We are lucky to have some 🖼 wonderful museums 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc and in the Chamonix Valley, many housed in architectural gems (old, new and renovated). . . and as well as their permanent collections, they also offer 🎨 temporary exhibitions and workshops for children and families over the school holidays! (the local tourist offices will have a list of those scheduled during your stay).
⇒ see also MBFF articles:
- 🖼 OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITIONS & EPHEMERAL OUTDOOR ART here;
- 🇫🇷 MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS in nearby France here;
- 🇨🇭🇮🇹 MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS in nearby Switzerland and Italy here;
A couple of dates for your diaries, when our local museums put on events for families:
- Journées Européennes du Patrimoine – a weekend in mid-September, after La Rentrée;
- La Nuit des Musées – a night in mid May, when the museums open in the evening:
Colour Code for listings
Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Argentière, Les Houches, Servoz & environs) and Vallorcine
Passy & environs
Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy
St Gervais, Le Fayet & environs
Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs
Les Contamines & environs
Musée Alpin (Chamonix)
[ note: from 20th September 2021, the Musée Alpin will SHUT its door for a long 4 year renovation project . . . the museum will be modernised and extended, and the new museum to open will be called the Musée du Mont-Blanc ! During its closure, the museum staff will continue to offer 🎨 Hors les Murs sessions for the public / see website for more details ]
Housed in the magnificent old Chamonix Palace (one of the three original “palaces” in Chamonix), this lovely museum traces 🏔 the history of the valley, from the very first tourists who came to admire the mountains and glaciers through to ” Chamonix, the centre of winter sports “. There is 🖼 a great collection of prints, photos and mountaineering objects to take you on this trajectory;
parking: the nearest car park (paying) is the Parking du Mont-Blanc;
[ 🏔 good to know: April 2020, saw the launch of a new online collection, the first digital platform collating collections from mountain museums, created by the Musée Alpin and the Museo Nazionale della Montagna de Turin : mountainmuseums.org;
website&FB page address:La Résidence, 89 avenue Michel Croz, 74400, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc / tel: +33 (0)4 50 53 25;
Musée des Cristaux – L’Espace Tairraz (Chamonix)
After a long renovation project, this museum is now OPEN !
This NEWLY renovated museum offers you “ un voyage à travers la minéralogie du monde . . . Réaménagé en 2021, le musée des Cristaux présente une scénographie renouvelée, consacrée à la minéralogie alpine, de France, d’Europe et à présent du Monde ! Venez découvrir des collections exceptionnelles par leur qualité, leurdiversité et leur beauté. L’exposition commence le long de la chaîne des Alpes avec des pièces exceptionnelles issues des massifs alpins (France, Italie, Suisse, Autriche) et plus particulièrement du massif du Mont-Blanc. Elle propose un des plus beaux ensembles de fluorines rose-rouge, quartz fumés, axinites, sidérites, épidotes… de renommée internationale. Elle se poursuit autour du monde, partant des mines et carrières françaises, elle vous emmène à la découverte des pièces les plus emblématiques des cinq continents : azurites de Chessy-les-Mines, aigues-marines du Pakistan, pyrites péruviennes, dioptases congolaises et opales australiennes . . . ”
A new section will also be inaugurated : le Trésor – ” or, argent, cuivre … Saphirs, rubis, émeraudes . . .Topazes, aigues-marines, grenats . . . Métaux nobles, pierres précieuses et pierres fines, brutes ou taillées “;
parking: the paying car park of St-Michel is very convenient as you can take the lift straight to the entrance of the museum (great for a rainy day!);
Maison de la Mémoire et du Patrimoine Janny Couttet (Chamonix)
This little museum, nestled among the cafés, bars and restaurants of the rue des Moulins, houses the archives of Chamonix’s “patrimoine” (heritage archives). The building that houses the museum was originally a 19th century structure; this was renovated and inaugurated as a museum in 2012. There are changing exhibitions, with some lovely photographic displays / 🗓 opening hours: every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 14h to 18h; school holidays: open from 10h to 12h and 14h to 18h / guided visits: there are sometimes workshops for children over school holidays/guided visits for families (see here for more details) / price: 4€, reduced 2,50€;
