Colour code for listings:Pays du Mont-Blanc Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Argentière, Les Houches, Servoz and environs) & Vallorcine Passy & environs Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Le Fayet, Saint Nicolas de Véroce, Bionnassay & environs Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs Les Contamines & environs 🇫🇷 Further France 🇨🇭 Switzerland 🇮🇹 Italy
Agendas & Events for the holidays
Chamonix Mont-Blanc April AGENDA
1) Head to an Easter holiday event or Easter egg huntFor more information about Easter Egg hunts, see separate MBFF article here; Here are some of the events a-happening over the spring holidays :
🇫🇷 Petit Patapon (Annecy & alentours) – 30th March ⇒ 30th April 2022A festival for little ones in and around Annecy / see here for more information;
Les Petits Princes du Printemps: découverte des métiers (Megève) – from 14th ⇒ 21st April 2022This annual event from Megève will be taking place again over the spring holidays – creative activities a-plenty in the Place du Village:, from 10h to midday and from 14h to 17h:
- atelier sur bois – initiation au travail du bois de façon ludique avec ” Les Bambins des bois “. Dessine, découpe et décore ton œuvre puis ramène-la chez toi / à partir de 5 ans / inscriptions sur place le jour même / gratuit!
- maquillage avec Mam’zelle Pastel / à partir de 3 ans / / inscriptions sur place le jour même / gratuit!
🇨🇭 Pâkomuzé (Lac Léman, Switzerland) – from 15th April ⇒ 1st May 2022116 workshops offered by a host of museums around Lac Léman / www.pakomuze.ch/activites;
🇫🇷 Les Bambins de Pâques (Thonon-les-Bains) – 16th ⇒ 20th April 2022An Easter festival for children, with plenty of creative workshops / see here for more information;
🇨🇭🌷 « 52è Fête de la Tulipe » (Morges, Switzerland) ⇒ 8th May 2022See MBFF article or Morges Tourisme for more information about this 🌷 tulip festival in Morges, Switzerland (Lac Léman), now in its 52nd incarnation / 100,000 visitors every year, from Switzerland and abroad! / lots of special animations and a lovely stroll along the lakeside;
2) Sign up your kids for a spring holiday STAGE . . .If your kids belong to a sports club or association, then these organisations often offer stages over the school holidays . . . There are also lots of possibilites for outdoor stages, whether or not you belong to a club. Here are some suggestions:
- 🧗♂️ Koalagrimpe (Chamonix Valley) – various stages, including 4/5 ans, 6/9 ans, 10/13 ans (alpinisme) / FB page and reservations on website : www.koalagrimpe.com;
- 🧗♂️ Cocogrimpe (Chamonix Valley) – various different locations / inscriptions: email@example.com / FB page;
- 🧗♂️ Granit Escalade (Chamonix Valley) – stages for younger and older children / inscriptions: firstname.lastname@example.org / FB page;
- Mo Skate Club (Chamonix) – a stage from 18th to 22nd April, and with a day for parents on 1st May . . .
- Crossfit de la Vallée (Sallanches) – stages for children and ados;
- 🐴 Ecurie du Fiz (Le Fayet) – two stages offered / see flyer below;
- 🧗♂️ Le Palais (Megève) – lots of sports and creative activities on offer for the holidays: babygrimp and climbing, swimming, acrobatics, breakdance, creative workshops, ice-skating sessions, storytelling and more / see website agenda for more ideas;
Many of you parents will be working over the spring holidays, and you’ll be relying on our local garderies and accueils de loisirs – they’ll have superb activities on offer, with special springtime themes:
- MJC Chamonix – priority given to residents of la Communauté de Communes (Servoz – Les Houches – Chamonix – Vallorcine) and then residents hors communauté de communes / more information here;
- Antenne Les Houches;
- FJEP Passy & Office Municipal des Sports de Passy;
- Espace Animation (Vouilloux, Sallanches);
- MJC Saint-Gervais;
- MEG Loisirs & MEG ados;
- Vivre en Val d’Arly;
Spring SkiingWith the arrival of fresh snow last week, our ski stations that are still open got a new lease of life! Over the school holidays, locals and tourists alike can still enjoy a spring ski day! Here are some of your options:
- Chamonix Valley – mostly shutting 18th April 2022 (except Grands-Montets, which is the last ski station to shut, on 1st May 2022!);
- Saint-Gervais, Megève, Flaine & Courmayeur – shutting on 18th April 2022;
- Les Contamines-Monjoie – shutting on 24th April 2022;
- Les Grands-Montets & Verbier – shutting on 1st May 2022, with the famous closing party at G-M;
We live in a creative area here au Pays du Mont-Blanc and there are regular art activities on offer for youngsters . . .
Cat Kartal 🎨 Art & Nature (Argentière)There are no group sessions offered over the spring holidays, but contact Cat for the possibility of private 🎨 art classes in nature / ⇒ more information: Catkartal@hotmail.fr / http://www.chamonix-artschool / FB page;
🎨 Maison de la Créativité (Conches, near Geneva)See MBFF article about this FABULOUS creative centre for under 8s ! / website and FB page;
OR . . .
. . . perhaps you’d like to try out some spring and Easter themed art at home ? [ ⇒ for some more ideas for 🎨 Easter craft with children, see separate MBFF article here ]
As long as the rain holds off, then the spring holidays can be a fabulous time to enjoy our big outdoors, as nature is coming alive from under the blanket of snow, there are flowers and animals to observe, and many parks and gardens will be open . . . Our 🦌 local nature reserves offer lots of nature workshops and outdoor events for children and families over the holidays . . .
