Having already re-opened under the L’Oréal Paris label, 💦 Les Thermes de Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc underwent a huge renovation project last year . . .
These 💦 thermal baths are nestled in a verdant and bucolic spot at the bottom of 🌳 the Parc Thermal in Le Fayet : 💦 in the gorge du Bonnant and next to the Cascade des Thermes.
Steeped in history, the baths hold a special place in the hearts of locals.
Rich in minerals, 💦 the thermal waters have been attracting bathers since the 19th century. The 💦 spa water has a long journey before arriving in the complex: their journey starts 6500 years ago, among the underground rocks of some of the highest peaks in Europe . . . the water trickles through the rocks, and the journey of several thousands of years gives the water its rich mineral and trace element content (sulphur, magnesium, boron, silicon, copper, and even manganese). The waters are captured naturally at 39°C, and their therapeutic virtues have been proven medically over a couple of centuries: soothing, healing, anti-inflammatory, a decongestant, anti-ageing, recognised in the world of dermatology.
The 💦 Thermes de Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc are divided into (1) the SPA Thermal des Bains du Mont Blanc (massages are also on offer) and (2) the medical & cure section.
Today, you can even take 💦 the thermal bath waters home with you – Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc Eau Thermale offers its own range of cosmetics :
MBFF’s family visit to the Thermes
Last summer, just after the re-opening of the 💦 Thermes de Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, MBFF was invited to visit as a family.
I’ll be honest, when I was invited to take the family to 💦 the Thermes, I didn’t think the experience was going to be very relaxing. Fun, yes, as I knew the boys would love the experience (especially as Daddy MBFF’s architectural firm helped design the new section . . . ) . . . but relaxing? Standing in line with other families, with impatient children, I was even less sure . . .
BUT – there must certainly be something magical about the waters, as once we were following the parcours, it was so relaxing! The boys enjoyed the experience immensely, and they were calm! And, hence, I was calm and relaxed too! And I was so relaxed, that I barely noticed the other families and children!
A visit to the 💦 SPA Thermal des Bains du Mont Blanc is normally a 3h to 4h relaxation journey, though on a family visit you’re allocated a 2 to 2h30 time slot (my boys could have stayed all day!).
Le parcours bien-être : rez-de-chaussée
The parcours bien-être has been designed to take you on a poetic journey :
- 💦 the voyage of the water from the glaciers of our high mountains, to the depths of the earth, filtering through the underground rocks and near to magma;
- 💦 the different sensations of water, in all of its states . . .
There are many different relaxing zones on the ground floor: 💦 pools (indoors and outdoors, amid a beautiful landscaped area), saunas at different temperatures, hammams . . .
You don’t have to follow the parcours in order, but it is worth reading about each section . . .
Outside, the views of the gorge du Bonnant are beautiful throughout the year, any season . . . Kids will love the sensations of the first bath, and next ones are pure relaxation . . .
note: remember that sauna time should be limited for children (and not recommended for young children), and remember to re-hydrate. Children MUST NOT not to be left unattended in any of the areas!
Le parcours bien-être : 1ère étage
Upstairs, your parcours continues, exploring the sensations of the water once it has come up from its underground journey. The experience is very immersive, with sound and light accompanying some zones, letting you explore water across the different seasons . . .
Relaxation zone & tisanerie
The whole experience is relaxing, but upstairs there is an area where you can sit calmly in your robe and dry off a bit! You can help yourself to a tea, water or juice and there are some snacks on offer too. My little one was very happy with the carrots and bread sticks (I did eventually have to limit his consumption!).
NEW: 🌳🌧 La Forêt sous la Pluie
🌳🌧 La Forêt sous la Pluie is a new area of the Thermes, and MBFF was particularly excited about visiting, especially as Daddy MBFF’s architectural firm (Haag & Baquet Architectes) helped design it! We actually started our journey here, as this section was empty when we arrived.
We hung up our gowns, as you do throughout your experience at the Thermes . . . and went to explore . . .
The boys absolutely loved this section, which is dedicated to exploring the different sensations of 🌳 water in a forest – hot water, cold water, sprays, streams . . . this was certainly the most poetic part of the parcours for us . . .
The boys LOVED the different sensations !
Your family visit to the Thermes
💦 Les Thermes de Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc is very proud to welcome babies, young children (6 months to 13 years) and families to its spa waters, and reserves certain time slots for this!
