The 💦 Lac des Chavants in Les Houches is a relaxating destination for families throughout the year (note -please note that 💦 Lac des Chavants is NOT a swimming lake!)
These days, the lake is referred to as a Base de Loisirs, as there are so many activities available there: you can 🎣 fish (with a permit) and you will find: 🍏 picnic tables and BBQ facilities, 🌲 walking paths through the woods (suitable for buggies and bikes) & a parcours orientation, a playground & climbing net, 🎾 tennis courts, 🧗♂️ a fabulous rock climbing area, pétanque, ☕️ La Guinguette café & restaurant (and cross-country skiing and 🛷 sledging in wintertime).
There is even 💦 a little jet d’eau that shoots up from the lake . . . and an old telephone box used now as 📚 a book exchange (you’ll find mainly French and English books).
There is a lovely little playground here with a climbing frame, and there is also a spider web climbing net.
There is a ☕️ lovely café called La Guinguette, right by the water’s edge. It is well-equipped for children, with high-chairs and some toys available. It is 🗓 open from the end of May to the end of September, 11h to 21h (shut on Mondays), and in ☀️ summertime, you will often find 🎵 concerts and special events happening here. In ❄️ winter it is open from December until April, ⏰ 11h to 19h, every day.
Picnic tables and BBQs
There are at least 🍏 a dozen picnic tables dotted around 💦 Lac des Chavants, and I even spotted one in the forest on my walk . . . you’ll find some in the sun, some in the shade and some sol y sombra, depending on the time of day! There are also a couple of BBQ sites, and plenty of green grass to put your picnic blanket!
Climbing at Les Chavants
There are 🧗♀️ 10 climbing routes on this slab of rock, ranging from 3 to 6A. The access is FREE and the site is 🗓 open from April until December. It is a superb spot to climb on ☀️ hot summer’s days, as the rock remains in the shade in the morning.
From 🗓 mid-June to mid-September, you can 🎣 fish at Lac des Chavants, every day (except Monday) from 9h to 12h and from 14h to 19h / licence required.
💦 Lac des Chavants is also the perfect place to come to watch the 🦆 ducks (note: remember that bread is not good for ducks; it fills their tummies quickly, and then they think they are full and yet haven’t got the proper nutrients that they need!) or to look for 🐟 fish and 🐸 tadpoles (season dependent!).
Walking & Biking
💦 Lac des Chavants is the perfect little loop for small children on foot, or with push-bikes or pedal bikes (just be careful that they stay away from the water’s edge!).
And you can head into 🌲 the forest for a longer walk, to make a cabane or to seek some shade. The 🐎 Chemin des Diligences (the old horse-drawn carriage route, which extended to Martigny) heads towards Servoz, where you can get to the forest and the ruins of the 🏰 old 14th century castle of Saint-Michel easily by bike or on foot. In summer the woods will provide you with some cool relief, with 💦🚵♂️ streams running through, and in 🍁 autumn you’ll have the beautiful colours!
I noticed on my last visit that some youngsters had put in place in the woods, 🚵♂️ some bumps for VTT bike fun!
There is also 🌲 a sentier botanique that heads up the path behind the climbing rock . . . this short hike is not really advertised anymore, but it is fun to do with children (note: children MUST be accompanied, as beyond the wooden barriers are the climbing rocks, and a sheer drop!), as there are some explanatory pannels and you’ll hike through myrtilles bushes. You’ll eventually come to a covered picnic table, located on a rock, and you’ll notice that this seems to be a popular destination for young adults (be careful, as there are pieces of glass beer bottles). You’ll get super views down over the 💦 Lac des Chavants from up here!
Orienteering course (Parcours d’Orientation)
There are 18 different points (balises) to find on the 🗺 « Parcours d’Orientation » at 💦 Lac des Chavants. See here for more details, download a pdf copy or pick up a copy of the fiche from your Tourist Office in Les Houches (there are several other orienteering courses in the Chamonix Valley; see here).
MBFF had a lot of fun doing 🗺 this parcours orientation in autumn – the colours and the light were just wonderful! To read about MBFF’s experience on this parcours d’orientation (we LOVED it!), see here.
There are 🎾 six tennis courts available and you can rent these out by the hour . . . in the summer, there are lessons and stages for children from 4 years.
Children’s leisure club
During the school holidays, 🌈 the leisure club at Lac des Chavants accepts children from 18 months to 11 years in the winter, and in the summer from 3 to 5 years. Thanks to the large exterior area, games and workshops take place both indoors and outdoors. See the Tourist Office for information and forms to fill out to sign-up.
address: Club Enfants des Chavants, allée des Diligences, 74310, Les Houches;
In the summertime, there are 🎵 special concerts at La Guinguette, 🎆 fireworks as part of FestiVallée, and entertainment for children . . .
Here are some of the activities this summer 2020: weekly treasure hunt, après-midi jeux, golf, concert . . .
ESF Piou Piou ski club & sledging
In ❄️ wintertime, the lakeside area becomes home to the ESF Piou Piou club for tiny skiiers, and there is a 🛷 sledging area nearby. The sledging is 🗓 open from December to March (depending on snow conditions), and there are two sledging areas available: the Petite Tortue for 2-6 year olds and the Petit Lièvre for 6+ year olds. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and it is recommended that they wear helmets. Ski boots are NOT allowed in this zone.
Cross-country skiing & snow-shoeing
Depending on ❄️ snow conditions, the cross-country skiing route is 🗓 open from December until March. There are two loops of about 3km, which head around the lake and into the forest;
address: Le Lac des Chavants, 148 allée des Dilligences, Les Chavants, 74310, Les Houches website: for more details see here
🚙 parking: lots of FREE parking on-site (very busy during the winter season as skiers using 🚡 Prarion lift fill it quickly!);