Animations Nature au Pays du Mont-Blanc (Communauté des Communes du Pays du Mont-Blanc)Check out the rich nature programme au Pays du Mont-Blanc here;
La Réserve Naturelle de PassyUp at the ⛰ Reserve Naturelle de Passy, there will be activities for children and families organised over the holidays! A couple of years ago, the MBFF boys took part in the Jeu
Les P’tits Experts de la Nature workshops (Centre de la Nature Montagnarde, SALLANCHES)FOUR fabulous nature workshops on offer from the Centre de la Nature Montagnarde in Sallanches! / from 14h to 16h / reservations: 04 50 58 32 13 / price: 8€ (discount for members / these workshops reserved for 6 (or 8) to 12 year olds / more information here;
La Réserve Naturelle des Contamines-MontjoieAlso organises activities over the school holidays . . .
. . . ÉCOMUSÉES – museums that teach about our local nature & patrimoineThere are several écomusées in and near the Pays du Mont-Blanc . . . some of these offer workshops for children over the school holidays. Here are some suggestions :
- Musée Montagnard (Les Houches) – there are always fabulous workshops and visits on offer here over the school holidays : mercredi 13/04 à 10h : animation famille costumée “Il était une fois les Houches” (dès 3 ans) / jeudi 14/04 à 10h : atelier enfant “Tricotin et compagnie” avec Thérèse Lachamp (dès 4 ans) / reservations: +33 (0)7 60 04 14 26 ou musee-montagnard[@]ccvcmb.fr;
- La Maison du Lieutenant (Servoz) – lots of artistic and nature-inspired activities over the holidays . . .
- 🌳 La Maison du Salève – check here for workshops / 🖼 current exhibition : ” La forêt, maison des animaux “;
- 🌳 Ecomusée du Bois et de la Forêt (Thônes) – there are activities scheduled here over the holidays / see website;
- Sentier des Arpelières (Val d’Arly) – a stunning walk through the tourbières (peat bogs) – a green palette this time of year, rather than the stunning autumn colours that I’ve described in a separate article (see here);
- 🍂 Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval & Les Anciennes Gorges des Tines;
- Roc de Chère (Annecy);
You must all know by now how much I enjoy observing and photographing 🌸 spring blossom ? This pursuit in Japan is called Hanami, and it is known to by good for the mind, body and soul! Let’s see how the poor blossom and magnolia trees cope with this abundant snow and rain of the last week . . . Fine weather and cherry blossom = the perfect time to visit a 🌳 park, garden, arboretum or castle grounds . . . [ ⇒ see MBFF article SPRING & SUMMER BLOSSOMS & FLOWERS au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond) ] Here are a handful of ideas for 🌳 parks & gardens au Pays du Mont-Blanc to visit over the spring holidays: 🌳 Parc Couttet – in the centre of Chamonix / FREE; 🌳 Jardin des Cimes – re-opening 1st May, so not open over our Zone A holidays ! / there is a small FEE for entrance to these gardens; 🌳 Parc Thermal (Le Fayet) is a wonderful spot for the whole family (playground, duck and fish pond, green space to picnic, kick a ball, ride a bike or draisienne, short walks . . .) / FREE! / ⇒ more information here;
As the snow melts, our options for 🏔 family hikes (without snow shoes!) increase . . . 🌷 in early spring, high altitude hikes will still have lots of snow cover, but there are still lots of lovely low-altitude walks to enjoy en famille / here are just a few suggestions for buggy-friendly, draisienne-friendly family strolls . . .
- 💦 RIVER strolls (Chamonix) – Arve and Arveyron;
- 💦 Paradis des Praz (Les Praz de Chamonix) – check snow cover;
- 💦 Lac des Chavants (Les Houches);
- 💦 Lac de Passy – with playgrounds and an Espace VTT;
- 💦 Passy – sculpture walk au cheminement de l’Arve;
- 💦 Sallanches – along the Bialle stream and into the Braconne woods / see MBFF article here / springtime town stroll – see MBFF article here;
- 💦 Lacs des Ilettes (Sallanches) – see MBFF article here / also fun to explore and picnic at the 💦 Cascade de l’Arpenaz (no buggies here and be very vigilant with small children!);
- 💦 Combloux’s «100% bio» – loop around the Plan d’Eau Biotope and beyond / 30mins / possible with cross-country buggies (note: the lake is currently being re-landscaped, so this stroll is not as beautiful as normally!);
- 🗺 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains’ parcours orientation: « A la découverte de Saint-Gervais » and the « Boucle des Maisons Fortes » – 1 hour / both available as free leaflets from Tourist Office in Saint-Gervais;
- 🗺 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains: « Charlotte la Marmotte au Bettex » – explanatory panels along the way / check snow cover with Saint-Gervais Tourisme;
- 🗺 Sentier Découverte in Les Contamines-Montjoie – along the Nant Borant river up to Notre-Dame de la Gorge / annotated panels explaining the history, nature and patrimoine of the area;
