The long 🏖 SCHOOL SUMMER HOLIDAYS are soon to arrive here 🏔 au Pays du Mont Blanc . . . some of us may be going away, some of us may be staying in the mountains, many of you may be visiting our majestic mountains, valleys and lakes!
So here is a round-up of some of the activities on offer to children and families 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc over the ☀️ summer months, to help with your summer planning:
- 🎨 centre de loisirs (MJC, FJEP, etc . . .);
- 🎨 workshops & stages (art & creativity, sport, outdoors & nature, music, languages);
- guided visits;
- event & festival programmes;
- 🎬 outdoor cinema;
- activities for teenagers;
- colonies de vacances;
I shall be updating this list with any new workshops and activities that I hear about, and please feel free to send me details of any children’s or family events that you may hear of, or are organising yourself, over the summer months!
other MBFF summer posts:
- ☀️ SPRINGTIME ACTIVITIES au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond) – a general list of activities on offer for families / see here (springtime activities still relevant for summertime!);
- 💦 SUMMER SPLASH (waterslides, wibit zones on lakes, aquaparks and more water fun) – see here;
- 💦 LAKES & WATERSPORTS – see here;
- ☔️ RAINY DAYS – see article here for lots of indoor options and also options for outdoor fun during light summer drizzle;
COLOUR CODE FOR LISTINGS:
Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Argentière, Les Houches, Servoz & environs) and Vallorcine
Passy (Plateau d’Assy, Plaine-Joux, Bay, Chedde and Marlioz)
Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy
St Gervais, Le Fayet, St Nicolas de Véroce & environs
Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs
Les Contamines-Montjoie & environs
🇫🇷 Further France 🇫🇷
🇨🇭 Switzerland 🇨🇭
🇮🇹 Italy 🇮🇹
The various 🌈 accueils de loisirs au Pays du Mont-Blanc all fill up quickly for the holidays, so you have to be prepared with the required documentation on the allocated inscriptions days (some require you to pay when you sign up; otherwise, you will have already filled in the required details at the beginning of the school year):
CAP Loisirs (Chamonix Valley)
In the Chamonix Valley, Cap Loisirs (MJC) offers activities over the summer months / activities and centres vary according to each age groups / see here for more details:
- P’tits Boutch – PS of maternelle / location: Les Pélerins;
- Argentière – PS to GS of maternelle / location: Argentière;
- Planards – CE2 to CM2 of école primaire / location: Planards;
- Balmat – MS of maternelle to CE1 / location: école Balmat;
- Club Ados – 6ème to 13ème collège & lycée / location: Gare des Glaciers;
- Séjours Jeunes (11 to 17 years);
inscriptions: residents of the Vallée de Chamonix get priority and can sign up IN PERSON from 4th June 2019 (from 12th June for all others) and priority given to those signing up for a full week / you need to pay in full on the day that you sign up and make sure you have ALL of the necessary documentation filled in;
Club Enfants des Chavants & Antenne Jeunes Les Houches
FJEP Passy (Parvis des Fiz, Passy)
Le FJEP – Foyer des Jeunes et d’Education Populaire in Passy is an association offering workshops for children and adults throughout the year, the headquarters being le Parvis des Fiz. During the summer holidays, there are plenty of workshops on offer, as well as the Parvis des Fiz operating as a daily centre aéré / see website or FB page for summer programme / contact: 04 50 93 67 11 / address: Parvis des Fiz, 275 rue Arsène Poncet, Passy;
As well as daily activities over the summer months, the FJEP Passy also offers summer camps for 6 to 17 year olds . . .
inscriptions: from 25th May . . .
Espace Animations Sallanches
Daily activities, some themed days, excursions and summer camps for children 6+ years . . . / see website or FB page for more details / address: 625 rue Cancellieri, 74700, Sallanches
tel: 04 50 47 84 68;
The excellent MJC (Maison de Jeunesse et Culture) in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains offers plenty of summer workshops and stages / the summer plaquette will be available soon / see website & FB page for updates;
inscriptions: dates to come, usually beginning of June!
