Family Fun au Pays du Mont Blanc: adventures & culture for families and children in Chamonix, Les Houches, Argentière, Servoz, Vallorcine, Passy, Plaine Joux, Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon, Domancy, St Gervais, Le Fayet, Les Contamines, Megève, Praz-sur-Arly and beyond
You may well have spotted these two bridges – the 🌁 Ponts de la Caille – from the motorway (A41 Annecy-Genève) on a trip to 💦 Lac d’Annecy from the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc? Have you ever come off the motorway to explore? MBFF certainly has – my curious nature would never leave such incredible looking bridges unexplored!
The 🌁 Ponts de la Caille are two bridges – located side by side – and they cross the 💦Torrent des Usses, at a height of 147m.
The first bridge, the 🌁 Pont Charles-Albert, is a suspension bridge – the first in Europe! The idea for this suspension bridge, for people to cross the 💦Torrent des Usses, was approved in 1834 by the Roi Charles-Albert (Duc de Savoie, and the bridge was hence named after him. It was inaugurated on the 11th July 1839.
Monument Historique:the bridge has been on this list since 25 sites touristiques emblématiques de la Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes;
A second concrete bridge, the 🌉 Pont Caquot (232m long) was added right next to the 🌁 Pont Charles-Albert, and opened in 1929. This second, more modern bridge, was first called the Pont Neuf, and built between 1924 and 1928 under the eye of engineer Albert Caquot. Its deck is supported by an unreinforced concrete arch and, when it was built, it was one of the largest vaults in the world! Initially this second bridge was supposed to house a railway line between Annecy and Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, but this plan was abandoned and it opened instead as a vehicle bridge.
After crossing the 🌁 Pont Charles-Albert, you’ll find a viewing platform. Here, you’ll get great views of 🏞 the gorge below and up close and personal with the underside of the bridge!
Activities around the Ponts de la Caille
🗺 jeu de piste – (note:this is suspendu in 2021) a great way for children to have some extra fun while exploring these superb bridges and the surrounding countryside: they will set off on an adventure to help young Thomas find his dogLupo! Along the way, they’ll need to unscramble 🔍 the clues / see here for more information / you can pick up a copy of the jeu de piste at the Alter’Alpa Tourisme office located next to the bridge (price: 1€);
📱 geocaching® – there are some NEW geocaching® options / see here;
🏞 parcours d’interprétation & hikes – see here / you can hike from the 🌉 Ponts de la Caille to 💦 the Torrent des Usses, passing by the 💦 old bains de la Caille and their sulphurous source! / see here for more information, or pick up 🗺 maps from the tourist office;
There are sometimes 🎇 night-time events at the bridge – check FB page for updates!
Practical Information and MAP
FREE to visit!
🅿️ parking:FREE parking on-site!
ℹ️ Alter’Alpa Tourist Office by the bridge, with lots of helpful information and maps! / website;
address:140 place du Pont de la Caille, 74350, Cruseilles;
There are lots of nearby attractions and activities, and so you can combine a visit to the 🌁 Site des Pont de la Caillewith a visit to:
🐓La Ferme de Chosal (Copponex) – an absolutely FABULOUS pedagogic farm, with animals, green-houses, land-art walk (Sentier Art et Nature), a NEW barefoot walk, workshops, an ethical & social spirit . . . seedlings and plants to buy / see websitefor more details / opening hours: every day;
address:98 route de l’Usine, Chosal, 74350, Copponex;
🌈 Le Grand Parc d’Andilly (Les Grandes Médiévales, Le TOUT Petit Pays, Le Hameau du Père Noël and Le Parc des Epouvantails) – a visit to 🌈 Le Grand Parc d’Andilly comes highly recommended by MBFF! My first visit was accompanying a school sortie, and I’ll be honest in saying that I didn’t have high hopes for a park inhabited by scarecrows! And then, upon arrival, I was bowled over by this enchanting park was, and the children all had a fabulous time. As a visitor, you play classic, familiar games, but in BIG versions (Jeu de l’Oie, pick-up-sticks, wheelbarrow races . . . ), there are farm animals, a giant labyrinth in the trees, spectacles in collaboration with the 🦅Aigles de Léman, there is lots of shade, wide paths for buggies, picnic areas in the shade . . . my elder son and I had so much fun that we headed back with the rest of the family later in the summer. Everything at the park has been meticulously planned, including lots of hanging chairs for parents to relax in! / 🗓 open from:July until September, and then NEW from Toussaint until Christmas / website;
[ ⇒ for more information about the 🌈 Le Grand Parc d’Andilly, see separate MBFF articlehere ]
address:la Forêt des Moulins (direction de Cruseilles, RD 1201) /tel: 04 50 32 73 64;
⛰ Le Mont Salève & 🚠 Téléphérique du Salève – an iconic mountain overlooking 💦 Lac Léman and Geneva! Some lovely hikes and activities and restaurants here! / FB page; (note: the 🚠 Téléphérique du Salève is shut for a huge renovation programme until 2023!);