The 🌲 Bois du Bouchet is a young forest, witness to the retreat of ❄️ ancient glaciers, and with vestiges of the granite-workers from Italy of the 19th and 20th century . . .
And this 🌳🌲 woodland it is also a window from which to gaze upon the majestic 🏔 Mont-Blanc and the other peaks of Chamonix.
The 🌲 Bois du Bouchet is located just minutes from the centre of town, and is the perfect spot for a family outing: 🍂 an autumn stroll, ❄️ a winter stroll or ski de fond outing, 🚵♂️ a summer bike ride and picnic, a place to watch the parapentes land, 🗺 a spot to try out the parcours d’orientation . . .
« Le sentier du Bouchet » – an informative family stroll
🗺 « Le sentier du Bouchet » is a parcours pédagogique, set across 1km, and highlighting across 4 pannels « le monde de la montagne, de la forêt, de la faune ».
The path, which is wide and ♿️ wheelchair and buggy friendly, leaves from the Foyer du Ski de Fond (La Maison Nordique), past the parapentes landing field, and then into the woods. In summertime, you’ll find some shade!
🚴♀️ Bike routes through the Bois du Bouchet
The 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet is also the perfect training ground for 🚴♀️ small pedal bikes and draisiennes, as it is pretty flat and away from the traffic of main roads!
There is 🚵♂️ a family boucle (45mins; 6km; dénivelé: 75m), which will take you along 💦 the rive gauche of the Arveyron river, and then you’ll return via 💦 the rive droite, passing near 🚁 the hélistation du PGHM and back through the woods / ⇒ see here for more details;
You could also hire 🛴 a trottinette electrique (electric scooter) from one of the local rental shops – this is a lot of fun, and the 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet would be the perfect terrain for this!
There is 🚴♀️ a new bike park in the 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet: the Espace Ludique VTT Les Bois (Chamonix) – just next to the PGHM helipad, some green elements for little ones, and then blue and red for older riders!
Parcours d’Orientation in the Bois du Bouchet
You’ll know by now that MBFF members are huge fans of 🗺 treasure hunts and parcours d’orientation! We have only done a small segment of the one in the 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet, as the course is long (timing: 2h30; distance: 4km), and we could only muster energy for about a third of it!
Baby-Cham (a Chamonix nanny service) tried out the 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet orienteering circuit for us a couple of years ago, and they loved it! ( ⇒ see here to read about their experience).
what is orienteering ? 🧭 Orienteering is a sport in which one follows a very precise route from 🗺 a given map. As it is a fun activity for the whole family, it can be a great pretext to get everyone outdoors and enjoying nature, and to develop navigational skills at the same time. To do orienteering, you will need to learn or understand the concept of 🗺 reading a map (to align it with the terrain, to understand a “legend”, to understand a map’s scale, and to pinpoint landmarks)
[ ⇒ see here for the 🗺 Bois du Bouchet orienteering map ]
Winter Narnia in the Bois du Bouchet
My first memory of walking through the 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet was back in the winter of 2007, when I’d just arrived in Chamonix and had welcomed my first dog-sitting experience. Sisu was handed over to me by the previous week’s sitter in the woods, and it was just magical watching her stride through ❄️ the fresh deep snow, Narnia-esque, running back to me when I called. Sisu is no longer with us, she is in doggy heaven, but I have lovely memories of her playing in these woods!
Other ❄️ winter activities in the 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet?
- 🛷 luge (sledging) – there is a small, secure sledging hill at the entrance to the woods;
- 🎿 ski de fond (cross-country skiing) – there are various different routes to take;
- 🚵 fat bikes and fat trottinettes – these allow you to be on two wheels that are specially adapted to the snow!
Here is 🛷 the piste de luge:
You can even try out some sledging when it snows in on 1st May! 😉
❄️ Ski de fond routes:
- 💚 Le Bois du Bouchet: 3 km;
- 💙 Orthaz: 6,3 km;
- ❤️ Les Bois: 11,7 km;
[ ⇒ see here for map of winter walking route (piste piétons damée) and ski de fond routes in the 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet ]
Activities in and near the Bois du Bouchet
🪂 Terrain d’atterrisage parapentes du Bois du Bouchet – you can pause on your stroll through the Bois du Bouchet, to watch the parapentes coming in to land in the field:
terrains de pétanque – you’ll find some terrains de pétanque near the main road at the entrance to the Bois du Bouchet,
🛹 Chamonix skatepark – this is is popular spot with Chamonix youngsters, and it is fun to go and watch them practise their skills!