La Planète des Mômes (Parc Thermal, Le Fayet)
This centre loisirs is located in the wonderful Parc Thermal and offers plenty of activities over the summer holidays / in July and August, only whole days can be booked (no half days) / address: 19 allée Gontard Le Fayet , 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains / tel: 04 50 18 48 75;
Meg Loisirs (Megève)
Activities throughout the summer at this centre loisirs / website / contact: 04 50 58 77 84 and firstname.lastname@example.org;
Most of the 🌈 playgroups au Pays du Mont-Blanc for babies and toddlers take a break over the school holidays, but this SUMMER 2019, there is a new kid on the block:
Kitsch Kids Family Mornings at the Kitschinn (Les Houches) – on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, 9h until 11h . . . “ we’re welcoming as many parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, family friends and of course the star attractions, your little ones, to come hang out at the Kitsch! We have a fabulous terrace and outdoor kids play area, and so as long as the weather is fine (let’s hope), Kitsch Kids can run and play outside to their heart’s content. We’ll also have special offers throughout the summer to thank you for coming. For our first week, you’ll be rewarded with a free home-made cookie and kids syrop with every tea or coffee ordered. And on Tuesday June 18 we’ll be having a book exchange where kids can bring and exchange a book with one from our collection or with another Kitsch Kid. And Wednesday June 19 will be Face Painting day with the lovely Alison, who can turn your cuties into tigers, cats, flowers or whatever else they choose. ”
La Maison du Lieutenant (Servoz)
Exhibitions (permanent and temporary), balades animées pour les familles, workshops, farm visits with butter and cheese making, cooking classes, sorties découverte, virées du patrimoine – lots of animations over the summer at the Maison du Lieutenant in Servoz! / reservations: flyer to come;
Col du Montet – Reserve ton vendredi
Le mercredi des p’tits loups (Passy)
Different activities at different Passy locations (Lac Vert . . . ) on Wednesdays at 14h. See Passy Tourisme for full list (outdoor escape games, sandcastle competitions and more!).
Réserve Naturelle de Passy nature workshops
There are weekly nature & creative workshops organised for children and families during the school holidays within the Réserve Naturelle de Passy / address: Maison de la Réserve Naturelle de Passy, 321 chemin des Parchet / tel: +33 (0) 4 50 90 23 07 / see FB page for updates and flyer to come;
« Les P’tits Experts de la Nature » workshops (Le Centre de la Nature Montagnarde, SALLANCHES)
Though the Centre de la Nature Montagnarde is SHUT and being renovated at the moment, during the school holidays, there are still nature workshops for children: « Les P’tits Experts de la Nature » / for children 6 to 12 years / some workshops indoors, some outdoors / Wednesdays from 14h to 16h and a different theme each Wednesday / parents are free to leave children for the workshop, or can join in / price per child: 6€ / reservations: +33 (0)4 50 58 32 13 (places are limited) / see website or MBFF post for more details / pdf leaflet;
summer programme: to come;
La Maison du Salève (Présilly)
The lovely Maison du Salève in Présilly has a full programme of nature workshops & guided walks for children and families over the summer holidays, some on-site and some nearby / see website or online programme for full list / see here for MBFF article about this magical place;
🦇 Les Grottes de la Balme (Isère) 🦇
These caves are open over the summer holidays, and are located a 40mins drive to the east of Lyon, 2 hours from Chamonix / the temperature in the caves is between 12° et 15°C all year-round (so warmer than outdoors during the winter months!) / no dogs allowed, no camera flash / picnic spot at entrance to village, with rain shelter, WC and playground / opening days: every day 13h30 until 18h and weekends from 10h30 / cahiers jeux, see here / website / tel: +33 (0)4 74 96 95 00! / address: rue des Grottes, 38390, La Balme-les-Grottes;
🐻 Musée de l’Ours des Cavernes 🐻
There are 🐄 several farms to visit en famille 🏔 au Pays du Mont Blanc (for a more extensive list, see separate MBFF post Springtime activities for families au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond).
Here are some ideas for visits and workshops during the summer holidays :
Maison du Lieutenant (Servoz)
Bread-making, milk and cheese-making . . . see above for more information . . .
Les Petits Fermiers (La Ferme les Montagnards, Ormaret, Combloux)
Delphine at la Fermes les Montagnards normally offers her popular farm mucking-in session for children on Mondays at 17h during the summer holidays: put on your wellies and discover the life of goats at the farm! / address: 4 chemin des Poses, Ormaret, 74920, Combloux / reservations necessary: Delphine +33 (0)6 21 02 18 99 / FB page;
🐑 La Ferme des Roches-Fleuris (Saint-Gervais-les-Bains) 🐑
See FB page for the opening hours of this 🐑 chèvre farm in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains / address: 1510 route D’Orsin, 74170, Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains;
For animal parks to visit, see separate article here . . . in addition, there are plenty of activities for children involving animals over the summer holidays . . .
🐶 Canirando 🐶
This involves taking a husky for a sporty walk (wearing a harness) / can normally be booked for a morning or afternoon session . . .
- 3D Nordic (Flumet) – over the vacances de printemps, my son took part in the one day journée musher and absolutely raved about it (and his companion for the day, the lovely blue-eyed Eapy)!
