You LOVE the beautiful ❄️ SNOW, but sometimes you feel frustrated as it is restricts your movements with a buggy?
You’re tired of heading to 💦 Lac de Passy (lovely as it is!), where you do loop after loop with a buggy, because you are in need of some ground without ❄️ SNOW ?
I’m sure you’re not alone! ❄️ Wintertime can feel ever so LONG when you have a baby! I was lucky during the buggy years, as I live in Sallanches and the ❄️ SNOW, when it does fall, rarely lasts longer than a few days down in the 💦 Arve Valley! That said, I was always searching for new buggy walks further afield, as I needed variety!
Over the years, I have put together a good list of buggy walks. Some of these walks will be snow-free even in the deepest winter months . . . and some of them will be ❄️ snowy, but will work with a VTT buggy, as the snow should be compact (except perhaps directly after ❄️ snowfall!), and the paths are mostly flat! (disclaimer: I am not responsible for spring melt; check how compact the snow is on some of the « snow walks »! You’ll also need a buggy with good, cross-country wheels!) . . . when the compact snow underfoot is icy (the shady side of Lac de Passy, for example) it is a good idea to have rubber crampons to attach to your boots!
In a follow-up article I’m currently compiling a list of winter buggy walk options 🇫🇷 a bit further afield – perhaps for family weekend outings? When I had babies (and still now!), it was really important for me to travel, discover and explore new places at the weekend, just to break the monotony of my week days.
[ note: and remember to check out separate article ❄️ Family Strolls: winter wonderlands 🗻 au Pays du Mont-Blanc for some 🌟 magical, féerique, ❄️ winter wonderland Narnias that you can explore with youngsters in a baby-carrier, backpack or with a luge to pull! ]
Colour Code for listings:
Pays du Mont-Blanc
Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Argentière, Les Houches, Servoz & Vallorcine)
Passy & environs
Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy
Saint Gervais, Le Fayet, Saint Nicolas de Véroce, Bionnassay & environs
Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs
Les Contamines & environs
🌲 Bois du Bouchet (Chamonix)
We have had several ❄️ winter wonderland walks in the 🌲 Bois du Bouchet, in Chamonix . . . in light snow with a buggy, and then in deeper snow with a luge . . .
➕ bonus: there is 🛷 a downhill sledging area set up near the parapente field;
☕️ food & drink options: L’Index (address: 850 route du Bouchet, 74400, Chamonix; FB page);
🅿️ parking: Parking du Bouchet;
[ ⇒ for more information about the 🌲 Bois du Bouchet, see separate MBFF article here ]
🌲 Lac des Chavants (Les Houches)
You can go for a short buggy stroll around 💦 the lake (or do several loops!), as the snow is normally quite compact (though at times icy) . . . and if you also have older kids with you, you could venture towards 🌲 the woods to play in the snow . . . Over the holidays, there is 🗺 a jeu de piste every Thursday! You could try the section of 🧭 the parcours d’orientation located around the lake (the rest is located in the woods and therefore possibly buried in the snow!).
important note: be very careful with small children next to the water! In wintertime, the lake is often partly frozen, but this is normally very thin ice and likely to break! DO NOT let children near the ice!
[ ⇒ more information about Lac des Chavants in separate MBFF article here ]
➕ bonus: 🛷 sledging fun at the designated pistes by the tennis courts, and 🌈 a playground and softplay area in wintertime;
☕️ food & drink options: La Guinguette (FB page) is on-site, and there are restaurants and cafés at 🚡 the Prarion ski lift end of Les Houches;
🅿️ parking: Parking des Chavants;
The 🌈 playground, softplay and 🛷 sledging pistes at Lac des Chavants . . .
Lac de Passy
💦 Lac de Passy is the go-to local option for a (usually) snow-free (or at least light snow) buggy stroll in wintertime! And, if there is decent ❄️ SNOW, then a walk with 🛷 a luge also works well . . . and if there is enough snow, you can even slide down the hills at the criques end of the lake! On the shady side of the lake, it can sometimes be very icy – if this is the case, then you might think of attachable rubber crampons for your boots?
If another loop around 💦 Lac de Passy is making you sigh from the repetition, then have you thought of heading along the sentier piéton across the fields through Domancy?
➕ bonus: a walk into the 🌲 woods (normally very muddy in winter!) or a look at the 🐴 horses in the stables . . . you might even spot a mongolfière (hot air balloon);
☕️ takeaway options: bring your own warm drinks and snacks, as the buvettes are not open in the wintertime!