🎨 Chamonix Paintball – paintball and lasergames on offer / see website for more information / address: route de la Promenade des Crèmeries / tel: 06 07 36 01 51 / firstname.lastname@example.org;
🏀 Chamonix Stade Olympique & ⛸ Patinoire – there are always lots of youngsters and adults alike using this public sports terrain. You’ll find: basketball hoops and running tracks. The ice-skating rink is located right next to the Stade Olympique;
Further strolls from the Bois du Bouchet
You might want to continue your family stroll beyond the woods, especially if you have older and more experienced walkers in your group! Here are some ideas:
🗺 Sentier du Granit (Les Bois) – this is a themed and signposted walk (l’Espace Mont-Blanc) that explains the work of the granite workers (les tailleurs de pierre), the majority of whom arrived with their expertise from neighbouring Italy! The granite was cut and worked, and then used for: windows, stairs, fountains . . . / timing: 1h30; distance: 2km; dénivelé: 68m;
🧗♂️ Pierre d’Orthaz & 🚁 Helistation PGHM – after signs to le Sentier du Granit, you’ll come to la pierre d’Orthaz, an enormous granite boulder deposited during glacial retreat (this is a famous bouldering bloc!), on your right. About 200m after the electricity factory, you’ll cross the Arveyron river, towards 🚁 the Hélistation des Bois . . . from here you’ll return to the Bois du Bouchet!
💦 Arveyron and Arve rivers – if you hike all the way through the woods to Les Praz, then you can return via the Arve river, and have a moment taking photos of the iconic ⛪️ Chapelle des Praz – one of the most photographed spots in the Chamonix Valley! This is a granite chapel rich in patrimoine, built for the people of Les Praz between 1941 et 1960 by architect André Rostagnat.
💦 L’Arveyron (meaning « petit Arve ») or the Arveyron de la Mer de Glace is a torrent that originates at the Mer de Glace glacier. It later joins the Arve river in Les Praz. You can hike along this river toward 💦 the Source de l’Arveyron!
💦 Source de l’Arveyron & ☕️ Buvette Chapeau Lavancher – beyond the Source de l’Arveyron, you can hike up to the buvette Chapeau Lavancher, open in both summer and winter season! The 🧁 cakes and desserts are famous, and rightly so!
🌈 Paradis des Praz – you might get as far as this lovely spot on a longer walk (all flat!) . . . a gurgling brook in a forest with a playground!
[ ⇒ for more information about the 🌈 Paradis des Praz , see MBFF article here ]
A little history: La Plage de Chamonix
Did you know that there was once 🏖 a beach in Chamonix?
🏖 La Plage de Chamonix came to be around 1930, installed on around 20 hectares next to the 🌲🌳 Bois du Bouchet and its lake, using the ruins of the old Casino du Bouchet (1905-1928) to store equipment. The lake itself was fed by an underground source, and there was a diving board (le pongeoir). The “beach” was made of grey sand. There were little wooden cabanes available for changing into swimwear, and there was a restaurant with a terrace and a buvette. For the children, there was a little paddling pool with a fountain (source: Jean-Phillippe GAUSSOT – www.gassot.eu);
[ ⇒ for more fabulous photos of La Plage de Chamonix, see here ]
QC Termes Chamonix Mont-Blanc: the new Chamonix spa
💦 QC Terme Chamonix Mont-Blanc opened a couple of years ago, and is run by the same company that owns QC Terme Pré Saint-Didier in Italy. At this spa complex, you’ll get to combine the benefits of a spa with mountain scenery and nature!
features: pools, whirlpools, hydrojets, salt room & halotherapy, saunas, steam baths, chromotherapy, a Japanese bath, a Kneipp path, relaxation rooms, an olfactory space, massages & treatments . . .
You’ll find plenty of picnic tables in the e 🌲🌳 Bois du Bouchet !
If you’re searching for a sit-down meal, then here are some options :
🍁 MBC (Micro Brasserie de Chamonix) – just opposite the Foyer du Ski de Fond, this popular burger, chicken wings and Canadian beer-brewing restaurant puts on lots of evening concerts over the ski season, and screens big sporting events. During the earlier evening, it is calmer and popular with families;
FB page address: 350 route du Bouchet, 74400, Chamonix / tel: 04 50 53 61 59;
🥗 L’Index (Bois du Bouchet, Chamonix) – located in the woods . . .
FB page address: 309 promenades des Crèmeries, 74400, Chamonix / tel: 09 50 87 37 46;
🥗 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!
FB page address: 789 promenade des Crèmeries, 74400, Chamonix / tel: 06 18 03 79 36;
For access to the 🌳🌲 Bois du Bouchet, you can park:
- 🅿️ near the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon, in the Parking du Bouchet;
- 🅿️ or you may find FREE parking spots along the main road (chemin des Cristalliers) by the woods ( note: be careful getting in and out of the car with children, as this is a busy through-road to Argentière and Switzerland! );
4 thoughts on “BOIS du BOUCHET – strolls, bike rides, a parcours d’orientation, snowy options & MORE !”