- for other options for canirando in the area, see here;
Do check with local 🐎 horse-riding centres, for updates about summer stages:
- 🐎 Le Centre Equestre Mont-Blanc (Les Houches) – website;
- 🐎 Les Ecuries des Fiz (Le Fayet) – website;
- 🐎 Les Ecuries d’Antan (Passy) – website;
- 🐎 Les Ducs de Combloux – website;
- 🐎 Le Cheval de Feug (Megève) – stages of 5 days for children 4+ years) / see here for more details / address: 255 route du Feug, 74120, Demi-Quartier / tel: 06 09 01 29 43 or 04 50 93 32 89 / website;
- 🐎 Centre Equestre Les Contamines-Montjoie (in Le Parc de Loisirs du Pontet) – see here for more details / FB page;
This is a super activity to do en famille . . . especially great for reluctant walkers, as if they tire then they can have a ride on the donkey’s back! We had a superb time hiking with Les Anes et les Mômes (Le Parc de Loisirs du Pontet) in Les Contamines-Montjoie) with Ernest, our donkey / website;
For other options, see here;
🎣 Fishing 🎣
Lac de Javen (Megève)
Here, you can also rent fishing equipment (and even BBQ your own trout on Wednesdays from 18h30!) . . .
There will be plenty of ⚽️ sports workshops and stages over the summer holidays . . . if your children already belong to a club, then check with them directly if they have any activities or stages organised over the summer months!
See article SPORTS EVENTS for families, to see a list of events to partake in or spectate!
If your child belongs to one of the 🧗♀️ climbing clubs in the Pays du Mont-Blanc, then it is worth checking if they are organising any stages over the summer holidays . . . otherwise, there are various other options:
🧗♀️ Vallogrimp’ climbing (Chamonix Valley) 🧗♀️
🧗♀️ Vallogrimp’ is a popular climbing school offering various climbing workshops (including canyoning and alpinism) for children (4+ years) over the summer holidays in the Chamonix Valley. The inscriptions day is a busy affair, and you have to line up with a “first come first served” policy, but you can contact them to see if there is still availability after this day (this worked for me last year!) / see website for dates and classes on offer / NB – you will need to hire or buy all of your own equipment for these workshops / good to know – decouverte canyoning avec Vallogrimp every Friday (9+ years) during the summer holidays (more information on website);
inscriptions 2019 – on Friday 24th May from 16h30 until 18h30 in the Maison du Club des Sports in Chamonix (come early!) / you must fill in and print out the fiche d’inscription beforehand / in order to be fair, you are only allowed to sign up ONE extra child (other than your own!) / pay the total on the day of signing up – cash or cheque (cashed on first day of stage);
🧗♀️ Coco Grimpe climbing (Chamonix Valley) 🧗♀️
🧗♀️ Coco Grimpe offers climbing workshops of four half-days (Monday to Thursday) for children (4+ years) over the summer holidays (recommendation from Chamonix resident Isobel R, whose son really enjoyed his climbing course last summer!). Christophe Darlot aims to get children to discover climbing by having fun at various sites around the Chamonix Valley: on crags, some cordless bouldering, indoor climbing walls, slack-line . . . / all equipment is provided by Coco Grimpe, except for climbing shoes (can be rented) / see website or FB page for more details;
Mont-Blanc Escalade (indoor climing wall in Les Houches)
Koala Grimp (Saint-Gervais and beyond)
Koala Grimpe (Saint-Gervais) – Magaly gets rave reviews and looks to have lots of fun with her little climbers! / tel: 06 88 96 78 73 or email: email@example.com / FB page & website / you can sign up for the summer already – here;
Le Palais Megève
There are some climbing stages held at Le Palais over the holidays, and also some days dedicated to very young climbers – Baby Grimp . . . / check FB page for updates;
Private climbing guides
If you are on holiday in the area, then try private climbing guides (you can get lists from the tourist offices): Bureaux de Guides, Evolution 2, Cham’Aventure . . .
Many of our 💦 local swimming pools au Pays du Mont-Blanc offer 💦 swimming stages & lessons over the school holidays (one or two weeks of 30mins to 45mins sessions). Here are the swimming pools to contact directly for more information:
- 💦 Chamonix public pool in the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon – website;
- 💦 Marlioz swimming pool in Passy – the moniteurs at this Passy swimming pool come highly, highly recommended!
