLIDES & WIBIT PARKS, PADDLING POOLS, SWIMMING POOLS & AQUATIC CENTRES au Pays du Mont-Blanc and beyond! In the following post, you will find information about:
- summer waterslides – over the last few years, some ephemeral summer waterslides have made an appearance, to complement those in-situ at our outdoor pools;
- wibit parks – Lac de Passy, Les Gets’ Lac des Ecoles, Vitam, TNA cable park;
- paddling pools & river paddling – for little ones . . . (NB – always be careful as many of our mountain rivers are part of hydroelectric projects, meaning that they are prone to flash-flooding / if there is a sign saying DO NOT ENTER THE WATER. then do not enter the water!);
- swimming pools & parcs aquatiques – our local pools and aquatic complexes and spas (and swimming in a zoo!), including summer features;
- nearby campsites with fabulous pools;
*NB – there will soon be posts about: lakes & watersports au Pays du Mont-Blanc / rivers & canyoning au Pays du Mont-Blanc!
COLOUR CODE FOR LISTINGS:
Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Argentière, Les Houches, Servoz & Vallorcine)
Passy & environs
Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy
St Gervais, Le Fayet & environs
Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs
Les Contamines & environs
There are a few pop-up waterslides not too far from the Pays du Mont-Blanc this summer, as well as the fabulous waterslides within our swimming pool complexes in the area (and a bit further away) . . .
Pays du Mont-Blanc waterslides
There are great waterslides at the public swimming pools in: Chamonix (indoor and outdoor), Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (outdoor), a Pentagliss (outdoor) at Le Palais in Megève and in Cluses / see below section Swimming Pools & Parcs Aquatiques for more details . . .
Mont-Blanc Plage (next to Lac de Passy)
The campsite Mont-Blanc Plage (right next to Lac de Passy) has a lovely terraced restaurant decorated with pots of flowers, that looks out over its own private lake (with 45 year old carp, the odd duck, and beautiful water-lilies) . . . if you eat lunch or dinner at the restaurant, then you are allowed to swim in the lake – there is a slide, a diving board and rafts to swim out to. There is a jaded grandeur to this campsite and the restaurant is lovely and peaceful (we tried it out tody!). And there is the added bonus of having a swim, a jump or a slide after eating!
Plan d’Eau et base de loisirs de Flumet
In Flumet, just past Praz-sur-Arly, is the Plan d’Eau et base de loisirs, a lovely little mountain lake / on Sunday 22nd July 2018, there will be the «La Fête du Plan d’Eau», with a temporary waterslide, a ventriglisse «Gliss’On» (60m long waterslide, taking you straight into the water; this specific structure in place from 20th to 22nd July), waterballs, stand-up paddle boards, slack-line, Zumba, boat-making, lâcher de lanternes, spectacles and more . . . / full programme here;
«Splash Your Mountain» (Morgins)
«Splash Your Mountain» set up the biggest pop-up waterslide in Europe in the small mountain town of Morgins (Valais, Switzerland) in the summer of 2017, and sold 3500 tickets! / and it is back again this year for 30 days over the summer holidays – 28th July to 26th August 2018! / this year, there will also be: a kids’ slide (6 to 12 years), a zip-line and food trucks . . . / speeds of up to 55km/hour on the slide! / opening hours & price & tickets: here / website / FB page;
«Slide My City Lausanne» (Lausanne) – 11th & 12th August
«Slide my City Lausanne» will be set up this summer on avenue Frédéric-César-de-la-Harpe in Lausanne on 11th & 12th August / website;
Waterslides within aquatic centres further afield
There are fabulous waterslides at these nearby parcs aquatiques: Vitam (Neydens), Aquariaz (Avoriaz), Piscine des Marquisats (in Annecy, next to the lake) and Aqualand (Le Bouveret), Genève-Plage . . . see section below Swimming Pools & Parcs Aquatiques for more details . . .
WIBIT PARKS & WATER GAMES
Over recent years, wibit inflatable structures on lakes have been popping up more and more . . . as well as having one right here au Pays du Mont-Blanc at Lac de Passy, a little further down the valley, you will find a wibit structure in place also at TNA Cable Park (Arenthon), one at Lac des Ecoles (Les Gets) and one at Vitam (Neydens).
