I have now been on this hike a couple few time, en famille, and with friends. I can assure you that each time, friends are wowed by the 🌉 Himalayan suspension bridge, 🏔 the fabulous views of Mont-Blanc, and the ethereal 💦 Lac Vert.
The altitude gain (dénivelé) on this hike is fairly minimal, making it a great short hike for families with young children or older relatives needing to avoid steep and unstable paths.
Hike details & Map
🅿️ parking & start of hike: Place Tobé in Plateau d’Assy;
♿️ start of hike for mobilité réduite: car park at junction of route de Marie Paradis and the ancienne route du Lac Vert (denoted by wooden totems) / there are x4 spaces available / 🚧 note April 2021: this section is having is having travaux currently, so you are not allowed to walk this path;
🏔 distance & durtation of hike: 6km aller-retour (2h30 to 3h), but you should allow more time to explore 💦 Lac Vert or to picnic / or shorter aller-retour from Place Tobé to bridge: 2,5km (1h) ;
highlights: 🌉 suspension bridge / 🗻 mountain views (Massif de Mont-Blanc) / 🌲 forest path / 💦 Lac Vert / ☕️ restaurant options;
Start of hike – the wooden totems
The nearest access to 🌉 the bridge is from the small car park at the junction of route de Marie Paradis and the route du Lac Vert, though this is only available for ♿️ mobilité réduite.
Here you will find a couple of wooden totems by A. Cardenas, testimony to Passy’s rich art history.
It is a short short walk to the bridge from the car park (20mins aller-retour), making it the perfect short walk for older relatives not able to walk too far: a slight uphill saunter, 🌉 an amazing landmark to experience, 🗻 super views of Mont-Blanc . . .
But you are now required to access the Passerelle Himalayenne from the car park in Place Tobé in Plateau d’Assy, along the sentier piéton Sancellemoz. It is a 30mins hike, flat and slightly up, to the bridge from here. For some families, an aller-retour to the bridge from here will suffice!
[ note: ❄️ in wintertime, and as long as there is not too much snow underfoot, you won’t need snowshoes on this short walk, though you might consider waterproof boots, detachable crampons and walking poles for comfort. ]
NEW artwork for autumn 2020 – Passy and Plateau d’Assy are great exponents of modern art ( « Route de la sculpture contemporaine » ) and the 🌉 Passerelle Himalayenne is the newest location for some new artwork: Les Regardeurs, by the duo OPJ Cyganek and Julie Poulain! This new artwork has been placed at either end of the bridge, and remember – it will be watching you as you cross the bridge! / more information here;
The idea is to incorporate this new artwork into a trail being developed from Plateau d’Assy up to Lac Vert, a « rando-culture », uniting culture, sport and nature!
La Passerelle Himalayenne
The 🌉 Passerelle Himalayenne sits 20m above the 💦 Nant Bordon ravine and allows you to access the 💦 Lac Vert via the original route du Lac Vert,
The ancienne route du Lac Vert was shut in 1984, as the path fell away in a landslide . . . since then, access on foot or by bike to 💦 Lac Vert has been limited, via Plaine-Joux or Servoz . . . This 🌉 new suspension bridge allows walkers and cyclists to access 💦 Lac Vert via the original route, and at the same time to enjoy a new landmark!
The building of this 🌉 Himalayan suspension bridge was carried out by local company Altitude Construction, specialists in difficult-to-access mountain constructions. What was envisioned was a light and flexible bridge, one that would merge with 🌲 the surrounding scenery, in order to fit with the surrounding environment.
[ ⇒ to read more about this faboulous new addition to the 🗻 Pays du Mont-Blanc, see MBFF article 🌉 La Passerelle Himalayenne (Plateau d’Assy) ]
From Sancellemoz, you walk along a forest path to the bridge, and after crossing the bridge (and admiring the art, or stopping for a picnic with a view!), you’ll walk up 🌲 a shaded forest path, with windows on 🏔 Mont-Blanc all the way up to 💦 Lac Vert! It is slightly uphill all the way, with a small dénivelé; this means that the return journey is a slight downhill all the way!
[ note: in ❄️ wintertime, you could pull little ones on 🛷 a sledge; do not, however, let go though as there is a steep fall! ]
Once you are up at 💦 Lac Vert, do take the time to explore! It is a 20 minute jaunt around the lake, with possibilities for: 🐟 fish to spot, and perhaps the odd person 🎣 fishing, maybe a 🦅 bird of prey overhead, 🧗♂️ clambering on rocks . . (disclaimer: do be very careful with small children, as the path can be slippery, and some of the rocks sharp, and there is always the possibility of a fall into the water. In wintertime, some of the wooden passerelles will be under water and you’ll have to really scramble along sections on the south facing side of the lake, which is fun, but not without danger!).