parking: the nearest paying car parks are St-Michel and Mont-Blanc;
🖼 current exhibition: « La Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix. Une histoire d’adaptation » – 200 years of the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix (from 19th June 2021 until 14th May 2022);
website address: 90 rue des Moulins, 74400, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc / tel: +33 (0)4 50 54 78 95;
Hôtel le Hameau Albert 1er (Chamonix)
There are regular 🖼 temporary exhibitions at this iconix Chamonix hotel! / see here for more details;
FB page address: 38 route du Bouchet, 74400, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc / tel: +33(0)4 50 53 05 09;
Espace Mémoire – Musée Marcel Wibault (Chamonix)
Located near the centre of Chamonix, the Alpenrose was the home and workshop of artist Marcel Wibault, who settled in Chamonix early last century and never left; during his life, he never stopped painting his favourite theme – mountains! / This éspace memoire houses Marcel’s original paintings and there is a new exhibition each year / there are works also by Lionel Wibault, son of Marcel, also a painter / price: 3€ and free for all under 25 years / 🗓 opening hours: from June until September, 15h to 19h;
Place de l’Aiguille du Midi, Place du Triangle de l’Amitié & opposite Office de Tourisme (Chamonix)
There are often photo exhibitions in these three spots in Chamonix;
There are regular 🖼 temporary exhibitions in a special exhibition room at the médiathèque / FREE! / see here for more details;
Musée Montagnard (Les Houches)
The 🏔 Musée Montagnard is housed in one of the oldest 18th century houses in the centre of Les Houches and has been arranged to show three typical rooms of such a house: the pèle (bedroom/living room), the outa (kitchen) and the sarte (pantry). The museum houses a rich collection of traditional furniture and objects, largely provided by M. Albert Laprade, the eminent architect-urbanist, who was keen to protect the heritage of Les Houches / during the school holidays, there are often 🎨 creative workshops and tours on offer for the children and families, so do check with the Tourist Office or the FB page for details / to read the MBFF post, see here / 🗓 opening hours: see website (variable, according to season/holidays) / price: 4€ and FREE for under 18s; / /
parking: free parking on the hill behind the Tourist Office;
🖼 current exhibition: « Le Christ-Roi » – an exhibition about this famous sculpture that resides above Les Houches;
Médiathèque des Houches & Mairie des Houches
There are sometimes 🖼 temporary exhibitions (and workshops) at these places, so do check with Les Houches Tourisme.
address Mairie: Mairie des Houches, 1 place de la Mairie, 74310, Les Houches; address Médiathèque: 201 rue du Mont-Blanc, 74310, Les Houches;
Servoz retains its authentic rural mountain character, and this can be felt in its two museums open to the public, La Maison de l’Alpage & La Maison du Lieutenant: the former an old renovated farm from 1779, the other a fortified manor house from the XVth century:
La Maison du Lieutenant (Servoz)
This old fortified manor house is home to the permanent exhibition MESALPES, « L’agriculture de montagne, Coeur du territoire » – this presents a link between the alpine culture and agriculture of the olden days, with agriculture of today and of the future (multimedia, models and old alpine objects ) . . . and it hosts temporary exhibitions too! / 🗓 opening hours: open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and during school holidays 14h to 17h / 🎨 workshops: there are often workshops held here, for children and adults / NEW – café La Chirv’ette during the school holidays;
La Maison de l’Alpage (Servoz)
This old farm houses the tourist office and also the permanent exhibition 🖼 « Agriculture et paysages, les grandes mutations » : the Chamonix Valley and the footprint of humans over the century, from the first shepherds to the agriculturers of today, the fragile link between man and environment; a testament to the change of time: nature, architecture and ubanism, transport, infrastructure / 🎨 workshops during the holidays: « la fabrique de lait », cooking workshop with Basile, insects under a magnifying glass . . . / 🗓 opening hours: open Monday to Saturday (shut on Sundays), 9h to 12h and 14h to 18h; only open on Mondays during school holidays / FREE to visit!