Aqua Park du Mont-Blanc (Lac de Passy)
A relatively new addition to the Lac de Passy scene, the wibit inflatable structures are located on the northern side of the lake, next to the criques. The Aquapark du Mont-Blanc is open during the summer months from 10h to 20h and costs 8€ for 45mins / children have to be 8+ years to try it out on their own, and from 6 years, they can go with an accompanying adult! / the children wear life-vests while they are on the structure, but it is still a good idea to keep a watchful eye on them! / *our older son and friends tried it out last summer and had great fun!* / there are also paddle-boards to rent out for 10€/hour here;
Lac de Baignade (Parc Patrice Dominguez/Parc du Pontet in Les Contamines-Montjoie)
This summer, there is an inflatable slide leading into the small swimming lake in the Parc Patrice Dominguez in Les Contamines-Montjoie! / and, there are new water games (as well as karting, mini-golf, trampolines & bouncy castles, from Nash Mountain Games (you buy jetons at the little welcome hut);
TNA Cable Park (Arenthon)
You may have seen TNA Cable Park on a drive to Geneva/Annemasse etc from le Pays du Mont-Blanc . . . at this small lake, you can try out wakeboarding, water-skiing, or their new wibit watergames! / eating options: buvette, BBQs / World Cup viewing this summer! / website;
Le Lac des Ecoles (Les Gets)
There is an entrance fee to access Les Gets’ Lac des Ecoles / activities: wibit softplay (pay at caisse to validate créneau horaire; for children 6+ years), buvette / opening hours: from mid-June until early September, 11h to 20h / website;
This year during the spring holidays, Vitam introduced wibit structures to its indoor pool . . .
Yatouland Aquatique Parc (Vernier, Switzerland)
Yatouland Aquatique Parc, in Vernier (Switzerland), will be back for its second summer season this year at the Stade de Vernier – 23rd June until 26th August 2018! / a water park aimed at children 3 to 12 years / 2’000m² of games: bouncy castles and waterslides, aquaballs, pedalos, family games, a shady terrace with a food truck . . . / a special area for under 3s / opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday 11h to 18h / price: 15CHF per child (two accompanying adults permitted) / FREE parking + 3mins walking / website / address: chemin des Batailles 22, 1214, Vernier, Switzerland;
PADDLING POOLS FOR LITTLE ONES
There are paddling pools within most of our public swimming pools au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond):
- Chamonix (outdoor);
- Sallanches (outdoor);
- Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (indoor);
- Megève (indoor and outdoor);
- Vitam (indoor & outdoor);
Le Paradis des Praz
We also have the loveliest natural paddling pool at Le Paradis des Praz – for a paddling experience in nature, you cannot beat this gurgling stream running through the woods! / facilities: rafts, playground, sand-pit, pony rides, buvette . . . / see here for MBFF post all about this magical spot.
Lac de l’Etape (Les Contamines-Montjoie)
A visit to the small Lac de l’Etape in Les Contamines-Montjoie is such a bucolic visit en famille . . . you can either hike up there with older children, or you can take the télécabine de la Gorge (this is exciting in itself for little ones; opening hours) / once there, children can paddle or swim in the lake, play with pebbles, take out the mini boats, play in the playgrounds . . . and adults can relax with a cold beer on the terrace of the restaurant, right next to the lake! / there are options for more hikes from here (for example, you can take the Signal télécabine and then hike to the Auberge de la Roselette, via the Col du Joly)) / *good to know – if you book to stay the night at the Hôtel Bar Restaurant de l’Etape, then you can take the télécabine de la Gorge for free! / the MBFF experience: back in 2015, we had an overnight & dinner in the Hôtel Bar Restaurant de l’Etape – it was our luxurious take on a refuge en famille (we weren’t quite ready for dortoirs, being still quite sleep deprived with an 18 month old in tow!) / a visit to this small lake can also combine nicely with the activites on offer in the Parc Patrice Dominguez, or a little overnight camp at the campsite Camping le Pontet!
And in nearby Geneva & environs, there are numerous FREE paddling pools (eleven in total), many to be found within lovely parks / for under 10s / information Ville de Genève:
- Parc de la Grange – the little paddling pool in Eaux-Vives is located between two playgrounds in the park / open May to September / more information here;
- Pataugeoire du Bois-de-la-Bâtie – not far from the Arve river / football pitches, little river, animal park, playground / more information about park here;
- Parc Aqualudique de l’Auberge (Meyrin) – paddling pool with tipping buckets and water jets / playground / more information here;
La Grande-Jetée (Nyon, Switzerland)
Inaugurated this summer and located at the end of the Promenade Niedermeyer, here you will find a lovely playground by the water’s edge, with fabulous views of Lac Léman and the mountains / lots of shade, sand for children to play, fountains, buvette, beach volleyball / there is a whole programme of summer activities / more information here;
SWIMMING AT A ZOO!