- 💦 Sallanches swimming pool – Monday to Friday, in July and August (one week of each month, one hour lesson) / price: 85€ / website;
- 💦 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains swimming pool – website;
- 💦 Le Palais (Megève) – see brochure for summer stages;
You can find golf lessons for children here:
- Golf Club in Chamonix –Jean-Claude Bonnaz offers weekly or daily golf stages for children (débutants and perfectionnement) in July and August / Jean-Claude comes highly recommended! / see his website for dates and prices;
- Mont d’Arbois Golf (Megève) – check their website to see if there are any stages available for children;
- Parc de Loisirs du Pontet (Les Contamines-Montjoie) – check website . . .
Many of the tennis clubs au Pays du Mont-Blanc will offer tennis workshops for children over the summer months . . .
- 🎾 Le Tennis Club de Chamonix-Mon-Blanc – offers tennis workshops (and SQUASH too!) for 2 to 4 year olds (stages baby tennis), 4 to 6 year olds (stages mini tennis) and for 7 to 17 years olds / duration: 1h to 4h sessions in the morning or afternoon, 5 days a week / booking details to follow;
- 🎾 Tennis Club de Passy / Saint Gervais – website;
- 🎾 Tennis Club Sallanches – there will be stages in July and August / price: 100€ week (mornings only) and 180€ week (full day) / beginners, intermediate, advanced / website;
- 🎾 Stages de Tennis Combloux – the tennis courts in Combloux are next to the Plan d’Eau Biotope / see Combloux Tourisme for more information about summer tennis stages for children;
- 🎾 Stages de Tennis de Jean-Lou Fabbro in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains – in July and August / from 2+ years / tel: 06 38 71 55 43;
- 🎾 Megève (Plaine d’Arly) – Baby Tennis from 3+ years and summer stages and lessons / see pdf document here;
- 🎾 Parc de Loisirs du Pontet in Les Contamines offers tennis workshops over the summer: stage mini-tennis (4 to 7 year olds), 1 hour per day – 69€; stage enfants from 7 years, 1h30 par per day – 129€ / more information;
For information about biking events to watch or take part in en famille, see MBFF article SPORTS EVENTS for families au Pays du Mont-Blanc. . .
The various 🚵♀️ VTT clubs & associations au Pays du Mont-Blanc offer stages over the summer months, often with practice on the pumptracks too / you can check directly with them for what’s on offer:
- CS Chamonix VTT – website and FB page;
- Union Cycliste de Passy – website;
- Vélo Club Mont-Blanc – website and FB;
- Ecole de VTT Alain Julliot – it is also worth checking the private VTT school Ecole de VTT Alain Julliot here;
- MJC Saint-Gervais – various stages on offer for different age groups / website and FB page;
- Alpes Bike – predominantly in Combloux, Cordon and Megève;
- Vélo Club Praz-sur-Arly – website;
- Le Parc de Loisirs du Pontet in Les Contamines-Montjoie – website;
- « Ride n’Bambins » in Place Berthod, Les Saisies – draisienne races for little ones (2 to 5 years) on Wednesdays 16h30 until 17h30 in July and August / see here for more details;
« Après-midi découverte au pumptrack » (Combloux)
Every Monday during the summer holidays at the pumptrack in Combloux , you can borrow equipment (scooters and BMX) from Intersport Combloux / 15h to 17h / FREE!
Do check with the Pays du Mont-Blanc football clubs for ⚽️ summer football stages:
- ⚽️ Chamonix FC – website;
- ⚽️ US Mont-Blanc Passy / Saint-Gervais – FB page;
- ⚽️ ASC Sallanches – two stages on offer in July / see flyer below / website;
- ⚽️ Football Club de Combloux – FB page;
- ⚽️ Football Club de Megève – see website;
MISCELLANEOUS SPORT STAGES & SPORTS ACTIVITIES
SALLANCHES, COMBLOUX & CORDON
Tir à l’Arc (Sallanches) – check Sallanches Tourisme agenda for dates and price;
Stage Biathlon (Combloux) – discover this discipline with a professional / 3 x 1h30 sessions / price: 66 € / when? every Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 15h30 until 17h / reservations: Combloux Tourisme;
Session Raft – water adventures
These white water stages are available from 10+ years / see website for more details / tel: +33 (0) 4 50 93 63 63 / address: 1871 chemin des Peupliers, 74190, Passy;
MEGEVE & PRAZ-sur-ARLY
STAGES de SPORTS at Le Palais in Megève – there are sports stages on offer at Le Palais in Megève over the summer holidays / workshops of 3 to 5 days, for children aged 4+ / 5+ years up to 13 years & teenagers / see online pdf for dates and details / website and tel: 04 50 58 77 58;
inscriptions: from 3rd to 9th June, priority given to réinscriptions from 2018 & 2019 / from 10th June at 17h30, inscriptions open to everyone;
stages for teenagers (13 to 17 years) – see section below;
Le Parc de Loisirs du Pontet is a fabulous activity park in Les Contamines-Montjoie, with plenty of sport and leisure activities on offer, to keep the whole family entertained all day (tennis, biathlon, accrobranches ®, donkey & pony rides, mini-golf, quads, canirando, le parc du chien polaire, golf, climbing, tir à l’arc, a playground, bouncy castles & trampolines, a pedalo lake and a swimming lake!) / and, as well as the daily activities on offer, there are also some stages (tennis, golf) – check website for more details;
Le Musée Alpin (Chamonix)
There are 🎨 creative workshops held at this fabulous museum over the school holidays / programme to come . . .
