Our 🥗 local restaurants and cafés are beginning to tentatively re-open to the public after a three month closure, with socially distanced tables and other modifications. Restaurants with terraces are therefore a particularly attractive option for people to head to, who want to eat out again, but are less keen to be seated indoors.
I have put together the first of TWO articles, this one detailing some 🥗 Chamonix Valley restaurants & cafés with terraces, that are particularly suitable for families with little ones. By this I mean that they either have 🌈 a play area for children, a grassy area for games, have suitable children’s menus and are NOT located next to main roads (unless there is a secured area). The follow-up article will concentrate on the 🥗 Pays du Mont-Blanc restaurants with terraces!
[ note: please note that I am not listing these spots based on the exceptional quality of their food; it is the ensemble of what they are offering families! Of course, there are plenty more restaurants with great food, terraces and beer gardens, but perhaps less suited for family relaxtion . . . if I have forgotten some gems from this list, then please do let me know! In addition, for now, I have NOT specifically included mountain buvettes; these will feature in another article! ]
Remember, also, that food trucks are often located in bucolic spots over the summer months – see MBFF article FOOD TRUCKS & FOOD HUTS au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond) for more information.
Chamonix, Les Praz & Les Bois
Le (Swiss Family) Robinson (Bois du Bouchet, Chamonix)
Le Robinson appears to have changed hands again for this ☀️ summer season, and it is now up and running! This restaurant has a lovely location in 🌲 the Bois du Bouchet and offers: a covered outdoor terrace, a playground for children, a treehouse, pétanque, volley ball and other games.
address: 309 promenades des Crèmeries, 74400, Chamonix / tel: 09 50 87 37 46 / FB page;
La Crèmerie la Montagne (Bois du Bouchet, Chamonix)
This restaurant, also located in the 🌲 Bois du Bouchet, has some individual tables with curtained shade, lounge chairs and plenty of green, green grass!
address: 789 promenade des Crèmeries, 74400, Chamonix / tel: 06 18 03 79 36 / FB page;
Le Paradis des Praz (Les Praz de Chamonix)
For more information about this bucolic spot 🏞 in the woods, next to a gurgling stream and 🌈 playground, see separate MBFF article here / you can picnic here, as long as you buy 🥤 drinks from the buvette, and there are plenty of treats at the buvette!
address: in the forest between Les Praz and Tines (access from either end) / tel: 06 63 10 42 38; FB page;
La Prairie (Les Bois)
A friend celebrated her birthday here many years ago, and it was the perfect spot to lay out my yak rug for my little then 18 month old (I’m melting just looking back at this pic of Mr 9 contentedly with doudou in hand and chatting to the dog!). A peaceful family hotel, located under ⛰ the Aiguilles des Drus and the Aiguille Verte, and with views of 🏔 Mont-Blanc . . . this guest house and café was built in the early 20th century by Henri Claret-Tournier, a high mountain guide with 99 ascents of Mont-Blanc to his name! As tourists began to frequent the valley, he took the « monchus » up the mountain, while his wife Aline and her daugher Perlina tended to their stomachs! La Prairie was passed down through the family, and has been modernised over the years;
Le Jardin du Goûter (Hotel Oustalet, Chamonix)
🍰 Le Jardin du Gouter is a tea room which is lovely in both winter and summer. In winter, there is a cosy indoor area, and in summer there is a green lawn outside (be careful with small children next to the pool) . . . 🍰 the cakes are DELICIOUS!
La Folie Douce (Chamonix centre)
La Folie Douce settled into the old Hotel Savoie, and made a hotel complex well thought-out and alluring for families: several restaurants on-site, with food huts on a large terrace . . . there are also plenty of activities for youngsters on-site: beach volleyball, trampolines and slackline, a climbing wall and small accrobranche, pétanque and Mölkky, and some chill-out spaces . . . For guests, there is 🌈 Le Kids’ Palace, which takes care of children 4 to 12 years, with plenty of great nature and sports activities. See restaurants here and activities here;
Chalet Hôtel Hermitage (Chamonix)
The Chalet Hôtel Hermitage has been run by the same family since 1920, and – as well as the cosy hotel – it has a gorgeous 🍰salon de thé for cake and a jardin alpin de relaxation (open until 20h), that are open to non-hotel guests for ☕️🥤 drinks (a great secret!). / 🌺 ” Le Jardin Alpin du Chalet Hôtel Hermitage à Chamonix est un hommage aux joyaux de la Nature basé sur les énergies essentielles : l’air, l’eau cristalline, les plantes, l’attraction naturelle des montagnes. ” / you’ll find 🌿 medicinal and aromatic plants in the garden and comfortable seating.
Les Gaillands & Les Bossons
La Crèmerie des Aiguilles (Les Gaillands)
This little crèmerie has a new secure play area for little ones! You are also right next to 💦 Lac des Gaillands and 🌳 the woods, for some strolls . . .
Buvette des Gaillands (Les Gaillands)
Located between the little lake and 🧗♂️ the rock-climbing, this is a great location for lunch, a crêpe or a snack . . .