🅿️ parking: any of the three car parks are FREE in wintertime;
[ ⇒ for more information about 💦 Lac de Passy, see separate MBFF articles here or winter information here ]
My newborn elder son with his grandpa at 💦 Lac de Passy:
Parcours de l’Eau Artistique (Arve river, PASSY)
My elder son and I discovered this 💦 flat river walk, which conveniently starts at Mountain Store, as we were coming out of the first confinement . . . and I thought at the time what a great buggy walk it would make all year-round! You get it all: 💦 the Arve river, 🖼 art, 🗺 panels to read about nature, interactive games along the way . . . and plenty of 🍏 picnic tables and benches!
important note: be careful with children by the river, as 💦 the Arve is fast flowing in parts!
[ ⇒ for more information about this art-filled buggy walk, see separate MBFF article here ]
☕️ food & drink options: Camp de Base Café has ☕️ a coffee and hot chocolate machine at your disposal, or you can sit in down to warm up!
🅿️ parking: Mountain Store, 170 avenue Léman Mont-Blanc, 74190, Passy;
Sallanches town centre
Being a Sallanches resident, I have spent much time researching buggy walks! This walk through ⛪️ Sallanches town centre I researched 🌸 one springtime many years ago, but it would be lovely all year round! In 🍁 the autumn, you have 🌰 the chestnuts falling, ⛄️ in winter the Christmas lights (🎄 the Christmas tree is still up, by the way!), 🌸 in springtime the blossoms and flowers, ☀️ in summer some shade by the river, 🌳 under the chestnut trees . . . It’s good to remember that 🌸 springtime arrives earlier in Sallanches than in the Chamonix Valley – so, we’ll normally have our 🌸 first spring blossom in early March, when Chamonix may still have chunks of snow!
➕ bonus: 📱 Géocaching (you have x2 to find in the centre of Sallanches), history of Sallanches (pop into the tourist office for a booklet explaining some of the main sights), ☕️ cafés and restaurants for takeaway options, 🌈 x2 playgrounds (one brand new!), 📚 médiathèque, 🏰 Château des Rubins . . . 💦 the Sallanche river and its bridges . . .
[ ⇒ for more information about this buggy walk, see separate MBFF article here ]
☕️ food & drink options: along the quais, you have 🍰 Chocola’thé (38 quai Saint Jacques) and 🍰 Délicat Délice (72 quai de l’Hotel de Ville) and many more options / you also have a friendly Carrefour Market for snacks / the lovely Boutique de Suzanne in rue des Commerces, Chill café around the corner and l’Heure du Thé opposite Monoprix all have comfortable sofas!
🅿️ parking: FREE at Château des Rubins – Parking du Levaud and La Frasse, and paying underground car park of the Pré de Foire;
📷 wintertime photos of Sallanches:
La Braconne woods, le Pré Curral field & La Bialle stream
This was a regular buggy walk for me when my boys were small . . . and during the 1km confinements we also walked part of it en famille, as then our boys could make 🌳 cabanes in the woods, ⚽️ run across the fields and play football, and inspect the new 🏊♂️ swimming pool buiding!
[ ⇒ for more information about this buggy walk, see separate MBFF article here ]
☕️ food & drink options: head into Sallanches, or take your own snacks / La Braconne restaurant is a super lunch option;
🅿️ parking: Salle Léon Curral;
❄️ wintertime photos . . .
Lacs des Ilettes
💦 Lacs des Ilettes (composed of three lakes) are stunning in wintertime, the light is often magnificent, and they generally remain snow-free, though we have had some fun 🛷 sledge runs around the lake too!
[ ⇒ for more information about Lacs des Illettes, see separate MBFFs articles here or wintertime here ]
☕️ takeaway options: bring your own thermos and snacks, as in winter the Transat restaurant is NOT open . . . or head afterwards into nearby Sallanches;
🅿️ parking: Lacs des Ilettes (two car parks);
❄️ photos with snow in wintertime . . .
📷 and photos without snow in wintertime . . .
Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc (town centre, Le Bettex and Le Fayet)
Art and history boucles through town (Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc centre)
As long as their isn’t too much snow underfoot, then Saint-Gervais is a lovely mountain town for a buggy walk (see tourist office website for brochures). The centre is very pretty, with ⛪️ a Baroque church, 🏰 the Maison forte de Hautetour, 🎨 artwork by 2KM3 (MBFF article here), 🌈 a playground, 🍏 a Thursday morning market, ruins of an old fortress-house on the viaduct . . . if you pop into the tourist office, there are guided walks and treasure hunts available too (see here).
☕️ food & drink options: plenty in town!