reservations: (until night before) 04 50 53 25 93;
Médiathèque de Chamonix – ateliers créatifs (Chamonix Valley)
Chamonix médiathèque often offers creative workshops for children 7+ years over the summer holidays . . .
Cat Kartal « Art & Nature » workshops (Argentière)
Cat Kartal is an artist who lives in the Pays du Mont-Blanc and – as well as running an art studio and producing her own work – she runs the fabulous « Art & Nature » workshops for children (6 to 12 year olds) over the summer holidays. This summer, she is offering workshops in July and August from a new location in Argentière (daily or weekly options from 10h15 to 17h15).
The aim of these workshops is to complement a walk in nature with creative activities – the perfect balance! (the children produce sketches in-situ, or back in the studio). My elder son has very much enjoyed his week of « Art & Nature » over the last two summers, and his little brother is keen to join in (and this, despite one stage being during the rainiest week of the summer!) / see website and FB page: Cat Kartal – Art&Nature for more details and dates / NEW for 2019: mornings for 3 to 5 year olds!
inscriptions: from now / see website for more details;
Musée Montagnard (Les Houches)
The Musée Montagnard in Les Houches offers wonderful 🎨 creative workshops and guided visits for families over the school holidays / see FB page for updates;
Atelier Couleurs & Sens (Sallanches)
🎨 Atelier Couleurs & Sens in Sallanches offers workshops for children 6 to 17 years over the holidays / mornings 9h to 12h AND / OR afternoons 13h30 to 16h30 / price: 18€ per day or 11€ for half day / all equipment supplied / possibility to bring own lunch / reservations: 06 13 64 34 47 / address: (new, more spacious location near Satoriz): 732 rue Général de Gaulle, 74700, Sallanches (1st floor of Buzzolini Publicité) / website / HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! – my son loved his time spent learning new techniques with Isabelle over the spring holidays!
« Les Enfants d’Abord » children’s festival (Sallanches) – from 6th to 9th August 2019
Over 4 days, from the 6th to 9th August this year, the quais and the centre of town in Sallanches are dedicated to the fun of children: workshops, games, spectacles! / this festival is really special and a fabulous initiative from Sallanches and all of the shop-owners and volunteers involved, and it has now been running for 24 years! / FREE! / there are workshops galore: creative workshops, nature games, dance & music workshops, circus & magic workshops, science workshops, radio reporter workshps (you can sign up your child to ONE workshop per day) . . . as well as bouncy castles, adventure games, wooden games and shows each evening / the fun is from 15h30 to 18h30 each day / HIGHLY recommended by MBFF! / programme to come;
Ateliers Temps de Pigments (Sallanches)
Lydie’s Cake– cupcake-making workshops in Sallanches
🧁 Lydie’s Cake, a patisserie and cupcake shop in Sallanches, offers cupcake-making workshops for children over the holidays / see website or FB page for more details / reservations: 07 85 12 87 90 / address: avenue de Genève, 74700, Sallanches / nearest car parks: rue de Montagny or rue Chenal;
summer workshops: to come . . .
Galerie et Atelier de Miage (Saint-Gervais-les-Bains)
Sandrine offers 🏺 pottery classes to children (4+ years with accompanying adult) and adults (there is an inter-generational approach at her gallery, which I find inspiring) / you can sign up for single lessons during the summer holidays / FB page for more details and prices / to email Sandrine: firstname.lastname@example.org;
« Les p’tits curieux » workshops (Saint-Gervais-les-Bains)
To make the exploration of cultural sites in Saint-Gervais & environs more fun and interactive for families (for visits to the Maison Forte de Hautetour and the Musée d’Art Sacrée in Saint-Nicolas de Véroce), ask for a games booklet at the tourist office. And, in addition, over the summer holidays there are also creative workshops on offer at different cultural sites: « Ateliers des p’tits curieux »: street art, guided tours, sculpture, engraving and more . . . / price: 3€50 / programme to come;
Le Chalet des Créateurs (Saint-Gervais-les-Bains)
Le Chalet des Createurs in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains often offers workshops for children over the summer holidays / see FB page or website for updates / see here for MBFF post about this creative hub for local talent! / address: 900 route de Megève, Lieu- dit Le Robinson, 900 Route de Megève, Lieu- dit Le Robinson, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains / tel: 04 50 91 46 69 or
06 02 33 11 75;
Le Palais in Megève
Le Palais in Megève has a detailed programme for children’s workshops (4+ / 5+ years up 13 years) over the summer months / duration: workshops of 3 to 5 days / creative & sports activites / see online pdf for dates, prices and more details here;
inscriptions: from 4th to 10th June, priority given to réinscriptions from 2018/2019 / from 11th June at 17h30, inscriptions open to everyone;
NB – for sports options, see section above;
We are lucky, 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, to have some superb museums, many offering guided visits and workshops for children and families . . . and then, further afield, are many more options too . . .
