A couple of weekends back, MBFF was kindly invited by 🚠 the Téléphérique du Salève to take a trip on 🚠 its iconic cable car, and to explore ⛰ the Salève mountain! We were blessed with ☀️ a beautiful sunny day for the outing, and we were excited to do the family hike suggested in the brochure!
The 🚠 Téléphérique du Salève is set to SHUT for 🚧 an ambitious TWO YEAR renovation project at the end of the summer holidays, so if you want to enjoy a trip on 🚠 the iconic cable car before its closure, the time to do it is from now ⇒ the end of August 2021!
Sometimes we’re in need of a destination that suits family members or visitors that have 👨🦯 difficulty walking or ♿️ who are unable to walk; 🚠 a cable-car visit, with the chance to sit with a drink in a café admiring the view, is the perfect choice of activity!
A trip up ⛰ the Salève on 🚠 the Téléphérique du Salève makes for a superb family day out for many, many reasons:
- 🚠 a cable-car journey with great views of 💦 Lac Léman and the chalk mining quarries below;
- 🗻 panoramic views at the arrival station of: 💦 Lac Léman, Geneva and its Jet d’Eau, 🗻the Mont-Blanc massif and more;
- 🌈 playgrounds for little ones at the top!
- 🌳 short family walks (including a botanical trail) and longer trails too;
- 🚵♂️ VTT trails;
- 🍏 picnic opportunities and gourmet options at the summit restaurants;
Téléphérique du Salève – a little history
The ⛰ Salève mountain (1379m at its highest point), known also as le balcon de Genève, is an emblematic peak overlooking the Geneva and Annemasse regions, 💦 Lac Léman, 🗻 the Massif du Mont-Blanc, 🗻 Les Aravis and other mountain peaks! It is a favourite destination for local Swiss and French residents, attracted by the nature and the various activities to be enjoyed on the summit . . .
[ ⇒ read more about ⛰ le Salève here on the Monts de Genève website ]
Here is a short chronological explanation of the development of tourism on ⛰ le Salève:
🚃 train à crémaillère – before the inauguration of 🚠 the first Téléphérique du Salève (1932), from 1893 until 1935 there was a coggle train (train à crémaillère) – le chemin de fer du Salève – that travelled from the centre of Geneva up the Salève (a two hour journey)! You can still see vestiges of this train line on the Sentier Sportif hiking trail up the Salève;
🚠 first cable-car – after the crémaillère came the idea for a cable-car, and this was designed by Geneva architect Maurice Braillard, in collaboration with two French men, Auguste Fournier (a developper), and André Rebuffel (an engineer). This first cable-car was inaugurated in 1932. The journey time up ⛰ the Salève took just 8 minutes (a lot faster than the train!). This was the real heyday of the téléphérique, up until World War II . . . But as more roads were built and cars multiplied, the cable-car found it increasingly difficult to attract customers . . . and it shut down in 1975;
🚠 a new cable car – left to abandon, a Franco-Swiss initiative decided to restore the abandoned cable-car, and it re-opened to the public in 1984 – it was a huge success! 2017 saw the celebration of its 2 millionth trip!
🚠 an even newer cable car – it was decided that the cable car needed another face-lift, and an ambitious two year building project will begin in autumn 2021! / read more about this project below;
[ ⇒ you can read more about 🚠 the history of the Téléphérique du Salève here, and you’ll find a permanent photo exhibition, with explanations, at the arrival station. ]
MBFF’s experience on the Téléphérique du Salève & Mont-Salève
🚠 MBFF’s first visit in 2017 – the MBFF tribe had driven past the cable-car many times en-route to Geneva, before we finally decided to make a day of it, and headed up for ⛰ the Salève for 🚠 the Téléphérique du Salève’s celebration of one million visitors in 2017! On this occasion, we enjoyed the free animations on offer and we walked 🌿 the sentier botanique. The boys played games and rode on the donkeys with the Bureau de la Montagne du Salève!
🚠 MBFF’s second visit in 2021 – MBFF was recently invited to revisit 🚠 the Téléphérique du Salève, and to enjoy the activities on the mountain, before closure for renovation works. I had a look at the brochure and decided that we should hike the Randonnée Salève « Famille » (see below section for more details).