website address: Maison de l'Alpage , Le Bouchet, 74310, Servoz / tel: 04 50 47 21 68;
Maison du Village (Argentière)
There are often 🖼 temporary exhibitions held at the Maison du Village / 🗓 opening hours: from Tuesday to Saturday, 9h30 to 12h and 14h to 18h / see here for more details about the Maison du Village;
address: Maison de Village d'Argentière, 101 route du Village, Argentière;
La Pharmacie des Artistes (Argentière)
🖼 La Pharmacie des Artistes is an art gallery, studio, picture framing shop and workshop space, run courtesy of:
- Andy Parkin – world renound alpinist and local artist;
- Tom Hine – of HineInk and picture framer;
- Alexandrine – a local artist with a passion for adreneline sports;
- Erin and Leanna – gallery manager, curator and promoter;
- and run in partnership with Peter and Anati of Rabbit on the Roof – hand-crafted skis;
Andy says on the FB page for La Pharmacie des Artistes: “ Climbing and life are, I believe, not about conquering or dominating, but adaptation. ” A good vision to have had, as he was forced to relocate after a fire at his previous studio Le Moulin des Artistes in Les Praz.
All artists – young and old – are welcome here, and there is an 🎨 après-ski session on Wednesdays
FB page address: 208 rue Charlet Straton, Argentière;
La Nuit des Ours (cultural summer festival in Vallorcine)
An artistic and cultural festival (with walks, talks, spectacles and ateliers) in the forest of Vallorcine in early August !
La Maison de Barberine (Vallorcine)
In 1986, one of the oldest houses in the valley (from 1705), was up for sale and some descendents of the the Ancey family (the Colas) decided to buy it and donate it to an association, whose aim would be to restore it and construct a museum dedicated to the local life of yesteryear, with art and artisan exhibitions / 🗓 opening hours: July and August (Tuesday to Saturday 14h30 to 17h30; Sunday 15h to 17h30; SHUT on Monday);
website address: Le Maison de Barberine, Barberine, 74660, Vallorcine / tel: +33 450 54 63 19;
PASSY & PLATEAU d’ASSY
Centre Culturel Municipal de Passy (Plateau d’Assy)
You’ll find temporary exhibtions on offer here!
address: Centre Culturel Municipal de Passy, 35 place du Docteur Joly, Plateau d’Assy, 74190, Passy;
La Crèmerie (art gallery & live music) in Plateau d’Assy
There are 🖼 regular temporary contemporary art exhibitions and music sessions in this gallery . . .
FB page address: 273 rue de l'Église, 74190, Plateau d'Assy;
Route de la sculpture contemporain (Passy ⇒ Plaine-Joux)
You’ll also find that Plateau d’Assy abounds with sculptures, along the winding road from Passy, and the beautiful stained glass windows at ⛪️ the Eglise Notre Dame de Toute Grace / for more information and guided tours, see here;
Cheminement en bord de l’Arve: parcours de l’eau artistique (Passy)
As you walk along 💦 the Arve river from Mountain Store, you’ll be rewarded with some sculptures that explore the surrounding nature . . . / worksheet here;
SALLANCHES & COMBLOUX
Château des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes (Sallanches)
Set in the historic 14th century Château des Rubins, just behind the Eglise St Jacques, the new Château de Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes is set across 4 floors (2500m2), and an immersive, light-filled and sonic journey takes you through different themes: 1° geology, 2° flora & fauna, 3° man & mountain 4° water – an environmental issue.