- 🗺 Le Reposoir – a stroll around this lovely mountain village and its Carmelite convent can be combined with one of the super parcours d’orientations offered for a small fee by Cluses Arves & Montagnes (see above);
- Doussard: La Réserve Naturelle du Bout du Lac – see here for more details;
- Saint-Jorioz: sentier thématique des roselières – a stroll along one of the largest reed beds of Lac d’Annecy / informative panels along the way, to learn about the reeds and the aquatic wildlife too / see MBFF article;
- 💦 Col de la Forclaz: the Bisse du Trient (irrigation channel from 1895 bringing water from the glacier du Trient to the Col du Forclaz) family walk / UPDATE 2020 – the path was repaired and a passerelle put in place after damage from mudslides – you can do this walk with an all-terrain buggy, but it is pretty bumpy, so I’d recommend a baby-carrier! / the easy path follows the course of the 💦 Bisse du Trient, with 🗺 a parcours ludique along the way, and at the end of the walk you are rewarded with a view of the Trient glacier and a café, La Buvette du Glacier (open in June) / aller-retour walk: 6,5km / NB: if small children are walking, it is imperative to hold their hand at all times, there is a steep fall! / more information in MBFF article;
& springtime hikesAs ❄️ the snow continues to melt up high, some of the 🏔 medium-high altitude family hikes will become accessible . . . / NB – on higher altitude walks, please do check snow cover before heading out, as winter leaves not just snow, but damage to paths! [ NB – don’t forget suncream, sunglasses, sun hats, warm clothing, waterproofs, first-aid kit, maps, emergency equipment and mountain rescue phone numbers . . . ] You may be hiking en famille with older, good walking children or perhaps heading out with walking toddlers or babies in baby carriers . . . for some inspiration for 🏔 family hikes au Pays du Mont-Blanc (both high and lower altitude) ⇒ check out MBFF separate MBFF articles:
- 🏔 MBFF’s recommended family hikes au Pays du Mont-Blanc;
- 🏔 FAMILY HIKES – tips for hiking with small children;
Further afield, you have some castles and their exquisite gardens to visit . . . here are some suggestions : 🏰 Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard (overlooking Lac d’Annecy) – MBFF visited for the first time for the Journées du Patrimoine 2020, and we fell in love with this fairytale castle! / see website for more details;
address: Château de Menthon Saint-Bernard, allée du Château, 74290, Menthon-Saint-Bernard;🏰 Domaine et Château de Montrottier (Lovagny, near Annecy) – 🗓 open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10h to 18h / lots of activities planned over the spring holidys ! / family price: 24€, adults 8,50€ and children 6€, children under 5 years free / website;
address: Domaine et Château de Montrottier, 60 allée du Château, 74330, Lovagny;🏰 Château de Ripaille (Thonon-les-Bains, Lac Léman) – MBFF went to an Easter egg hunt here one year, and explored the castle too! / see website for more details;
address: Château de Ripaille, 83 avenue de Ripaille, 74200, Thonon;🏰 Château de Voltaire (Ferney, near Geneva) – once the home of Voltaire, this pretty castle also has gardens to explore, and a huge Easter egg hunt ! / website & FB page; 🇨🇭🌳 Les Jardins du Château de Vullierens (Switzerland) – a special mention here for these superb iris gardens, the sculptures, and the fairytale parcours in the woods: Le Royaume du Roi Lézard . . . with a chocolate hunt scheduled over Easter weekend! / you can read more about these magical gardens in MBFF article Spring & Summer blossoms and flowers / see programme here;
website address: 396 chemin du Vallon, 74560, Monnetier-Mornex (near Salève/Annemasse);ACRO’Aventures Reignier – located between Annemasse and La Roche-sur-Foron / website;
address: route des Rocailles, 74930, Reignier;ACRO’Aventures Talloires – located above Lac d’Annecy, next to the parapente departure, you have lots of options here for younger and older kids, including La Foret des Sens; 🌳 Criq’parc (Saint-Jorioz, Lac d’Annecy) – especially good for little ones / FB page;
🗺 Jeux de piste and parcours d’orientation are a great way to encourage youngsters to have fun (and learn) outdoors! We have several superb options now au Pays du Mont-Blanc! [ ⇒ for some more ideas for 🗺 treasure hunts, parcours d’orientation and jeux de piste, see separate MBFF article here ] Chamonix Valley parcours d’orientation? We’ve done a few now, and they are superb! [ ⇒ see articles 🍁 Autumn Leaves orienteering in the Chamonix Valley or 🐸 An aire de jeux, a mare aux Têtards and a parcours d’orientation (Argentière) for more information ] There are also some 🗺 NEW parcours d’orientation to try in Saint-Gervais, the easier one in the Parc Thermal.