🅿️ parking: 2KM3 car park or Bettex car park;
Sur la piste de Charlotte la Marmotte (Le Bettex ⇒ Les Comunailles)
MBFF did this walk at the start of ❄️ winter 2020. It was fabulous: beautiful 🧊 ice along the way, 🗺 pannels to read, interactive games for the boys . . . You can either wear raquettes or just hiking boots to do this hike (though attachable rubber crampons would be useful, as there are icy patches after very cold spells!), and you’re best advised to take a baby-carrier or a luge to pull little ones along (snow conditions permitting!). The hike starts to the left of 🎿 the tapis débutant de l’école de ski. and it will take about 1h30 aller-retour;
☕️ food & drink options: plenty at Bettex!
🅿️ parking: Bettex arrival station car park;
[ ⇒ for more information about this winter hike, see separate MBFF article here ]
good to know: 🚡 the Bettex télécabine is running over the holidays:
Le Parc Thermal (Le Fayet)
🌳 Le Parc Thermal is by far one our favourite, easily accessible destinations 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, even in the wintertime! Being quite shaded, ❄️ snow can remain for quite some time, but this should not impede a boucle around the park (though the hikes are not possible with a buggy, even in summertime; for these you’ll need a baby carrier or backpack!) / note: the hikes around the park can be very icy in wintertime!
[ ⇒ for more information about a family visit to the Parc Thermal, see separate MBFF article here ]
➕ bonus: 🌈 a super playground, 🍏 picnic tables, 🦆 a duck pond, 💦 the thermal baths, pretty fountains and sculptures . . .
☕️ food & drink options: none for now (but hopefully there will be some new applicants of the Clubhouse restaurant soon!) . . . some sit down options in Le Fayet;
🅿️ parking: FREE parking in the park;
Megève & Praz-sur-Arly
Megève is a pretty village, and you can have a decent stroll through the meandering streets! You might also – depending on snow and ice covering – be able to head up ⛪️ the Montée du Calvaire, with its stations of the cross! There are also lots of sculptures and photo exhibitions around town!
➕ bonus: 🌈 nearby playground (if not under snow!), lots of takeaway options, ⛪️ history and patrimoine;
☕️ food & drink options: plenty in town, and the Refuge du Calvaire!
🅿️ parking: Casino or Palais des Sports (both paying);
. . . and ⛪️ the Montée du Calvaire in winter, photos courtesy of Megève Tourisme / Mairie:
and coming out of winter . . .
Les Berges d’Arly (Praz-sur-Arly)
You may be more familiar with the ❄ Berges d’Arly as a great spot for paddling and Amazon river exploring in summertime, but this river path in Praz-sur-Arly is also ideal for a lovely winter buggy walk or to pull a luge ;
➕ bonus: 🖼 artwork, close to the centre of town, 🌈 and x2 playgrounds (snow dependent!) nearby / also ❄️ the front de neige is nearby, for sledging and more!
☕️ food & drink: ❤️ Les Belles (if open! / FB page) / alternatively, lots of options in the centre of town and on the nearby ❄️ front de neige!
🅿️ parking: Front de Neige, 74120, Praz-sur-Arly;
Les Contamines-Montjoie et Notre Dame de la Gorge (Les Contamines-Montjoie)
Bon Nant river path & Sentier Découverte (from centre of town to Domaine Nordique)
The 💦 river path along the Bon Nant (that flows down to Le Fayet, and then empties into the Arve river) is flat and has explanatory pannels (history and patrimoine, culture and nature) along the way. You’ll pass 🌈 the playground, 🛹 pumptrack and ⛸ outdoor ice skating rink along the way.
➕ bonus: visit the ⛪️ Baroque church and 🖼 the Samivel gardens behind the church!
☕️ food & drink: plenty of options in town!
🅿️ parking: centre of town (FREE);
Sentier piéton & Sentier Découverte (within Domaine Nordique and up to Notre Dame de la Gorge)
The ❄️ Domaine Nordique has much to offer in ❄️ wintertime, with its: 🎿 ski de fond pistes (cross country skiing), 🧗♂️ ice-climbing, 🚵♂️ fat bikes and 🐺 chiens de traîneau . . . but there is also a path for walkers (beside the Bon Nant river and through the woods) and this is a lovely stroll en famille, especially with a luge, as there is a place to do some 🛷 downhill sledging too!
[ ⇒ for more information about ❄️ the Domaine Nordique, see separate MBFF article here ]
➕ bonus: 🛷 downhill sledging, 🐺 chiens de traîneau, 🐎 calèches;
☕️ food & drink options: Café Alpinum, at 🎿 the ski de fond departure area, and Chalet du Lac, next to small pedalo lake and playground (FB page) – a short walk away;
🅿️ parking: Domaine Nordique or Notre Dame de la Gorge (FREE);
⛪️ Notre Dame de la Gorge and the ⛪️ La Sainte Chapellin ❄️ wintertime . . .