The new museum has a rich programme for the public and there are 🎨 events & workshops for children over the holidays:
And there are temporary photo exhibitions in the welcome area . . .
price: 7€ and children 5,50€, under 5 years FREE;
[ ⇒ for more information, see MBFF article here ]
website & FB page address: Château des Rubins - Observatoire des Alpes, 105 montée des Rubins, 74700, Sallanches / tel: +33 (0)4 50 58 32 13;
Médiathèque Ange Abrate (Sallanches)
There are sometimes exhibitions at 📚 the médiathèque in Sallanches, and the library is named after Italian artist Ange Abrate, who settled in Sallanches!
[ ⇒ for more information, see MBFF article here ]
« Exposition Montagn’Arts » – annual summer outdoor exhibition (les quais de la Sallanche)
During the summer months, 📷 photos grace the quais of Sallanches, making for a lovely shaded buggy walk, with a café stop.
La Ferme à Isidore (Combloux)
This 🏚 old farm, located near the centre of Combloux, has sporadic exhibitions / price: 3,50€ and children 1€ (under 10s FREE) / more information: Mairie de Combloux;
address: (association du Musée de la Pente) Ferme à Isidore, chemin de la Promenade, 74920, Combloux ;
Bibliothèque Municipale Combloux
There are regular 📷 temporary photo exhibitions at the bibliothèque in Combloux;
address: 83 route la Mairie, 74920, Combloux;
Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc, Le Fayet & Saint-Nicolas de Véroce
Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc promotes itself as 🖼 a hub of alpine contemporary art, and with reason, as there is much art on offer at various locations . . .
2KM3 car park, La Poste, la piscine and les télécabines (Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc)
During the summer of 2017, twelve French and international artists transformed all 11 floors – and the façade – of the multi-storey car park in the centre of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains into a unique work of art: 2KM3 (a collective street art project giving visitors a contemporary, living artwork, a whole new concept in how to integrate art into urban life!) / FREE to park and visit!
[ ⇒ see MBFF article for more 2KM3 photos ]
🎨 2KM3: Acte II – this was the second stage of this wonderful art project . . . this time, the artists tackled 💦 the Saint-Gervais swimming pool, the northern façade of La Poste and 🚡 the télécabines stations at Le Bettex.
Pick up 🗺 a leaflet from the Tourist Office, for a self-guided visit of the arwork . . .
La Maison Forte de Hautetour (Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc)
Looking down majestically upon Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc, La Maison Forte de Hautetour (13th century) was one of the several fortified manor houses of the region . . . in 2012, it was renovated, and today it houses an exhibition detailing the history of the Compagnie des Guides de Saint-Gervais, as well as hosting 🖼 temporary art exhibitions and artists-in-residence / during the school holidays there are sometimes 🎨 workshops for children/families here, so check the Saint-Gervais website agenda / 🗓 opening hours: open Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday 14h to 18h and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10h to 12h30 and 14h to 18h; SHUT on Mondays and all of November, 1st January, 1st May and 25th December / price: 5€ and children (5 to 18 years) 3,50€;
address: Maison Forte de Hautetour, 114 passage Montjoux, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains; tel: 04 50 47 79 80;
🖼 current exhibition: « Légendes du Japon » ⇒ until 8th May 2022 / ” Cet hiver, cap sur l’Asie avec une étonnante exposition de collections particulières d’art japonais ! Figures humaines nommées Ningyo, estampes japonaises mêlant paysages et personnages de l’ère Edo, et kimonos aux décors somptueux rappelant la nature et les paysages de montagne, autant d’œuvres et d’objets à découvrir proposant de plonger dans cet univers du monde flottant. Partez en voyage à travers les récits, les paysages et les savoir-faire d’une culture aux multiples facettes, dans un parcours en deux temps à la Maison forte de Hautetour et au Musée d’art sacré de Saint-Nicolas de Véroce. Avec les collections privées : Anne DEPIGNY, Anita HENRY, Silvain REVOLON “;