Our very own 🦌 Parc Animalier de Merlet (Les Houches) will be SHUT for winter hibernation until its re-opening on 1st May 2022, but you have other options not too far away . . . [ ⇒ for a longer list of suggestions for 🦌 animal parks to visit, see separate MBFF article here ] And here are a few options : 🇨🇭🦌 Zoo des Marécottes – is a fine option all year-round . . . an Easter Egg hunt over Easter weekend! 🇨🇭🦌 Conservatoire et Jardins Botaniques de Genève (Geneva) – the 🌷 botanical gardens in Geneva are open all year-round, and we are regular visitors . . . as well as the beautiful trees, plants and greenhouses, this park has a wonderful wooden playground, a magical carrousel in the warmer months, plentiful grass for running around and picnics and 🦌 a small FREE animal park with: deer, flamingos, peacocks, ducks . . . / there is also a restaurant & snack bar on-site / website; [ ⇒ see here to read MBFF article ] 🦌 Parc Animalier d’Introd (Aosta Valley) – we visited this superb animal park a few years ago, on a weekend visit to Cogne – the boys loved it! / opening hours: end of March until early December, 9h30 until 18h / FB page and website;
address: Localita Villes Dessus 9, 11010, Introd, Aosta Valley, Italy;
We have some super local farms au Pays du Mont-Blanc, many allowing visits . . . 🐂 La Ferme du Vieux Guide (Vallorcine) – FB page; 🐰 La Ferme Les Montagnards GAEC (Ormaret, Combloux) normally has FAMILY VISITS and activities on offer over the holidays / see FB page; 🐂 Ferme Le Gaec Val Mont-Blanc – the Paget family farm / cheese-making and tasting at this dairy farm / visiting hours: every Wednesday from 16h to 17h / address: 777 route de Saint-Gervais, Gemoëns, 74920, Combloux / tel (reservations): 06 16 33 71 74; 🐑 Chèvrerie Les Cabrettes – FREE guided visit 🗓 every Thursday 10h to 12h / this goat farm is located on the hillside at St Roch / flock: 100 chèvres alpines chamoisées, 45 chevrettes, 6 boucs, 2 ânesses / cheese for sale every day (except Sunday morning) 10h to 12h and 16h30 to 18h30 / address: Ferme des Cabrettes, 74700, Sallanches / reservations: 04 50 47 87 87 / 06 30 01 80 73; 🐂 La Ferme de l’Aberieux – nestled into the start of a walking path, this farm has 25 milking cows from the Tarentaise breed / sale of cheese: tomme de Savoie, bleu fermier, raclette de Savoie, fromage blanc, faisselle, yogurts, confiture de lait, l’abérieux (fromage à pâte molle) and butter / 🗓 opening hours: every day except Sunday morning / Albert can show you how to make cheese in the morning (reservations required) / cow milking from 17h30 / participation: 3€ and free for under 12s / address: 490 chemin du Pont de la Flée, 74700, Cordon / tel: 06 76 12 41 67 / website; 🐑 La Ferme des Roches Fleuries – you can visit this animal farm and buy produce too / FB page / address: 1510 route D’Orsin, Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains; further afield: 🐓 La Ferme de Chosal (Copponex) – an absolutely FABULOUS pedagogic farm, with animals, green-houses, land-art walk (Sentier Art et Nature), workshops, an ethical & social spirit . . . seedlings and plants to buy / see website for more details / 🗓 opening hours: every day / see website for more details / address: 98 route de l’Usine, Chosal, 74350, Copponex; 🐓 La Ferme Agricool (Saint-Paul en Chablais) – my boys have been on school and garderie visits to this super farm;
Springtime is the best time to experience 💦 waterfalls at their most powerful – with the spring melt, they truly come alive! [ ⇒ for more information about 💦 waterfalls au Pays du Mont-Blanc, see separate MBFF article here ]
Ice climbing may be over for the season, but as the weather warms, we can begin to climb outdoors once again . . . If you are not a experienced climber yourself, then thing about hiring a guide? / here are some suitable 🧗♀️ climbing & bouldering spots for families 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc:
- 🧗♀️ Chamonix Valley – Les Gaillands in Chamonix / Pierre d’Orthaz (bouldering) & Via Corda Alpina (Les Bois) / Les Houches (at Lac des Chavants) / La Joux (Argentière) / Col du Montets (Vallorcine) / Servoz / Vallorcine;
- 🧗♀️ Passy – Plaine-Joux – blocs d’escalade and Larses & Barmus (for more experienced);
- 🧗♀️ Lacs des Ilettes (Sallanches) – falaise d’escalade des Ilettes;
- 🧗♀️ Cordon – rocher d’escalade;
- 🧗♀️ Médonnet & La Pesse boulders (Nant-Cruy) – bouldering in a beautiful forest;
- 🧗♀️ Le Fayet – Le Parc Thermal (and Via Ferrata);
- 🧗♀️ Megève – Rochebrune;
- 🧗♀️ Les Contamines-Montjoie – rocher d’escalade de la Duchère;
🧗♀️ Via FerrataLater in spring, the 🧗♀️ Via Ferratas open . . .
- 🧗♀️ Via Ferrata des Evettes (Flegère, Chamonix) – see here for more details;
- 🧗♀️ Via Ferrata Curalla (Plateau d’Assy) – you can rent equipment from buvette on-site / see here for more details;
- 🧗♀️ Via Ferrata du Parc Thermal (Le Fayet) – new since 2018! / for more experienced climbers!
- 🧗♀️ Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval – see here for more details;
On a warm spring day, swimming and watersports become possible once again in one of our mountain lakes (and perhaps without even gritting your teeth!). We have options 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc for wibit softplay (Lac de Passy), paddle boarding, windsurfing, sometimes sailing courses (small boats): [ ⇒ for details about further afield lakes (Lac Léman, Lac d’Annecy, Lac du Bourget . . .), see MBFF article 💦 LAKES & WATERSPORTS au Pays du Mont-Blanc ]
and . . .But even before the lakes are warm enough for a proper family swim day, there is paddling to be done and sandcastles to be made . . . particularly good for this are 💦 Lac de Passy and the sandy beach of the swimming lake of 💦 Lacs des Ilettes . . .
The spring holidays are the perfect opportunity to head to one of our local playgrounds (some of them have been a bit under the snow over the winter months!) . . . many of of the playgrounds have been renovated over the last 5 years, and there is now more wood in evidence! [ ⇒ to read about MBFF’s favourite playgrounds, see here ]
The season is upon us, and 🌈 bouncy castles & trampolines will begin to appear (check dates) . . .