Departure station and cable-car
The departure station for 🚠 the Téléphérique du Salève has a fairly spacious car park, and it is also well-sign posted with vibrant red arrows, if you are coming on foot from 🚉 the bus or train station!
You can also take 🚲 bikes on 🚠 the Téléphérique du Salève at no extra cost, so you can buy a single journey UP and then 🚵♂️ descend on two wheels . . . there are a couple of mountain bike routes and also the road for road bikes.
Your 🐶🦮 furry four-legged friends and buggies are also welcome . . .
[ ⚠️ good to know: when buying your ticket a la caisse, be sure to pick up 🗺 a leaflet & map detailing the activities around the arrival station! (or download it from the website) ]
Arrival station and family activities on the Salève
There is so much to see and do up on ⛰ the Salève!
🗻 panoramic views from above – on a clear day, you’ll have superb views of Geneva and its Jet d’Eau and 💦 Lac Léman . . . and also 🗻 the Massif du Mont-Blanc, ⛰ the iconic Môle mountain and more . . .
🌈 playgrounds – at the arrival station, next to the Happy Summit buvette, you’ll find some slides and a small train . . .
🥾 hiking – there are various sign-posted walks on ⛰ the Mont Salève. It is worth getting hold of the detailed relevant map . . . But even in the free brochure provided, you’ll find detailed instructions for two walking options on ⛰ the Salève (⇒ download brochure here) :
- 🥾 Randonnée Salève « Famille » – a family hike, you’ll have a varied walk: views of 💦 Lac Léman and 🗻 the massif du Mont-Blanc, 🍏 superb picnic spots, ⛩ a Buddhist monastery (!), 🗼 an observatory (with an antenna providing TV and mobile services for the Geneva basin and nearby France!), 🌳 woodland, 🐄 alpine pasture and animals (including, if you’re lucky: donkeys, cows and sheep!) . . . / distance: 4km / dénivelé: 160m / timings: 2h (but more if you picnic or take time in the restaurants) / more information here;
MBFF decided to do this hike on our last visit, as it seemed just the right length! I personally loved it! Here are some photos of our experience . . .
Look at 🌿 the lovely alpine pasture we walked through, and all 🌼 the pretty flowers!
- 🌿 botanical walk – with younger or older walkers not able to do a 2h hike, then the sentier botanique is recommended (30 minutes and easy) . . . / for more information, see website Salève Autrement;
🚵 mountain biking (VTT) & road biking – you’re allowed to take bikes on the Téléphérique du Salève at no extra cost (x7 bikes per cabin), and you’ll find several biking routes;
🪂 parapentes – even if not having a go yourselves, it is fun to watch the parapentes taking off or in the sky! / more information here;
🍏 picnics and restaurants – if you decide to hike the 2h family boucle, you’ll find so many superb picnic spots: at the arrival station (with views of Lac Léman), a grassy field 20mins hike up (just before the Observatoire), by the Observatoire, alpine pasture . . . for more information about the restaurants, see section below.
We found a pleasant surprise just above our heads during our picnic break . . .
👨👩👧👦 family activities – over the summer, you’ll find family activities on offer on the Salève / see here for more information;
🌄🎆 sunsets and fireworks – the Salève is a great spot to watch 🎆 Geneva firework displays, and it is a lovely spot also 🌅 to watch sunsets (there are some special sunset deals this summer; see here);
❄️ winter activities – it will be a while before you can take the cable car up the Salève to enjoy winter activities . . . but in the past, you could enjoy ice-skating, snow-shoeing, sledging . . .
⛰ further places to visit on the Salève:
- ⛩ Centre Bouddhiste Shedrub Choekhor Ling – did you know that there was a buddhist monastery & centre on the Salève? Me neither! It opened to the public in 2010 and was inaugurated the Dalaï Lama in 2011! Just a 20mins walk from the arrival station of the téléphérique, you’ll pass it (and its Tibetan prayer flags!) on the suggested family hike / website;
- 🏰 Château de l’Ermitage de Monnetier-Mornex – privately-owned (so you’ll not be able to visit it!), this castle is located on the side of the cliffs at the end of the vallon de Monnetier. It was built in the 16th century by François-Prosper de Genève-Lullin, and was owned by the Ducs de Savoie / more information here;
- La Croisette – this is a pretty hillside village located on the other side of of the Salève;
[ ⇒ see here for more information about places to visit on ⛰ the Salève) ]
As mentioned above, the summit of ⛰ the Salève is the perfect place for 🍏 a picnic!