Hôtel Aiguille du Midi (Les Bossons)
The Hôtel Aiguille du Midi is a lovely and friendly family run hotel and restaurant, and it has been in the same family for 112 years (1908 – 2020)! An old country house became a hotel in the early 20th century. The restaurant has a gorgeous terrace, surrounded by green lawn and plants, and superb views of the surrounding mountains. It is so relaxing here; I sometimes used to stop for a refreshing drink while out on a buggy stroll! / read more about MBFF’s experience here;
La Guinguette (Lac des Chavants)
☕️ La Guinguette is a lovely café, a wooden structure located right by the water’s edge of the 💦 Lac des Chavants . . . it is well-equipped for children, with high-chairs and toys available. There are plenty of activities at this small lake and in ☀️ summertime, you will often find 🎵 concerts and special events happening here; see MBFF article here;
address: 180 allée des Diligences, Les Houches / tel: 04 50 91 23 50; FB page;
Le Rocky Pop Hotel (Les Houches)
Chamonix Valley residents are generally familiar with this quirky new(ish) hotel in Les Houches! Met at the door by R2D2 and CP3O, you hand your kids over to these Star Wars stalwart babysitters as you enter the hotel and restaurant, and then collect your kids at the end of the evening, as you go home . . . only kidding (if only!). I’m not far from the truth here, though, as there are so many activities for kids, that you can quite easily chat to your adult friends while they play (until one of them falls off the climbing frame, that is). Activities on offer: 🌈 playground, babyfoot, pétanque, 🎮 computer games . . . once, there was even a dance class put on for kids. Did my boys want to do this? Nope. Did they pester us all evening? Yep.
The food is family-friendly: burgers, pizzas and some great vegetarian options too!
Kitschinn (Les Houches)
address: 77 place de la Fruitière, Les Houches (by Télécabine du Bellevue) / tel: 04 50 34 41 74 / FB page and website;
Le Solerey Brewpub (Les Houches)
Le Solerey is Les Houches’ fist brewpub, and 1,5 years of hard toil went into bringing a derelict building back to life. You’ll find here: 🍺 beers, smoked meats, plentiful terraced seating and lawn next door for children to play! / 🎼 plentiful concerts too!
address: 81 avenue des Alpages, Les Houches / tel: 04 56 37 46 85 / FB page;
Le Balcon de Merlet (Parc Animalier de Merlet, Les Houches)
What a beautiful terrace this is, with absolutely superb views of 🏔 Mont-Blanc, from an altitude of 1500m! And, afterwards (or before, depending on your timetable), you can visit 🦌 the animal park . . . / highly recommended to book in advance! / MBFF article about the Parc Merlet;
Restaurant La Cha (Les Houches)
Run by Céline and Vincent, this lovely restaurant at altitude (1720m) is located a short 20mins walk from the arrival station of 🚡Télécabine du Prarion! / NEW for 2020: pétanque!
address: 1 route du Prarion, Les Houches / tel: 04 50 54 30 45 / FB page;
La Tanière (Les Houches-Saint-Gervais)
La Tanière opened to the public in 1990, and since then it has become famous for its 🇦🇷 famous Argentinian 🥩 asados and other Argentinian specialities: chimichurri sauce and 🍷Malbec wine too! (see menu here) / ” Louisa is an Argentinian who fell in love with the mountains, and has lived in France for more than 25 years. She receives you with home-made food from family recipes and smiling friendly service. She even brings fresh supplies by quad bike with a huge sledge, in all sorts of climate conditions! ” / open during the summer and winter seasons! / a rustic farmhouse, La Tanière has a lovely summer terrace / in winter, for skiers, it is located off the red piste Plan du Crêt (near Plancerts drag-lift) / website;
[ note: you must reserve! ]
getting there from Les Houches: you can take the 🚡 Télecabine du Prarion, and walk down (1h) or you can walk up from Les Houches to Col de la Forclaz, and then down to La Tanière.
getting there from Saint-Gervais: you can walk from 🅿️ the Parking des Toilles (approximately 30 minutes) / you can also come with the 🚞 Tramway du Mont-Blanc, to the station of Motivon, and then hike to La Tanière (about 30-40 minutes walk in the woods);
address: 2540 route du Prarion, 74170, Saint Gervais / tel: 33 (0)4 50 93 42 57 or +33 6 83 42 93 43;
La Crèmerie du Glacier (La Moraine d’Argentière)
🥤 La Crèmerie du Glacier is a historic buvette located in the Moraine d’Argentière . . . The easiest access to the 🥤 La Crèmerie du Glacier is up the 4×4 road that leads to 🚁 the Hélicoptères de Chamonix from 🅿️ the Grands Montets car park, but there are also lots of lovely walks that you can do in 🌳 the nearby forest. You are also near the 🐸 mare aux têtards & 🌈 playground in the woods and there is a fabulous parcours orientation to do nearby.