🏔 🖼 Musée Alpin (Chamonix) 🖼 🏔
The wonderful 🏔 Musée Alpin in Chamonix has some 🎨 creative activities, workshops and guided visits planned for children and families over the summer holidays / see full programme here (no flyer yet)
🗻 Espace Tairraz – Musée des Cristaux et de l’Alpinisme (Chamonix) 🗻
There are guided visits organised during the holidays: 💎 « à la découverte du monde minéral » at this super museum in Chamonix / when? Thursdays at 14h30 / guided visits with a member of the Club de Minéralogie de Chamonix, du Mont-Blanc et des Alpes du Nord / free for under 18s / more information here / address: Musée des Cristaux – Espace Tairraz, Parvis du parking Saint-Michel, 615 allée du Recteur Payot, 74400, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc;
🏔🖼 Le Musée Montagnard (Les Houches) 🖼🏔
This lovely little museum in the centre of Les Houches, offers some fabulous workshops for children and families over the school holidays / check FB page for more information / price: 4€ / reservations: 04 50 54 54 74 / address: Musée Montagnard, 2 place de l’Eglise, 74310, Les Houches / programme to come;
Maison Forte de Hautetour (Saint-Gervais-les-Bains) and Musée d’Art Sacrée (Saint-Nicolas de Véroce)
Exhibitions, guided visits and workshops over the holidays . . . programme to come . . .
🕰 Musée de l’Horlogerie et du Décolletage (Cluses) 🕰
This museum, dedicated to the history of clock and watch-making and décolletage in the valley, will be open every day over the spring holidays, from 14h until 18h / 🖼 for family visits, see here / see events and workshops here / website / address: Espace Carpano & Pons, 100 Place du 11 Novembre, 74300, Cluses ;
🏰 Château d’Annecy (Annecy) 🏰
At this wonderful castle in Annecy, there will be family visits over the summer holidays / there are often workshops for children, so do check the website for more details / more information & reservations: here;
🇨🇭🖼 Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (MAH,Geneva) 🖼🇨🇭
A Wednesday guided visit, « Mercredi Family: Faces à Face » on Wednesday 17th April / for children 6 to 10 years, with an adult / FREE and no reservations necessary / see museum website AGENDA for more details / address: rue Charles-Galland 2, 1206, Geneva;
🇨🇭🐧 Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle (MHN, Geneva) 🐧🇨🇭
This is a FABULOUS museum for little ones, and there is the new temporary exhitition « Prédations » (FREE on first Sunday of the month).
Somewhere in-between a 🖼🏺 MUSEUM and a 🎨 CREATIVE CENTRE, a whole new breed of INTERACTIVE MUSEUM has taken off in recent years, where children can explore, understand and then create through doing . . . here are some suggestions not too far from the Pays du Mont-Blanc:
🏔 L’ECOMUSEE PAYSALP – Musée Paysan (Viuz-en-Sallaz) & 🧀 Croq’Alp (La Fruitière de Mieussy) 🏔
🇫🇷 La Turbine (Cran-Gévrier, near Annecy) 🇫🇷
Le Centre de Culture Scientifique Technique et Industrielle de Haute-Savoie is an innovative pedagogic centre equipped for families to learn about science in an interactive way / opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday, 14h to 18h / FREE entry on first SUNDAY of month! / address: La Turbine, place Chorus, Cran-Gevrier, 74960, Annecy / tel: 04 50 08 17 00 / website;
- 🕰 « Tic Tac Temps » – learning about the importance of time and the passing of time in our environment / for children 3 to 6 years;
- 🕰 « CLOCK: les horloges du vivant » – Does a sunflower really follow the sun? Why do we sleep? A koala sleeps 20h per day; is it lazy or is this a necessity? How fast do the wings of a hummingbird flap? – an exhibition looking at time in relation to animals, humans, plants, clocks and sleep / for children 8+ years;
🇨🇭 Exploracentre (Geneva) 🇩🇰
A new interactive exhibition space in Plainpalais (Geneva), where the only rule is that it is “ FORBIDDEN to NOT TOUCH ” ! / for the whole family, to learn about the world, science, how things function . . . / website / address: rue des Bains 33, 1205, Geneva (Plainpalais district) / tel: +22 570 09 37;
- 🎪 « La Science fait son Cirque » – learning about the science behind certain circus acts;
- « Illusions d’Optique » – optical illusions;
➡️ for more ideas for MUSEUM & EXHIBITION visits, see MBFF article Museums & Exhibitions au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond) . . .