- 🌈 at vide greniers and local fêtes and festivals;
- 🌈 Restaurant La Cha (Le Prarion, Les Houches) – a gondola ride and short walk to arrive at this mountain restaurant with imposing views, a relaxing terrace (for parents) and bouncy castle (for children / check spring opening dates!
- 🌈 Lac de Passy – provided by Mont-Blanc Kids;
- 🌈 Lacs des Ilettes – provided by Le Parc en Folie;
- 🌈 Parc de Loisirs du Pontet (Les Contamines) – provided by Nash Mountain Games;
We have some pretty amazing 🛴 pumptracks and 🛹 skateparks au Pays du Mont-Blanc! I enjoy the different age-groups mixing there (though do be careful with tiny ones, as it can be intimidating!). MBFF’s favourite pumptracks?
- 🛴 Combloux – for the beautiful landscaping here, the view of 🗻 the Massif du Mont-Blanc, and the quantity and quality of acitivites on offer!
- 🛴 Sallanches – NEW – in construction !!! / sadly will NOT be open for the holidays (opening delayed by tresspassers to the chantier!);
- 🛴 Les Contamines-Montjoie – here you have a great pumptrack with a playground! And, you are right on the river path, if you fancy cycling or walking up to the fabulous Parc de Loisirs du Pontet or the pretty Notre-Dame-de-la-Gorge!
If the weather is good, it is lovely to head out for 🚵♂️ a bike ride in springtime! The 🚵♂️ higher altititude bike parks are mostly still shut for the season, but there are still plenty of great tracks all over the Pays du Mont-Blanc! Pick up a map from tourist office! [ ⇒ see 🚵♂️ separate article here for some ideas of where to head on a draisienne of small pedal bike ] smaller bike parks for younger VTT riders are open:
- 🚵♂️ Espace VTT Lac de Passy;
- 🚵♂️ Ludik Park – next to Les Belles playground (Praz-sur-Arly);
Why not go ⛸ ice-skating during the spring holidays? Though the outdoor rinks have now shut, we have ⛸ 3 indoor rinks here au Pays du Mont-Blanc – in Chamonix, in Saint-Gervais and in Megève. In Saint-Gervais, you can ⛸ skate every day at the rink over the holidays with Charlotte la Marmotte, from 10h until midday!
When you get some fine weather over the holidays, why not gain some altitude? A 🚠 cable-car ride or funicular is a fabulous option for older relatives with lesser walking ability, or as a starting point for some hikes . . . or simply just for some WOW factor! There will still be snow up high, so not all hikes will be open, but the ride in itself is fun ! / NB – likely to be shut in the event of bad weather and strong winds!
- 🚠 Aiguille du Midi – a visit to Chamonix for the first time (or with visitors) often includes a trip up the Aiguille du Midi viewing platform (3777m), with its 360° panoramic view of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps (and with the ascenseur, you can reach the terrace at 3842m) / ⇒ see MBFF article here for details about a family visit and activities on offer / opening hours: see here;
- 🇮🇹🚠 Skyway Monte-Bianco (Courmayeur) – opened in 2015, the 🚠 Skyway Monte Bianco is a marvel of Italian engineering and technology, giving you access to the Punta Helbronner (3,466m), with its views of Mont-Blanc (the 🚠 Télécabine Panoramique Mont-Blanc, across the glacier to the Aiguille du Midi, is also shut for renovations);
- 🇮🇹🚡 funiculars at Forte di Bard – there are 3 funiculars bringing you to the top of the fabulous Forte di Bard (see CASTLES section);
- 🇫🇷🚠 Téléphérique du Salève (Etrembières) – [ SHUT until 2023, for a huge renovation project !