a little history – in 1926, Georges Ravanel was carving ❄️ ice from the Glacier d’Argentière, and then transporting it to sell on to hotels and restaurants in the valley. . . he decided to build 🏚 a little hut, which became a place for thirsty and hungry hikers to stop . . . the “little hut” grew and was passed down through the family, the menu was expanded and it began to open in wintertime too, and now it serves an extensive menu: 🥤 lemonade, 🧀 croutes, 🥧 homemade tarte . . .
address: 766 chemin de la Glacière, 74400, Argentière / tel: +33 (0) 4 50 54 07 52; FB page and website / Google Maps;
Le Bœrne (Tréléchamp)
La Bœrne is a rustic gîte located in the pretty hamlet of Tréléchamps (meaning “across the fields“), just under the Col des Montets. It is built on ⛰ the rocher des Piz, which is a natural protection from avalanches. La Bœrne was built in the 18th century, and is an 🏚 old chalet d’alpage. La Boerne refers to the old chimney used for smoking meat (you can see this on the first floor). As well as its guesthouse, there is a lovely terrace here. Tréléchamps is also well-known for its moaïs, wooden statues created from storm wood by Reynès Laurent.
address: 288 chemin de Tréléchamps, 74400, Tréléchamps, Argentière / tel: 04 50 54 05 14; FB page and website;
Les Écuries de Charamillon (Le Tour-Balme)
A 🚡 bubble ride and short walk will bring you to the Ecuries de Charamillon – a gîte in the summertime and a restaurant on the pistes during the winter season. Les Ecuries de Charamillon, located in 🐄 a still functioning alpage, were old stables where cheese was made from the Hérens cows.
L’Alpage de Balme (Alpage du Tour)
You can have lunch in the middle of 🌼 the mountain pastures of Le Tour at these wooden chalets, come summer or winter season . . . regional specialities ar on offer, and you can admire the surrounding peaks: 🏔 le massif du Mont-Blanc, 🏔 Le Chardonnet and ❄️ Le Glacier du Tour;
[ note: you are well advised to book here ]
🚡 getting there: a short 30 minute walk from the 🚡 Télécabine du Charamillon or 20 mins 🚡 Télécabine de Vallorcine (FREE parking at departure stations of both);
🗓 opening dates: summer seasonand winter ski season;
address: Domaine de Balme, Le Tour / tel: 06 83 33 86 61 / FB page ;
Le Café Comptoir (Vallorcine)
Le Café Comptoir is such a lovely restaurant, with a terrace that opens out onto a quiet spot in the summertime . . . great food, beautiful déco, highly recommended – here, you really do get fabulous food and a terrace! Last autumn, my then 5 year old and I had a date here, and it was just perfect!
La Ferme des 3 Ours (Vallorcine)
Nestled in 🏞 a small green valley, next to 💦 the Eaux Noires stream, La Ferme des 3 Ours is run by Nadia and Bruno and their team. The building is a cosy wooden affair and there is lots of lovely green space outdoors / address: Restaurant La Ferme des 3 Ours, 74660, Vallorcine / tel: +33 4 50 54 63 06 / FB page and website;
Résidence & Spa Vallorcine Mont-Blanc (Vallorcine)
MBFF had a lovely stay at this residence one weekend last autumn . . . we enjoyed a spot of ⛳️ mini-golf, and you can rent out the equipment if you sit and have 🥤 a drink on the terrace! / 🌈 small playground and 🏀 city stade nearby!
address: 44 route des confins du Valais, 74660, Vallorcine / tel: 04 50 54 63 06; FB page and website;
Hôtel et Restaurant Le Buet (Le Buet)
The Hôtel du Buet has been in the hands of the same family – la Famille Chamel – for 130 years, since 1889! Superb location near 🚉 the Gare du Buet, various hikes leave from here: 💦 la Cascade de Bérard and 🏞 the Vallon de Bérard, ⛰ Mont Buet . . .
[ note: the garden is by the main road, but if you sit further back on the lawn, then you can keep children away from road ]
Buvette du Pont Maria (Vallorcine)
address: Pont Maria, D1506 (1Km de la frontière Suisse), Vallorcine; tel: 07 82 15 92 73 / FB page;
🇨🇭 Trient (Switzerland) 🇨🇭
Just across the border from Vallorcine, you’ll find a couple of great options for lounging in 🇨🇭 Trient Switzerland . . . . . . the perfect stop after a hike along the 💦 Bisse du Trient or 💦 Les Gorges Mystérieuses de la Tête Noire!
La Yourte des Amis & Refuge Le Peuty (Trient)
Regional cuisine, and homemade drinks, at La Yourte des Amis, which is located on the le Tour du Mont-Blanc trail! / 🌿 lots of green, green grass for lounging and playing / and NEW for 2020 – you can spend a night in ⛺️ the Mongolian yurt!
La Grande Ourse (Trient)
They say it themselves, no hotel star, no gastronomic cuisine . . . BUT a friendly, family welcome, 🌿 lots of green, green grass for lounging and playing, 🌈 a playground and🍦 Italian ice cream . . . and a view of ⛪️ Trient’s pink church and ❄️ the Glacier du Trient.