But if you’d prefer to eat at 🥤 a snack bar or restaurant, then you have several options:
- 🥤 Happy Summit snack bar – drinks, ice creams and simple snacks on offer here! / right next to the playground features!
- 🥗 Le Panoramique – this restaurant is located right by the cable-car arrival station . . . and you’ll be awarded fabulous views from its terrace! There is a special weekday offer at midday: restaurant + aller-retour on téléphérique = 27€; see here for more information / tel : +33 (0)4 50 31 31 61 – FB page – website;
- L’Observatoire – a 20mins walk uphill will bring you to this restaurant! You’ll be able to observe the observatory and there are fabulous views too! / tel : +33 (0)4 50 39 60 57 – FB page – website;
The ⛰ Salève mountain is near other places to visit en famille . . . and so you could perhaps combine a visit (though you’ll find that there is plenty to do on ⛰ the Salève itself!):
⛰ Maison du Salève – for more information about this super eco-museum surrounded by lovely hikes (with plentiful family activities and exhibitions), see MBFF article here;
🌳 Filenvol – here, children and adults alike can play on nets suspended from trees / ⇒ see MBFF article here;
🍓 Ferme des 4 Saisons (Reignier) – here you can pick your own strawberries at the moment! / FB page;
🌲 Maison Pugin – in December, you can head to this Christmas tree farm to cut down your very own sapin de Noël ! / ⇒ for more information about this super place, see MBFF article here;
🏕 Cabanes du Salève – if you would like to stay the night in a log cabin on the Salève, then look no further! / FB page and website;
Le Nouveau Téléphérique du Salève – an ambitious project
The renovation project for 🚠 the new Téléphérique du Salève is due to start in autumn 2021, and it should take two years. The project is now envisioned within the framework of the cable car’s 91st birthday in 2023!
[ ⇒ for more information about the renovation project, from DDA architects, see here ]
The new stations will incorporate:
- 🗻 a 360° viewing station at the top of the station;
- 🥗 a panoramic restaurant;
- 🧗♂️ a climbing wall 20m high and 15m wide;
- 🌿🌈 a nature playground and tyrolienne;
- 🌿 a sensory botanical garden;
- 🪂a new aire de parapente, with options for mobilié réduite;
- 🖼 a 150m² museum space;
🗓 opening hours: 🚠 the Téléphérique du Salève will remain OPEN until the end of August – every day, 9h30 to 19h, 🚠 departures every 12 minutes! (nocturnes Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, until 23h!) . . . and then, it will remain SHUT for two years, with the re-opening of a NEW structure in 2023 (predicted) !
🌬 unfavourable weather – the cable-car is subject to closure during unfavourable weather conditions, like strong wind or lightning!
💶 price: aller simple adult: 8€ / aller-retour adult: 12€ / aller-retour pass famille: 6€50 per family member / ⇒ more information here;
📱 online booking: here;
🚗 getting there: access to the cable-car by car is fairly easy, as it is located right next to the A40 and the A41 / you can also get there by bus and train / see here;
🅿️ parking: there is a spacious, FREE car park on-site!
🗺 map for getting there – see here;
♿️ mobilité réduite – for now, wheelchair access is for the two stations (top and bottom), the viewing platform and the Panoramique restaurant / the new renovations aim to improve wheelchair access; see here;
😷 Covid-19 regulations & measures (see here):
- all persons 11+ years are obliged to wear a mask in the departure and arrival stations (and in line) and on board the téléphérique;
- you must buy your ticket in advance online or directly from the departure station (there is nowhere to buy a ticket from the top of the Salève!);
⚠️ advice for a visit on the Salève: remember that you are heading up a mountain, so if you are planning on even a short hike, then go equipped: suitable footwear, waterproofs (remember, ⛈ mountain weather can change very suddenly!), sun hats, sunglasses & suntan lotion, food and water / more information here;
address: Téléphérique du Salève, route du Téléphérique, 74100, Étrembières / tel: 04 50 39 86 86; website / FB page / Instagram ;
[ DISCLAIMER: MBFF’s visit on 🚠 the Téléphérique du Salève was very kindly offered by the cable-car, but all opinions remain our own! ]