Families have these options:
👨👩👧👦 « Accueil Famille » – for children 3 ⇒ 13 years and parents
when? Wednesdays from 13h ⇒ 15h (and also from 15h ⇒ 17h30 in haute saison) and Sundays 10h ⇒ midday (out of season) / Saturdays and Sundays during the school holidays (haute saison) from 10h ⇒ midday;
price: adults 34€ and children 16€;
👨👩👦 « Maman Bébé Papa » – for babies from 6 months ⇒ children up to 3 years
This session is encadré by a coach, with relaxing exercises . . .
when? Saturday morning from 9h ⇒ 10h (you are asked to arrive at 8h15);
price: adults 29€ (free for first baby) / 10€ for second baby;
NEW: « Yoga prénatal » – yoga pour femme enceinte
⇒ see here for more information;
Les Thermes : a little history
Here are the notable dates, as highlighted by Les Thermes :
1806 – Maître Gontard, a royal notaire, made an incredible discovery: the local bergers (shepherds) of the rural area took their flocks to the an area in what is now the Parc Thermal, as the grass there was always green, due to a warm water source. The notaire did some discreet research, and realised the virtues of this water, rich in minerals, and able to cure certain illnesses. He quickly bought the land and installed 4 wooden bathing huts . . . the ” miraculous waters ” were an immediate success!
1815 – the docteur Mattey proved the medical virtues of the water for skin care . . . people headed to the local hotels in growing in number, to go for soins.
1892 – the Thermes building contined to grow as a medical & cure destination, but in 1892 a natural disaster struck: on a very hot summer’s evening, a landslide of mud, rocks and ice swept down the mountain at huge speed, taking anything in its path with it. A hundred people at the Thermes died and the building was destroyed. The cause of the disaster was discoved by local guides: more than 200 000 m3 of water had accummulated over millions of years within the glacier de Tête-Rousse, and then suddenly exploded . . .
1914 – after the disaster, the glacier was put under watch, and works were undertaken to avoid a repeat incident. A new building for the Thermes was built soon afer, with an accent on hydrothérapie. Soon, the arrival of the railway, the building of the Tramway du Mont Blanc, new hotels and villas heralded a new burgeoning age: the âge d’or. WW1 put a pause on development;
1961 – the Thermes became well known nationally because of the treatment of the famous ballerina Janine Charrat . . . the dancer’s tutu had gone up in flames as she was performing live on TV and she was covered in 70 percent burns. She was successfully treated at the Thermes;
2010 – saw the creation of the Bains du Mont Blanc, with an extension of the indoor and outdoor pools and the medical centre was extended and renovated;
2016 – L’Oréal™ acquired the Thermes and its thermal water cosmetic products, and a first stage of renovations for the Thermes de Saint-Gervais was undertaken;
2018 ⇒ 2021 – more works were undertaken at the Thermes, with each section getting a renovation, both the medical side an the SPA Thermal des Bains du Mont Blanc : the baths were extended deeper into the gorge du Bonnant, the institut de soins was moved to the first floor in order to extend it and allow for the new cabines duo, the Foret sous la Pluie was envisaged and realised by Haag & Baquet Architectes, and salle de séminaire was also constructed, with a terrace;
[ ⇒ to read more about the history see website page here ]
You can also read more about the history of the Thermes in the welcome area and on panels in the Parc Thermal . . .
Le Parc Thermal (Le Fayet)
A family visit to the 💦 Les Thermes de Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc can be combined with proper exploration of 🌳 the Parc Thermal, which has so much to offer (especially over the summer months): 🥾 hiking paths and paths for strolls, Via Ferrata & rock climbing, a parcours d’orientation, picnic tables, the petit train, 🌈 a playground, plenty of 🌿 green grass for running and a summer art work à ciel ouvert . . .
[ ⇒ for more information about 🌳 the Parc Thermal, see separate MBFF article here ]
- 🚗 by car – the entrance to the Parc Thermal is from the D1205, which runs through Le Fayet (A40 exit Saint-Gervais – Le Fayet);
- 🚞 by train – you can take the Mont-Blanc Express to Le Fayet SNCF, and then it is a short 10mins walk to the Thermes through the Parc Thermal;
🅿️ parking: there is plenty of free parking on-site;
🎁 bons de cadeau: a voucher for a trip to the Thermes would make a beautiful treat for families with newborns or young children / see here;
🗓 opening hours: from Monday ⇒ Saturday 9h until 21h30, and Sundays from 10h until 20h / for family session opening hours, see above;