🖼 résidence artistique: ” En résidence de création à Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, Hélène Bellenger a été invitée à poursuivre ses recherches et expérimentations autour de la représentation de la haute-montagne. Travaillant par la réappropriation plastique et numérique d’images, son travail vient questionner la construction culturelle du regard et les soubassements politiques, économiques et techniques du « re » de représentation. Puisant dans les archives de la Maison forte de Hautetour, l’artiste joue avec l’histoire de la photographie pour renouveler et questionner l’iconographie de haute montagne ainsi que la production contemporaine d’images. À l’heure où les Parcs Nationaux prennent conscience des conséquences néfastes des réseaux sociaux sur la conservation de certains espaces, Hélène Bellenger interroge l’impact de la visibilité de ces paysages sur leur propre disparition. ” / an exhibition from her residency will be shown from March until May 2022;
Pile-Pont Expo (Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc)
🎨 Pile-Pont Expo is a unique and innovative contemporary art space, located in one of the piliers of the 2012 viaduct in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (the other pilier is home to a climbing wall!) / “a cathedral of concrete“, allowing for 160m² of exhibition space, 9m high / FREE to visit / 🗓 opening hours: open July to August, Tuesday to Sunday (14h to 18h) and September at the weekend, also 14h to 18h / guided visits in July & August and Toussaint holiday visits for schools and garderies;
address: Pile Pont Expo, culée du Pont de Saint-Gervais (rive gauche), 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains;
NEW – Matthieu Pilaud’s sculpture, from the previous exhibition Re-Generer, now has permanent pride and place next to the stairs leading down to Pile-Pont Expo;
« Reg’Art sur le Mont-Blanc » – summer outdoor photography exhibition (centre of Saint-Gervais)
If you wander through the centre of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains over the summer months, you can appreciate some beautiful photos . . .
« Lumières Saint-Gervais » (Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc)
Every year, at the end of December, Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc has ✨ a light festival, based on the concept of the bigger and more internationally-known annual ✨ « La Fète des Lumières » in Lyon . . .
Salle Géo Dorival (Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc)
There are 🎨 regular temporary exhibitions at the Salle Géo Dorival, in the centre of Saint-Gervais / 🎨 workshops for children from association Main dans la Main;
address: Salle Géo Dorival, 43 rue du Mont-Blanc, Saint-Gervais, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains;
Bibliothèque Municipale Fernand Braudel (Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc)
There are occasional 🖼 temporary exhibitions here, and an escape game to play: Panique dans la Bibliothèque (see here);
Parc Thermal open air museum (Le Fayet)
Over the summer months, 🌳 Le Parc Thermal turns into an 🖼 open air museum, with the 🖼 Plein Air – parcours d’art à ciel ouvert displaying artwork throughout the park! / this makes a buggy stroll even more enjoyable and cultural!
There is also a 🖼 NEW outdoor exhibition about the history of the thermal baths – you’ll find this near the duck pond in the park!
SAINT-NICOLAS de VEROCE
Musée d’Art Sacrée (Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce)
The ⛪️ Musée d’Art Sacrée in Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce is located in the old presbytery next to the beautiful church of Saint-Nicolas, at the entrance to the village. It displays about fifty sacred objects (wooden sculptures, paintings . . .) from the XVIth to XIXth century, retracing the history of the village / 🖼 temporary exhibitions are on display in the Salle des Colporteurs on the first floor / 🎨workshops for children during the holidays / 🗓 opening hours: every day (except Monday and Tuesday) from 15h to 18h; shut in November / price: 2€ to 3,50€, free for under 5s;
address: Presbytère de Saint Nicolas, Saint-Nicolas de Véroce, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains / tel: 04 50 47 79 80;
Le Plateau de la Croix (Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce)
There are sometimes 🖼 outdoor exhibitions here . . .