- 🇨🇭 VerticAlp Emosson (Châtelard, Vallé de Trient) – re-opening mid May, so not yet open for the spring holidays! / three unique rail installations (Le Funiculaire du Chatelard, Le Train Panoramique, and Le Minifunic ), will bring you up to the Emosson dams (1965m), from Châtelard, for fabulous views and hiking opportunities and dinosaur prints too / website;
Most kids I know love trains – both playing with toy trains and tracks and a journey on a real one! Luckily, there are some memorable 🚂 train journeys (long and short!) 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc: 🚂 Montenvers cobble train & Mer de Glace – the iconic cobble train departs from Chamonix (behind SNCF train station) and heads up to the Montenvers glacier ! / ⇒ see here for MBFF article; 🚂 Petit Train Touristique Chamonix – see website for more information; 🚈 Mont-Blanc Express from Le Fayet ⇒ Martigny – with a carte d’hôte, you can take this train for FREE between Servoz and Vallorcine . . . and it goes as far as 🇨🇭 Martigny in Switzerland! / a lovely excursion, with views of the snowy peaks throught the upper windows . . . / ⇒ see here for more details; 🚃 Le Tramway du Mont-Blanc – is the highest-reaching cobble train in France, leaving from Le Fayet or Saint-Gervais and reaching up to the Nid d’Aigle (2372 m) / journey up through forests and fields of ❄️ SNOW / ⇒ see here for more details; 🚂 Le Petit Train du Parc Thermal (Parc Thermal, Le Fatyet) – as the weather warms, this little train (run by volunteers) starts operating again on Wednesday and weekend afternoons / donations welcomed! 🇨🇭🚂 Swiss Vapeur Park – see below section AMUSEMENT PARKS;
Children are sure to enjoy a visit to 🌈 an amusement park, and we have a few options au Pays du Mont-Blanc:
- 🌈 Parc de Loisirs du Pontet (Les Contamines-Montjoie) – some of the park’s activities are on offer over the spring holidays: mini-golf; pédalos; tennis; accrobranche; poney rides; piste de ski à roulettes, restaurant ‘Chalet du Lac‘ / ⇒ see website for more details or MBFF article;
- 🛷 Megève Luge 4 Saison at Le Jaillet;
- 🛷 Speed Dragoz, la luge des Carroz (Les Carroz) – see here;
- 🌈 Parc d’Activités (Montriond) – next to the stunning lake, you’ll find mini-golf and other activities / FB page;
- 🌈 Parc Walibi Rhone-Alpes – price: from 22€ / website;
This article has largely concentrated on 🌳 outdoor activities, but if you decide to head to 🖼 a local museum, then we have some superb ones, with 🎨 great workshops on offer over the holidays! Remember that the 🖼 Musee Alpin (Chamonix) is now SHUT for a huge 4 year renovation programme! [ ⇒ for a more extensive list of 🖼 MUSEUMS & CURRENT EXHIBITIONS au Pays du Mont-Blanc, see MBFF article here ] Have you visited the newly renovated Musée des Cristaux ? The 🖼 Musée Montagnard (Les Houches) is fabulous for families! / see here for holiday programme; ⇒ 🇫🇷🇨🇭 further afield, there are some NEW exhibitions that look fabulous : ⇒ for a more extensive list of 🖼 MUSEUMS & CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in nearby France, see MBFF article here and for 🖼 MUSEUMS & CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in nearby Switzerland & Italy, see MBFF article here ] Or how about enjoying 🖼 an outdoor art exhibition ? It’s the season for it! / ⇒ see here for more information;
A great way to expend some energy is to grab a basketball or football and head off to one of the 🏀 FREE terrains multisports on offer au Pays du Mont-Blanc . . . some, as you can imagine, have sublime mountain views to enjoy as you score goals or shoot some hoops! Here are a few suggestions:
🏀 Terrains de Sports
- 🏀 Chamonix – the running track at the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon has some options also for ball games / also next to médiathèque;
- 🏀 Les Houches – terrain multipsorts behind the patinoire (where you can rollerskate or rollerblade in warmer months);
- ⚽️ Servoz – two football pitches near the rocher d’escalade;
- 🏀 Vallorcine – there is a small terrain de sports right next to the Gare SNCF and the playground;
- 🏀 Sallanches – in the sports zone near the swimming pool, tennis courts, stades de football, rugby and the indoor Centre Sportif de Cayenne . . . you will also find some NEW outdoor basketball pitches;
- 🏹 Sallanches (near Centre de la Nature Montagnarde) – indoor and outdoor centre for pétanque and archery;
- 🏀 Combloux – possibly the terrain de sports (City Stade) with the best view au Pays du Mont-Blanc! / bonus: a playground for little ones, a freestyle parcours, a pumptrack & skatepark, proximity to town (lovely boulangeries for picnics and restaurants) and family walks!
- Saint-Gervais – a new small football pitch near the pumptrack;
- 🏀 Praz-sur-Arly – terrain multisports at Les Belles / bonus: playground, mini-golf, bike park, tennis, buvette in warmer months;
- 🏀 Les Contamines-Montjoie Loyers – basketball hoops in Parc de Loisirs du Pontet, and you can play street hockey where the patinoire sits in wintertime;
🎾 Tennis CourtsAnd you’ll find 🎾 indoor and outdoor tennis courts here:
- 🎾 Centre Sportif Richard Bozon (Chamonix) – there are both indoor and outdoor tennis courts and squash courts available at the sports centre / see here for more details / tel: 04 50 53 28 40;
- 🎾 Tennis Les Iles (Argentière) – reserved for sporting clubs / tel: 04 50 54 09 59;
- 🎾 Servoz – outdoor tennis courts next to the pumptrack and playground;
- 🎾 Lac des Chavants (Les Houches) – outdoor tennis courts at the base de loisirs, next to playground;
- 🎾 Tennis Club de Passy – both indoor and outdoor courts / see website for more details / address: 410 rue du Stade, 74190, Passy (not far from Mountain Store) / tel: 04 50 78 10 93;
- 🎾 Plateau d’Assy – two outdoor tennis courts / reserve through Passy Office de Tourisme / address: 231 rue des Granges, 74190, Plateau d’Assy, Passy;
- 🎾 Tennis & Squash Municipales & Tennis Club du Mont-Blanc (Sallanches) – outdoor courts and two indoor tennis and squash courts / opening hours: see here / address: 283 avenue Albert Gruffat, 74700, Sallanches / tel: 04 57 44 41 83;
- 🎾 Combloux – outdoor courts behind the Plan d’Eau Biotope;
- 🎾 Cordon – 2x FREE courts at la Charbonnière (tennis ballon played here also) / 1 court (12€ per hour) at Hotel du Chamois d’Or (tel: 04 50 58 05 16);
- 🎾 Parc Thermal (Le Fayet) – 2x quicks;