Musée Alpin (Chamonix)
The Musée Alpin offers a handful of guided visits for families during the summer holidays, included in the museum entrance price . . . for example:
- family animation at the museum and in the streets of Chamonix: Balmat, Whymper, Vallot and other heroes / when? 26th July and 9th August 10h to 12h;
Guided visit Vallorcine Xavier, Guide du Patrimoine Savoie Mont Blanc – learn about the history of Vallorcine: culture, history, architecture . . .
Lorenzio granite-maker (Combloux)
Guided Visit: « Dans les pas des guides » (La Maison Forte de Hautetour, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains)
A guided visit for families, to discover the history of the profession of mountain guiding and the first mountain ascents / learn how to do a figure of 8 knot and to draw a mountain with your eyes shut! / Friday 20th July & Tuesday 7th August / price: 3,50€;
Guided visits & Jeu de Piste in the Cité Médiévale of La Roche-sur-Foron
The ancient capital of the Comté de Genève in the XIth and XIIth centuries, 1000 years of history in this medieval cité! / discover the cobbled streets and doorways of the historic area, with noble houses from the XVI and XVII centrury / and, for children, jeu de piste! / night-time visits too! / see La Roche-sur-Foron Tourisme for more information;
Stages Piano Megève
Little STEMcells (Chamonix)
A superb initiative in Chamonix, set up by Cassie, to stimulate your children’s brain cells with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), in a fun and interactive way! / the summer workshop schedule and programme is already in place (these scientists are organised folk!) – 12 workshops this summer (see flyers below) / for children 5 to 11 years (GS and up) / from 10h to 16h (bring packed lunch) / price: 40€ per child for each session / NB – all workshops will be run in English (for the time being) / maximum 10 children per workshop (supervised by 2 to 3 adults);
July – 9th, 10th and 11th July with Lise-Anne / 23rd, 24th and 25th with Cassie;
August – 6th, 7th and 8th August with Lise-Anne / 12th, 13th and 14th August with Cassie;
NEW Dates – August 20, 21 & 22nd (ages 5-11 years);
🇨🇭⚙️ Musée d’Histoire des Sciences (Geneva) ⚙️🇨🇭
No workshops here over the holidays, but the temporary exhibition ⚙️ « Roulez les mécaniques » ⚙️ is still running (until September) / more information / parcours découverte for museum / good to know: visit the Parc de la Perle and ask for the maps of the parcours d’orientation at reception (see here) . . . and take the opportunity to visit the lovely Botanical Gardens opposite! / address: Parc de la Perle du Lac, 128 rue de Lausanne /
BlaBla Kids (La Petite Université Chamonix)
Pour les enfants de 6 à 12 ans, 15 juillet au 2 aôut / cours d’anglais le matin, suivi par une activité l’après-midi (escalade, sculpture bois, etc . . . ) / tarifs: 230€ / http://lapetiteuniversite.net/anglais-enfants.html
pour les 6-8 ans : semaine du 22 au 26 juillet
pour les 9-10 ans : semaine du 15 au 19 juillet
pour les 11-12 ans : semaine du 29 juillet au 2 août
RécréAnglais (Vallorcine) – in Vallorcine over the holidays, Stages RécréAnglais with Mandy (children 3 to 11 years) . . .
Jeunes Diplomates Megève
There are so many family events and festivals over the summer months 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond) . . . 🎆 fireworks for 14 juillet, Festival Les Enfants d’Abord (Sallanches) from 6th to 9th August, Les Médiévales de Praz-sur-Arly on 4th & 5th August, Au Bonheur des Mômes just before the Rentrée . . .
Look out for programmes from each commune! Here are a few to start you off:
Les F’estivales de Sallanches
Praz-sur-Arly’s « Les Grands Rendez-Vous de l’Eté »
Over the summer holidays, there is:
- 🎥 Wednesday’s Cinébus Les Houches – 17h for children’s film / Cinébus programme / address: Espace Animation, 27 place de la Mairie, 74310, Les Houches;
- 🎥 and plenty of films on offer at the cinemas the Vox (Chamonix), the Ciné Mont-Blanc (Sallanches), Panoramic (Megève);
- 🎥 Cinéma de Plateau d’Assy (Mondays);
Summertime = FREE open-air cinemas & opera au Pays du Mont-Blanc!
