🗻 Plaine-Joux is one of MBFF’s favourite play areas, whether that be for ⛷ skiing, ❄️ snowshoeing, 🛷 sledging or just playing!
Both of the MBFF boys had their early ⛷ ski lessons here, and it was the perfectly-sized ski resort for this. I felt more confident, as there are no chairlifts, and I always worried about them being on a chairlift when they were tiny!
In addition, while the boys had their ski lesson, there were plenty of activities to keep the parents active (or not so active!), with showshoe and ski rando routes, sunny terraces for ☕️ a hot chocolate . . .
With the recent announcement that ski stations will be having a saison blanche (ie not opening at all this season), 🗻 Plaine-Joux has had to adapt, and it has done so admirably.
For starters, here is 🗺 the NEW MAP of the resort, with all of the activities highlighted:
Ski alpin & snowboarding lessons 2021
Though collective ski lessons are not happening this season, ski clubs are still running, and tiny and beginner skiers are still able to use the small drag-lifts and tapis that are functioning in resorts. This is the case for 🗻 Plaine-Joux.
🐥 Piou-Piou and 🐻 Oursons can still have their lessons, and you can still book private beginner lessons.
If your older kids are experienced skiers, but not part of a ski club (this is the case for my older son), you might want to consider 🏂 a private snowboarding lesson? If you get a group of three of four together, then the price is really reasonable.
At 🗻 Plaine-Joux, there is the lovely ⛄️ Espace Lutins ski and play area for small children and their families. The ⛷ ski zone is a designated ski area for children and accompanying adults, with a magic carpet and rope-tow. There is also 🛷 a sledging area.
There is also a 🌈 play area & terrace – children can play in the snow, make snowmen, play on the soft-play toys etc . . . (when our littlest saw this for the first time, it was
hard impossible to get him to resume skiing!).
⛄️ La Maison des Lutins – the wooden house that is normally the ideal spot to warm up, to have a snack or change a nappy – is currently SHUT, due to Covid-19 directives.
[ price – you will need either your forfait or a special pass (7€ per day) to access this area! FREE for children under 2 years ]
Ski rando (ski touring) routes
As we know, with the remontées méchaniques to remain shut this season, 🎿 ski rando has never been such a popular activity, and not just with experienced skiers searching for thrills far from ski stations.
More and more children are also taking up the activity, especially with the adjustment for sale, meaning that they can use their regular ski alpin equipment.
🗻 Passy Plaine-Joux has 🎿 2 itinéraires ski de rando, available from 9h until 16h30, and these are both FREE:
- 🎿 Grimpée du Chamois Blanc – ideal for beginners;
- 🎿 Grimpée des Lapins – for intermediate level;
Check out 🗺 the NEW MAP above or below to see the exact location of the routes!
Ski de Fond (cross country skiing)
There is a FREE cross country skiing loop at 🗻 Plaine-Joux, the 2km blue Lac Gris boucle, located at the bottom of the Barmus drag-lift. You can rent out gear from Skifiz Newfiz Sport (tel: +33(0)4 50 58 87 21 / +33(0)6 07 05 04 49);
This is also where you’ll find 🐺 the chiens de traîneaux (see below).
Raquettes (showshoe) routes & hiking options
There are ❄️ two marked snow-shoe trails leaving from Plaine-Joux:
- ❄️ Boucle du Lac Vert (4km / 1h30) – this is suitable for beginners or a good option if you need a quick hike / in addition, you’ll have wonderful views of Mont-Blanc (on a clear day) and you’ll visit the beautiful Lac Vert protected site;
- ❄️ Boucle du Barmus (8km / 3h30) – this is also suitable for beginners, just a bit longer / you’ll head up towards the Châtelet d’Ayères and les Mollays, and you’ll have superb views of 🗻 the Mont-Blanc massif and 🗻 Les Aravis;
A picnic en-route on the Boucle du Barmus, with a magnificent view . . . or stop for a crêpe at the Refuge du Barmus?
You’ll find these snowshoe routes, and many more au Pays du Mont-Blanc in this booklet available for FREE from any tourist office!
[ note: remember, if you head of the snowshoe routes, you may find yourself in dangerous avalanche risk territory, for which you should have the proper safety equipment and knowledge (and not be alone!) ]
[ ⇒ for more information about snowshoe routes and maps, see here ]
Another option for a hike (and you probably won’t need snowshoes, as the path gets tracked pretty quickly after snow), is the chemin piéton from the 🌁 NEW Passerelle Himalayenne in Plateau d’Assy to Lac Vert. This is not a boucle, it is an aller-retour, but it is fabulous! For more information about this hike, which I have done several times with winter snow, see separate MBFF article here (you’ll need to park in Plateau d’Assy, near the church);
[ see Passy Mont-Blanc’s new leaflet about 🌁 the Passerelle Himalayenne in Plateau d’Assy here ]
Sledging & Snowtubing
There is 🛷 a designated sledging zone at 🗻 Plaine-Joux, with a snow-tubing piste (snow-tubes for hire at Skifiz).