- 🎾 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains – Sporting Club (798 avenue de Miage, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains) has 6 outdoor courts and a mini-tennis and
You can find ⛳️ mini-golf areas at these locations 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc (check to see if these are yet open!) :
- ⛳️ Vallorcine – a 9-hole mini-golf at the Résidence & Spa Vallorcine / open to non-guests for an entrance fee / from 15h / see here for more details;
- ⛳️ Lac de Passy– there is a mini-golf next to the pedalos & electric boats / see here for more details;
- ⛳️ Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc – there are mini golf centres at the Sporting Club (next to tennis courts; see here) and the Mini Golf du Bettex;
- ⛳️ Megève – there is a mini-golf next to the tennis courts / see here;
- ⛳️ Praz-sur-Arly – Mini-Golf d’Art Singulier at Les Belles playground area / see here;
- ⛳️ Les Contamines-Montjoie – there is a mini-golf in the Parc de Loisirs du Pontet / see here;
🏎🛴 Karting & Electric TrottinettesAs the snow melts, 🏎 the karting tracks will begin to re-open (some are open all year-round):
- 🏎 Karting du Mont-Blanc (Lac de Passy) – for children 7+ years (1.25m minimum) / open Wednesdays and weekends / address: Lac de Passy (Parking des Criques) / tel: 04 50 93 75 37 or 06 80 14 68 19 / website;
- 🛴 Trot Top (Lac de Passy) – la trottinette électrique tout terrain / see here for more details;
- 🏎 Nash Mountain Games (Les Contamines-Montjoie) – there are new quad karts in the Parc de Loisirs du Pontet / FB page;
- 🏎 Mountaincart (Les Carroz) – (not yet available in springtime !) open summertime until 2nd September / head down a parcours of 4km, with 600m of dénivelé / access via Télécabine de Kédeuze / for children measuring above 1m40! / information here;
- 🏎 MK Circuit (Scientrier, betwen Bonneville and Annemasse) – available for children 7+ years (1.25m minimum) / address: 2930 route de l’Arve, 74930, Scientrier / tel: +33 (0)4 50 25 53 47 / website;
- 🏍 Mountain E-Park (Les Gets & Mont-Saxonnex) – motos for children and snowmobiles over the winter season / address: 529 route de Gibannaz, 74260, Les Gets / tel: 06 76 96 88 98 / FB page;
🌈 Try out PAINTBALLING or LASER GAMES!🏔 Au Pays du Mont-Blanc, there are 🌈 paintball & outdoor lasergame zones in: the Chamonix Valley, near Lac de Passy and in Megève . . .
- 🌈 Chamonix Paint-Ball (Chamonix) – paintball & lasergame (12+ years) / website / address: route de la Promenade des Crèmeries, Chamonix / tel: 06 07 36 01 51;
- 🌈 Paintball Mont-Blanc (Les Tines) – is located in the forest in Les Tines (8+ years) / website / address: Les Liarets, lieu-dit Les Tines, 74400, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc;
- 🌈 Fiz Paintball (near Lac de Passy) – five different zones to play (classic, forts, jungle, speedball, airball) for 8+ years / 🌈 website / address: Lieu-dit « Les Îles » (autoroute A40, sortie n°21 « PASSY – SAINT GERVAIS »;
- 🌈 Paintball Experience Megève– paintball, lasergame, archery tag, airsoft . . . / 6 games areas / for 6+ years / website / address: chemin du Thorbiau, 74120, Megève;
A spa visit en familleA 💦 thermal bath or spa day can be a lovely way to relax en famille, and you have superb (and larger) options in 🇨🇭 Switzerland, just past Martigny, where the whole family will be welcome. In a light drizzle, the outdoor baths would also be fine . . . Here, 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, we have some smaller options for 💦 thermal springs and spas and children’s soins . . . but children often have to be 14+ years for entrance: 💦 QC Termes Chamonix – 14+ age entrance / recently open, 💦 QC Terme Chamonix Mont-Blanc (run by the same company that owns QC Terme Pré Saint-Didier in Italy) / features: pools, whirlpools, hydrojets, Vichy forest showers, salt room & halotherapy, saunas, steam baths, chromotherapy, a Japanese bath, a Kneipp path, relaxation rooms, an olfactory space / massages & treatments / check the website for more information . . .
address: promenade du Fori 480 ,74400, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc;💦 Les Granges d’en Haut (Les Houches) – this is one of my favourite spas au Pays du Mont-Blanc: small, stunning views and friendly and professional staff! / it is run by Deep Nature and there is: an outdoor Finnish sauna and Nordic bath on the terrace, and indoors there is a small swimming pool, lounging chairs, hammams and sauna / good to know – there are also yoga and pilates classes held here / booking a massage or treatment allows you entry to the spa and pool; or you can simply purchase entrance to the spa and pool for 29€ / Deep Nature also offers a series of children’s soins / see website for more details;
address: 1000 route des Chavants, 74310, Les Houches / tel: +33 (0)4 85 30 00 17;💦 Résidence & Spa (Vallorcine) – the Spa du Mont-Blanc by Cinq Mondes is open to non-hotel visitors by reservation / there are also children’s soins available (children must be accompanied by an adult) / see website for more details;
address: Résidence & SPA Vallorcine Mont-Blanc, Chef Lieu, 74660, Vallorcine; tel: +33 (0)4 50 54 75 20;[ ⇒ see MBFF article 💦 Chamonix Valley Spas & Massages for more ideas for spas in the Chamonix Valley ] 💦 Les Thermes de Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc (Le Parc Thermal, Le Fayet) – these thermal baths (famous for the curing properties of its thermal waters), have been renovated and re-branded and offer: a parcours through the spa facilities, massages, and they sell their own products / for 13+ years / family options available ! / produce for sale / website; [ ⇒ see MBFF article here, to read about our family visit ]
address: 355 allée du docteur Lépinay, Le Fayet, 74170, Saint-Gervais les Bains;💦 Balnéo en famille (Le Palais, Megève) – see here for more information; 🇨🇭 futher afield in Switzerland, where families with small children are well-accommodated: 🇨🇭💦 Les Bains de Saillons (Valais, Switzerland) – set among terraced vineyards, with a view of the little castle atop the medieval bourg, this spa and aquatic centre has both indoor and outdoor attractions . . . three thermal pools (32 to 34°C), a semi-Olympic pool (28°C), a thermal river (120m long), hammam, sauna and jacuzzi and more . . . / there are restaurants and hotel facilities on-site! / price: adults CHF24 to 28, children (4 to 16 years) CHF13 and FREE for under 4s! / NB – keep a watchful eye on children in the river rapids; it can get very busy in here!