Zoo les Marécottes
Believe it or not, near the Pays du Mont-Blanc, you can swim in a pool carved into the rocks, within a zoo, with a view of the black bears: at Zoo des Marécottes / open from early June, when the swimming pool is re-filled / 70m long and solar heated 24 to 27 degrees / facilities: restaurant, playground, feeding animals / getting there: you can get there by train from Chamonix, the Mont-Blanc Express / website / FB page;
SWIMMING POOLS & PARCS AQUATIQUES & SPAS
If you are holidaying au Pays du Mont-Blanc, you may be lucky enough to have a swimming pool available at your hotel or chalet. There are also some hotels that allow you to use their pool if you have lunch in their restaurant (for example, L’Hotel Aiguille du Midi in Les Bossons). And there are plentiful options for public swimming pools in the area and a bit further afield! If you are more interested in some parent/adult pampering at a spa, then please head to separate post Chamonix Valley Spas & Massages.
*good to know: please note that boys and men must wear a slip at the pools au Pays du Mont-Blanc; if you arrive in shorts, you will be asked to buy a slip!*
Au Pays du Mont-Blanc:
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc public swimming pool
The public swimming pool in Chamonix is located within the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon / indoor pools: there is a 25m indoor pool with lanes and a children’s pool with rapids, water jets and a fabulous slide / outdoor pools: 50m Olympic pool, a children’s pool, slides and a children’s paddling pool / babies and small children – as well as the indoor children’s pool and the outdoor paddling pool and slides, the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon offers special swimming classes for babies and toddlers: Saturday morning at 10h, the Jardin d’Eau offers plenty of fun for babies and toddlers (from 6 months to 3 years) with one or two adults accompanying; at 11h is the Petits Poissons option for children from 3 to 5 years; lots of toys are put out and the pool is slightly warmed for these classes; see here for more details / opening hours / address: 214 avenue de la Plage, 74400, Chamonix / tel: +33 (0)4 50 53 23 70 / parking: there is some free parking at the sports centre, depending on availability; otherwise there are paying car parks nearby / *good to know – access to sports centre is from another entrance until mid-June, due to works*
QC Therme Chamonix
The same brand behind the succesful 14+ spa of Pré St Didier QC Termes in the Aosta Valley, Italy are soon to open in Chamonix! / follow FB page for opening details!
Sallanches public swimming pool
The building project for a new aquatic centre in Sallanches has commenced on the Braconne site (not far from Lac de Passy), with predicted opening in 2019; see sallanches.fr for more information and photos / for now, there is an indoor pool of 250m² (25m x 10m), that opens up onto a terrace during the summer months, and a small outdoor paddling pool (with a small slide; bring your own toys) / see here for opening hours / *eating options – there is a buvette during the summer months, and for finer dining and excellent service (and a lovely terrace with views of Mont Blanc), there is La Braconne (a 2mins walk away); alternatively, there are picnic tables on the spacious lawn outside / address: 240 avenue Albert Gruffat, 74700, Sallanches;
Bô fitness & wellbeing centre(Domancy)
Marlioz public swimming pool (Passy)
The swimming pool in Marlioz is a “piscine tournesol“ (from a 1970s nationwide project to improve the standard of swimming in France, after the poor results of the French swimmers in the Montreal Olympic Games of 1968!), a bubble shape opening up during the the warmer months to the spacious grassy area outside / there is a shallow end to the pool, but no paddling pool available, making it more ideal for older children learning to swim or already competent swimmers / opening hours / address: 489 avenue de Saint-Martin, Marlioz, Passy / tel: 04 50 78 23 06 / parking: free parking next to swimming pool / *good to know – the Marlioz swimming pool is very near Super U , if you need to pick up picnic supplies!*
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains public swimming pool
The public swimming pool in Saint-Gervais was renovated and re-opened a couple of years ago, and as of this springtime 2018, it is now decorated with frescoes by street painting operative 2KM3 (see MBFF post for more details about their other work) / the indoor swimming pools comprise: main pool, children’s shallow pool and paddling pool with toys / outdoor pool and slide / eating options: bar/café for refreshments and grass for picnics; nearby Clubhouse / there is also a hammam and sauna / baby swimming: Bébé Plouf (for babies from 6 months to children 3 years, with an accompanying adult) on certain Saturdays, 9h45 to 10h30 and 10h30 to 11h15, water 32 degrees / opening hours (from 11h30 or 14h, late opening on Tuesdays) / address: 798 avenue de Miage, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains / tel: 04 50 93 42 87 / *good to know: right next door, you will find the new pumptrack, tennis courts, mini-golf and playground*
Le Palais public swimming pool, Megève
Megève’s swimming pools (within Le Palais) re-opened their doors last summer with a free taster day . . . we went along and had a great time exploring! / with both indoor and outdoor pools, the re-styled Espace Aquatique has something for the whole family! / indoor pools – there is one pool for swimming (25m x 12.5m), another for children and a baby paddling pool (with slides, water features and warm water, LOVELY!) / outdoor pools (June until September) – there is an Olympic pool (50 x 21m), and two children’s paddling pools, one with animal/water features / for rent are parasols and lounge chairs / pentagliss – 3 adjacent outdoor slides; for 6+ years / Bébés Nageurs Aquakids classes – on some Sundays from 10h to 11h15 (check schedule); water heated to 32 degrees; 11,50€ per session / eating options: you can picnic on the grass or eat at the on-site restaurant / over the summer holidays, there are lots of family activities organised poolside: open air cinema, workshops for children, a pool party . . . / opening hours pools: for opening hours (which change over the year), see megeve.com or pdf booklet / FB page / *good to know – as the swimming pools are located within Le Palais, you can combine a visit with the Médiathèque, the climbing wall, a temporary exhibition or the ice-skating rink!)*
And further afield . . .