And summer films on release for children and families at our local cinemas . . . « Toy Story 4 »; « The Lion King »; « Comme des Betes 2 »; «Hotel Transylvanie 3»; « Spider Man: far from home »; «Bécassine»; « Ugly Dolls »; « Dora et la Cité Perdue » and more . . .;
Over the summer months, there is a great selection of FREE music, theatre and storytelling aimed at children throughout the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc . . . / check individual Tourist Office websites and MBFF FB Page . . .
Le Palais (Megève)
Special stages for teenagers . . .
Les Séjours Tranfrontaliers
Hike between 🇨🇭 Switzerland, 🇮🇹 Italy and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, with other youngsters . . . / price: 150€ / contact: email@example.com (pré-inscription, sélection des dossiers, inscriptions définitives… et tous les détails techniques):
- Séjour 1 : du 14 au 18 juillet – de Beaufort (FR) à Courmayeur (IT);
- Séjour 2 : du 21 au 25 juillet – d’Emosson (CH) à Martigny (CH);
- Séjour 3 : du 28 juillet au 1er août – de Trient (CH) à Chamonix (FR);
- Séjour 4 : du 4 au 8 août – de Saint Rhémy en Bosses (IT) à Courmayeur (IT);
You might be interested in sending off your children to the French institution of a colonie de vacances . . . I have not yet done this, but several of my French friends have . . .
Les colonies de vacances have been part of France’s social fabric for nearly 150 years now. Originally associated with the Protestant church (and the IIIrd Republic) – and aimed at removing children living in urban difficulty, and sending them for a bucolic respite to the countrysie, mountains or seaside – these days colonies de vacances are both secular or religion-based, and vary in length and cost, with different themed-options.
a little history: les colonies de vacances in France were created in 1880, and since then 60 million French children have taken part in them. They actually first appeared in neighbouring Switzerland in the 1870s, when a pastor – Wilhelm Bion – placed 68 children from Zürich with mountain-dwelling families for 3 weeks. These Ferien-Kolonien then spread into neighbouring countries, and were also largely led by benevolant Protestants, with the aim of extracting children from the poverty and squalor of their urban industrial life (where diseases like tuberculosis and rickets were rife) and to send them to the fresh air of the countryside, the mountains, the seaside; Edmond Cottinet (“father of the colonies de vacances in France”) did the same for the colonies de vacances in France that Wilhelm Bion had done for the Ferien-Kolonien in Switzerland. Where the colonies de vacances differed in France from neighbouring Switzerland, was that in France the children were sent together to centres, managed by a specialist, while in Switzerland the children were dispersed amongst country folk. The aim in France was hence to live together and yet to also learn autonomy (these are still visions of the colonies de vacances in modern times!); the ideals of fraternité learned could then be dispersed into wider society, an especially important ideal after two world wars, when it was felt imperative to strengthen links between citizens. The Républicains of the Troisième République had already established free, secular and compulsory schooling, with Les Lois Ferry; the dual purpose of these lois – to disentangle young French people from the grip of the Catholic church and to convert them to republican ideals, distancing them from monarchical ideals, and to create young individuals who could protect la patrie (the defeat of France against Prussia in 1870 was still very raw in the conscience of the French); les colonies de vacances served to deepen this influence. By the time of the Front Populaire‘s short, but significant, time at the helm of French politics, les colonies de vacances had grown so much that 220 000 children had taken part; it was decided in 1938 to instate rules.
colonies de vacances in numbers: 100 000 children in 1913; 400 000 in 1948, 1 million in 1955 . . .
l’âge d’or des colos – the number of children partaking in colonies de vacances continued to grow after WW2, and their « âge d’or » came with help from the state in the 50s and 60s . . . and then, from the 1990s, numbers saw a sharp decline and they have halved in the last 20 years. what are the reasons for this? – longer congés payés, mass consumption, individualism, less infrastructure, cheaper holidays for families, price rises . . these days, there are fewer colonies de vacances available for those in need, and more thematic colonies available for those with adequate means.
- internet article in Le Figaro: « L’âge d’or des colonies de vacances » (by
- article on website of Colonie de Vacances Eva Soleil: « Les colonies de vacances : une chambre d’écho de l’Histoire de France » / here;
- « Histoire des Colonies de Vacances » by Laura Lee Downs Perrin, p433;