Megève & Praz-sur-Arly
Musée du Haut Val d’Arly (Megève)
An authentic 19th century farm, with objects from yesteryear / discover an old farmhouse: bedroom, workshop, kitchen . . . / good to know: special booklet available for children (7 to 10 years) / 🖼 permanent exhibition: « La Mémoire du Pays » / 🗓 opening hours: until April, 15h to 18h (see website) / price: 3,50€, children (7 to 14 years) 2,80€ and under 6 years FREE;
address: 70 rue Monseigneur Conseil, 74120, Megève / tel: 04 50 21 27 28;
Musée de Megève (Megève)
Located within the old Maison de Charité (to house the sick, the poor, orphans), a 17th century structure with a Baroque chapel / since 1982, when a new retirement home was opened, this old hospice has been used to host temporary exhibitions and it became the Musée de Megève in 1988 / 🖼 permanent exhibition: « Trois siècles de solidarité à Megève » / 🗓 opening hours: every day, except weekends and bank holidays (upon request, visit to exhibition and chapel) / see here for more information / FREE to visit!
address: 66 rue du Comte de Capré, 74120, Megève / tel: 04 50 21 27 28;
Musée de l’Ermitage du Calvaire (Megève)
Opened in 2013, this museum tells ⛪️ the history of the construction of the Calvaire, built between 1840 and 1878 (work of Father Ambroise Martin, curé de Megève, from 1820 until his death). The Calvaire is made up of ⛪️ 14 chapels and oratories, telling the story of the Passion of Christ / FREE to visit! / 🗓 opening hours: July and August from 14h to 17h30, shut on Saturdays and Sundays / see here for more information / good to know – visit the buvette Refuge du Calvaire when there, or hike the Sentier Nature into the Creux Saint-Jean!
address: Montée du Calvaire, 74120, Megève;
Médiathèque & Le Palais (Megève)
There are regular 🖼 temporary exhibitions at the médiathèque and at Le Palais;
address: Le Palais, 247 route du Palais des Sports, 74120, Megève;
Megève: an outdoor museum
Megève old town is a museum in itself, with 🖼 sculptures adorning every square and around many corners . . . the best way to appreciate the art is to just wander . . .
There are also regular 📷 photo exhibitions around town!
Praz-sur-Arly regularly has 🎨 an exhibition of outdoor sculptures or photos throughout the town . . . and you’ll find sculptures from pralinois Louis Chabaud (famous for his ” art singulier “) in the mini-golf at Les Belles;
Works by Adrianna Wojcik Muffat Jeandet, all about 🎨 le patrimoine touristique montagnard: « La naissance du tourisme montagnard », are available to see around Praz-sur-Arly [ Culture au Pays du Mont-Blanc: « Adrianna Muffat Jeandet Wojcik est une artiste plasticienne née en Pologne et ayant grandi en France. Son travail explore ses souvenirs de paysages, ses relations étroites avec la montagne, ses mondes intérieurs et diverses facettes de son subconscient. Elle s’est immergée dans le patrimoine photographique pralin et dans l’histoire du tourisme populaire montagnard. ✍️ Dans ses créations contemporaines(dessin, techniques mixtes), l’artiste a imaginé des paysages et a représenté ses acteurs du passé. » ]
Les Contamines-Montjoie & Notre Dame-de-la-Gorge
Jardin de Samivel (Les Contamines-Montjoie)
The 🖼 Jardin de Samivel is an open-air museum, dedicated to Samivel, watercolour painter, poet, romance writer, film-maker, explorer; having visited Les Contamines from a young age, Samivel became very attached to the village and its inhabitants, and he later threw himself into protecting nature, and especially our mountain habitat;
address: located just behind the church;
« Nature au Sommet » photo exhibition (Parc de Loisirs du Pontet / Domaine Nordique)
There is 📷 an outdoor photo exhibition in the Parc de Loisirs du Pontet (which becomes the Domaine Nordique come wintertime) . . .