I have now been on this hike a couple of times: once en famille with some friends and once on my own with a friend. 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: car park at junction of route de Marie Paradis and the ancienne route du Lac Vert (denoted by wooden totems);
🏔 distance of hike: 6km aller-retour;
⏱ duration of hike: 1h30 to 2h (allow more time to explore 💦 Lac Vert or to picnic;
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.
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 (10mins) from the car park (20mins aller-retour), making it the perfect short walk for little ones or older relatives not able to walk too far (also possible with a bike or draisienne): a slight uphill saunter, 🌉 an amazing landmark to experience, 🗻 super views of Mont-Blanc . . . The walk could be extended by starting from Plateau d’Assy (at the ⛪ church, for example);
[ note: ❄️ in wintertime, and as long as there is not too much snow underfoot, you won’t need snowshoes on this short walk from the car park (20 minutes aller-retour), 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 to 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) ]
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).
[ >>> 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 – 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 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, as 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!);
🥾 on foot – you can hike to the bridge from footpaths from ⛪️ the church;