[ ⇒ for more information about 💦 Lac Vert, see separate MBFF article here ]
An extra 20mins hiking (up the road or through the forest) will bring you to Plaine-Joux, with the activities on offer here: 🍏 picnic spots, lots of 🌱 green grass to play, parapentes to watch taking off, 🌳 accrobranches, 🦌 Maison de la Reserve Naturelle, and more ☕️ restaurant options.
If you have friends or family walking with you who would prefer a longer hike, then they can continue onwards to various locations:
🏔 boucle du Barmus or to Le Châtelet and Les Ayères – from 💦 Lac Vert up to Le Châtelet is 35mins, and further to Les Ayères (so for more steady, older walkers!) . . .
💦 boucle de la Côte – down to Le Mont and back, via 💦 les gouilles;
💦 Lac du Pormenaz & Lac d’Anterne (summer option) – this is a much longer route, and so recommended for families with older children and good walkers / see separate article 🏔 MBFF recommended family hikes au Pays du Mont-Blanc for more details;
[ 🚵♂️ another option along the route du Lac Vert down to the 🌉 Passarelle Himalayenne is with 🚵♂️ bikes and in winter, 🚵♂️ fat bikes ]
There are plenty of 🍏 picnic options on this short hike: you’ll find a picnic table right by the 🌉 Passerelle Himalayenne, and there are benches and boulders up at 💦 Lac Vert too!
If you prefer a warm interior (or sunny terrace!), you may prefer a restaurant option over a picnic. Here are some options:
☕️ Restaurant du Lac Vert – right by the 💦 Lac Vert, is the 🥗 Restaurant du Lac Vert, now open in winter too. Food is cooked using 🔥 feu de bois (and there are no frites, as these are difficult to cook on an open fire! 😉) / you can get 🥞 goûter (crêpes and delicious desserts) up until 16h / 🗻 there is a south-facing terrace with beautiful views of 🗻 Mont-Blanc . . . and when there is ❄️ fresh snow, this is ⛄️ the perfect snowman-making playground!
address: 1600 chemin des Parchets, Passy / tel: 04 50 78 55 14 / FB page;
☕️ La Bergerie (Plaine-Joux) – a firm favourite chez MBFF on a ski or ❄️ snow day! And it is pretty much open year-round and has frites 😉 (but still check opening hours!) / FB page;
address: 314 chemin des Parchets, Plaine-Joux / tel: 04 50 93 80 51 / FB page ;
☕️ Le Refuge le Châtelet d’Ayères – is accessible on foot over both summer and ❄️ winter seasons (and on snow-shoe routes) / an extra 35 minutes up from 💦 Lac Vert;
address: route du Châtelet, Passy / tel: 06 60 81 37 82 / FB page ;
Further things to do in the area
There are plenty more places to visit in the area, as Plateau d’Assy is renowned for its 🖼 cultural scene!
⛪️ Eglise Notre-Dame-de-Toute-Grâce (Plateau d’Assy) – a visit to this beautiful church is well worth a visit. It was made famous by the work of several renowned artists: the façade’s mosaic was created by painter and ceramist Fernand Léger; Georges Braque added a bronze tabernacle and Marc Chagall a baptistery;
🏥 guided tour of old tuberculosis sanitoriums (Plateau d’Assy) – Passy Mont-Blanc organises tours of the 🏥 1930s tuberculosis sanitoriums: huge and often garishly coloured buildings on bends of the road, and then on the plateau itself you’ll see many that are in a state of total or half-abandon . . . [ to read more about this rich medical history, see MBFF article Lac Vert ]
🎨 route de la sculpture contemporaine – you’ll also see some unique sculptures gracing bends in the road on the drive from Passy to Plateau d’Assy / see here for more information;
🌻 Le Jardin des Cimes – on the drive from Plaine-Joux to Plateau d’Assy, you will pass this delightful alpine garden (NOTE: not open in winter / 🗓 open end of May until end of September). This magical spot is a firm favourite chez MBFF; read more about it here;
🚘 by car – for handicapped access, you can use of the small car park at the wooden totems on the ancienne route du Lac Vert – from here, it is a 5 to 10 minute walk to the passerelle / for everyone else, you now need to park on Place Tobé, near l’église de Notre-Dame-de-Toute-Grâce, and a barrier has been placed preventing parking sauvage! From here, you walk along the path that runs beside Sancellemoz (this path has been re-worked for pedestrians);
🚵♂️ by bike – for road-biking families, for a good workout, you can head up to Plaine-Joux on the road from Passy! VTT enthusiasts love the route through the 🌲 forest for the way back down to the valley in Chedde! (watch this video for a dizzying glimpse of a descent!);