Cluses public swimming pool
My boys have been down to Cluses pool, and enjoyed the slide immensely! / there is a grand bassin (6 lanes), a pool with ramp access, a paddling pool for children aged 6 months to 5 years (with slides, animals, clowns), a giant slide leading to a separate pool for safety, a solarium and beach volleyball / picnics are permitted outside / website;
Vitam parc aquatique in Neydens (near Saint-Julién-en-Génévois)
The indoor and outdoor pools at this huge parc aquatique are a top attraction in Haute-Savoie: swimming areas, wibit softplay, paddling pools, slides, spa area . . . / Vitam is ideally situated within a shopping centre and also has an indoor play centre, Vitam Ludic and climbing wall / Aquabébés (for children 6 months to 5 years) / plenty of special family activities over the summer holidays / FB page / website / address: 500 route des Envignes, 74160, Neydens/ tel:
Aquariaz parc aquatique in Avoriaz
Aquariaz is a tropical indoor water park, 2400 m², with water at 30°! / features: l’arbre à l’eau for little ones; slidewinder (a 10m high half-pipe that you descend on a rubber ring!); espace détente, within the main pool (river current, bubbles, benches in the water, jacuzzi) / opening hours: 8th July to 31st August from 10h30 to 19h30 / price: 3€ to 9€ (3+/adults) / address: 142 route des Rennes, 74110 Avoriaz / tel: 04 50 74 24 42 / website;
Centre Nautique in Evian
I have fond memories of Evian outdoor pool, as this was where my 2 year old developed a love for water (until that day, he had remained pretty indifferent to water!). The pool’s location is lovely, right by the lakeside, and there is plenty of grass to stretch out. Not that I would ever have been able to convince him to have a nap, but there was even a nap room à l’interieur! / features: Olympic swimming pool, children’s pool, jardin d’enfants, beach with access to lake swimming, slides, nap room, buvette / website / *good to know – some other great activities in Evian en famille – ride the funiculaire, to get lovely views of the lake; visit the exhibition at the Palais Lumière, take a ride on a boat, visit the special gardens the Pré Curieux*
Aquaparc in Le Bouveret (Switzerland)
We have yet to visit this aquaparc in Switzerland (on the shores of Lac Léman), but we have heard great reports from friends! / with its pirate boat, wave machine, lazy river and more, this looks to be a fabulous family water park! . . ./ opening hours / address: route de la Plage, 122, 1897, Le Bouveret, Switzerland / tel: +41 24 482 00 00 / website;
Genève-Plage (Cologny, Switzerland)
Genève Plage is a swimming complex situated right next to Lac Léman / history: public bathing for the people of Geneva dates back centuries – since the Middle Ages, there have been places to bathe on Lac Léman, the Arve, the Rhône; Genève-Plage has existed since 1932 / swimming pool equipment: an Olympic pool, one pool for non-swimmers, one paddling pool, a waterslide (9m high) / lake equipment: swimming zone, rafts, diving boards, showers, wibit on lake / FB page / website / address: Quai de Cologny 5, Port-Noir, 1223, Cologny, Genève;
Les Bains de Saillons, Valais (Switzerland)
Set among terraced vineyards, with a view of the little castle atop the medieval bourg, this spa/aquatic centre has both indoor and outdoor attractions . . . three thermal pools (32 to 34°C), a semi-Olympic pool (28°C), a thermal river (120m long) and more . . . / the waterslides and paddling pool are open during the summer months / there are six restaurants and hotel facilities on-site! / price: adults CHF24 to 28, children (4 to 16 years) CHF13 and FREE for under 4s! / address:route du Centre Thermal 16, 1913, Saillon, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)27 602 11 11 / *NB – keep a watchful eye on children in the river rapids; it can get very busy!*
Les Bains de Lavey (Switzerland)