In addition, this year it is feasible 🛷 to sledge on the lower green ski pistes (at the end of the day, when not busy). My sons had immense fun yesterday doing this; it was just them and one other child. These pistes are not secure, however, so this is at your risk.
🚵♂️ Fat biking is one of the new sensations of the winter season: you get to bike on SNOW, thanks to a tyre with a traction suitable for the terrain, and electric help! There are some suitable (and relatively flat!) routes available at Plaine-Joux, and the chemin piéton to 🌁 the Himalayan bridge is popular.
At 🗻 Plaine-Joux, you can rent out a fat bike at Lou Pachran;
more information Lou Pachran: price: 50€ for a half day / tel: +33(0)4 50 58 82 47 / website;
Chiens de Traîneaux / Dog-sledding
You’ll sometimes find the Granges de Heidi chiens de traîneaux at Plaine-Joux. They mainly do their loops around the Lac Gris. A baptême (a 1 hour introduction), costs from 30€ for children or 50€ for adults, and there are plenty of other options.
[ ⇒ for more information, see here ]
Aerofiz Parapente Mont Blanc
This parapente (paragliding) school offers flights from 70€. Alternatively, it is fun just to watch the parapentes taking off from the designated spot!
PLAYING in the SNOW – snowball fights, snowmen, igloos and more
🗻 Plaine-Joux has always been a favourite spot of ours to to simply head for ❄️ a play in the snow! Usually, we head there with 🛷 sledges, but often the boys prefer to dig, dig, dig (an avalanche spade is good for this!), build igloos, have snowball fights, make snow angels, do acrobatics in the snow, make ⛄️ a snowman or snow creature . . .
Have you come across snowball makers? These are plastic gadgets (some of you might be horrified!), which scoop up the snow to make snowballs that look like baubles to hang on a Christmas tree. They make perfect snowball fight balls, and dogs also seem to love them! I am glad with my investement this winter!
Up at 🗻 Plaine-Joux, you’ll find 🐔 chickens and geese! / FB page;
Restaurants & Takeaway options
France’s restaurants may still be closed, but up at 🗻 Plaine-Joux, the restaurants have adapted to serve you takeaway options from their lovely terraces.
- ☕️ La Bergerie (lovely, family-run restaurant) – open Wednesdays and weekends / Lou Pachran (la bougnetterie) – open weekends / and Chalet Lilly – open Wednesdays and weekends;
- ☕️ a small refuge on the pistes called the Refuge Barmus, serving small snacks / open every day;
Mont-Blanc massif & mountain views
🗻 Plaine-Joux is one of my favourite spots to head for superb views of the 🗻 Massif du Mont-Blanc and 🗻 les Aravis. You’ll also get a marvellous view of 🗻 Mont-Joly.
If you manage to be up there at the end of the day, the light can be just wonderful . . . and extra beauty if you up up there with a mer de nuages (sea of clouds).
If you take the main road up to Plaine-Joux, via Plateau d’Assy you’ll find yourselves on the Route de la sculpture contemporain Passy; in fact 🎨 Passy abounds with sculptures! In 1973, Passy was part of a huge exhibition: Sculptures en Montagne – Poème dans l’Espace. Inspired by the places and their history, and conceived by the poet Jean-Pierre Lemesle, the project brought together several well-known contemporary artists; from this exhibition, Passy kept 5 sculptures and acquired new ones – in the 1980s, these sculptures were placed at the exit of the A40 motorway and at the contreforts of the Fiz mountain chain. Today, across 12km, you can admire the open air museum of the Passy hillside up to Plaine-Joux / for more information and guided tours, see here or here;
This is the sculpture that you’ll see in the snow up at Plaine-Joux: « La Porte Bleue » by Joan Gardy Artigas, 1973 / more information here;
And the newer addition to 🌉 the Passerelle Himalayenne: « 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!
⛪️ 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;
Look out of Rocket le gypaète!
programme: see details of programme here;
Réserve naturelle de Passy programme: see details of programme here;
new leaflet: see calameo online here;
webcams: to check out the weather and snow cover, see here;
address: 321, chemin des Parchets, Passy Plaine Joux, 74190, Passy / tel: +33(0)4 50 58 83 89;