Leukerbad spa and swimming complex has a beautiful setting, amidst the snowy mountain peaks . . . a visit here is a real escape, a mix of well-being a fun! / there are 10 pools (between 28°C and 43°C!), and a new bassin aventure, two dedicated pools for children and waterslides (one with inflatable rings) / price: adults CHF 25 to 30, children (8 to 16 years) CHF 14 and free for under 8s and open to all children from birth! / massages for children & parents available / website;
Brigerbad thermal baths (Switzerland)
These thermal baths are a little bit further away, but perfect for a weekend and in a stunning setting / withing the 2600m2 summer surface area, there are TWELVE pools (indoor and outdoor, and different temperatures) / the whole centre is equipped to make wheelchair access easy / grass and terraces / for children: shaded paddling pool, slides (the longest in the Alps, with 182m of fun!), bouncy castle in pool; see here for more details / spa & wellness, hotel, restaurant, campsite next door / website / FB page;
Pré St Didier QC Thermes (Aosta Valley, Italy)
The spa of Pré St Didier QC Termes, through the Mont-Blanc tunnel, is reserved for 14+ years (for ultimate parent/adult relaxation!) / website;
CAMPSITES WITH GREAT POOLS
If any readers have suggestions for campsites with fabulous pools, not too far from the Pays du Mont-Blanc (up to 2 hours away), then I would love to have your input! Here are some suggestions for campsites we have been to (and loved), or ones recommended to me by friends . . .
Camping Europa (Saint-Jorioz, Lac d’Annecy)
This campsite I hit upon quite by chance a few years ago . . . I was desperately trying to wean my 16 month old and I needed extreme action! So, I decided to use the occasion in a positive way, and headed off for the weekend with my then four year old, for some quality one-on-one time with him, leaving his little brother to have fun with his daddy (and forget about the milk machine!). We headed to Camping Europa in Saint-Jorioz, and though a little more expensive than some of the other ones around Lac d’Annecy, I was won over by the swimming complex: a paddling pool, pentagliss slides, a lagoon, waterfall, a river feature (and a separate pool for people wanting to just swim lengths!) . . . When we arrived at the campsite, I can honestly say that my little boy had never looked so excited! And at the end of the weekend, I even managed to get the “pop-up tent” packed up and back in its bag without too much fuss! To read about some of the other activities on offer around this campsite, read MBFF/Randos en Famille post Family Strolls with buggies: sentier thématiques des roselières by Randos en Famille / on-site at this campsite: bouncy castle, playground, restaurant, access to piste cyclable & bike rental / website;
Camping La Ravoire (Doussard, Lac d’Annecy)
Camping La Ravoire is located in Doussard, au bout du Lac d’Annecy, another campsite with the Alps as a backdrop / the swimming complex is 200 m², with both indoor and outdoor pools (for those rainy days!) and a paddling pool with slides for little ones / also on-site: snack bar (evenings), playground, terrain de sport and bouncy castle / website;
Camping Les Fontaines (Doussard, Lac d’Annecy)
Camping Les Fontaines‘ swimming complex consists of: two pools, one 400 m², the other specifically for little ones, with a paddling pool and pentagliss / website;
Le Camping du Lac Bleu (Doussard, Lac d’Annecy)
The swimming complex at Camping du Lac Bleu consists of: a river, paddling pool and geysers, jacuzzis / the campsite is also right next to the lake, with all the watersports on offer there! / website;
Yelloh Camping des 4 Montagnes (Antrans, Le Vercors)
We went to this lovely little campsite in Le Vercors just a couple of weeks ago, with some friends who were testing out their new campervan! We dedided to rent one of the on-site semi-tents (Sweet Cocoon), as we arrived late and there were storms threatening . . . another friend came with his fancy trailer, another with a pop-up tent (we were certainly seen as a motley crew!). We loved the campsite – family run, the perfect size (for me), right next to a summer luge, a little restaurant on-site / other activities: bouncy castle, multi-sport terrain, BBQ facilities and an outdoor pool with slides and indoor pool and paddling pool.