address: route du Centre Thermal 16, 1913, Saillon, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)27 602 11 11;🇨🇭💦 Les Bains de Lavey (Vaud, Switzerland) – have a lovely location and are reserved for 4+ years / FB page & website;
address: route des Bains 48, Lavey-Morcles, Switerland;🇨🇭💦 Leukerbad (Loèche-les-Bains, Switzerland)– much further afield, but worth a mention as these thermal baths have a beautiful setting, amidst the snowy mountain peaks . . . a visit here is a real escape, a mix of well-being and fun! / there are 10 pools (between 28°C and 43°C!), and a new bassin aventure, two dedicated pools for children and waterslides (one with inflatable rings) / price: adults CHF 25 to 30, children (8 to 16 years) CHF 14 and free for under 8s and open to all children from birth! / massages for children & parents available / website; 🇨🇭💦 Les Bains d’Ovronnaz (Valais, Switzerland) – nestled in a cirque of mountains, there are two outdoor pools here, and indoors there is a children’s paddling pool / massages for children & parents available / restaurant on-site (Panoramic Alpine Spa under renovation, due to fire damage) / website; 🇮🇹💦 Pré St Didier QC Termes (Aosta Valley, Italy) – this spa, through the Mont-Blanc tunnel and a bit further, is reserved for 14+ years (for ultimate parent and adult relaxation!) / website;
Visit a new village or town au Pays du Mont-BlancAre there any villages or towns you’ve not yet visitied au Pays du Mont-Blanc? Or a bit further away? Many of them have themed walks or treasure hunts available, to help you learn about the patrimoine and sights – if you head into the tourist offices, they can help out! Here are some ideas:
- Chamonix – several treasure hunts up and down the valley available, all accessible from nearest SNCF station;
- Sallanches – a springtime stroll through town / see MBFF article here, and pop into the tourist office on your way for a leaflet about some of the main patrimoine sights;
- Combloux – boucle du patrimoine;
ORYou might be interested in taking a guided visit over the holidays . . . here are some ideas : 🗻 Chamonix Valley – « Les Virées Culturelles de Christine » – see website for more details; 🗻📷 Chamonix Valley – « Teresa Kaufman’s Photo Walks » – see website here; ⛪️ Passy & Plateau d’Assy – visit the architectural wonders (the sanitoriums, the beautiful church and more) / more details on Passy Mont-Blanc Tourisme;
🗻 Visite guidée de l’entreprise Lorenzio Granit du Mont-Blanc (Combloux) – visit Lorenzio’s granite production and learn about the métier des graniteurs, from the extraction of the granite, to the finished product (chimeys, work desks, fountains, tables and more . . . ) / see here for more details / when? every Friday from 17h to 17h45 / price: 5€ and free for under 15s / address: 340 route de la Barme, 74920, Combloux / reservations: here;🏦 Combloux – occasional visits of PLM hotel and town; ⛪️ Cordon – visit the Baroque church / more details on Cordon Tourisme; 💦 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains – visits of the maisons fortes and old hotels and history of the Thermes; ⛪️ Megève – visit the old town or the route de la Calvaire / more details on Megève Tourisme; ⛪️ Les Contamines-Montjoie – occasional guided visits of Baroque church;
It can be fun to head to a 🍏🍓🥦 bustling MARKET 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc . . . there is so much colour and so many different smells and sounds to discover! Perhaps for a mere wander, or perhaps to buy picnic provisions for later in the day or to pick up a roast chicken!
SATURDAY – 🍇 Marché de Chamonix (8h until midday) / 🍓 Marché de Sallanches (8h until 13h) / Pain de Chibon à Gamm Vert, Domancy (16h30 to 19h) ;
TUESDAY – 🍞 Marché Paysan & Pain de Chibon (parking de Carrefour Chamonix) – 16h30 until 19h / 🥦 Marché de Chedde in Passy (8h until midday) / 🍒 Marché aux Contamines-Montjoie (8h until midday) / 🥦 « Le P’tit Marché Paysan de Produits Locaux » (Sallanches, 16h30 until 19h30) – support local producers & local economy, local agriculture and their short growing seasons, and help to create a social link; each week there are several local producers; address: GAEC Les Armaillis, 74700, Sallanches; tel: 06 63 04 32 35; see here for more details;
WEDNESDAY – 🍞 Marché Paysan à la ferme – Les Houches & Pain de Chibon (from 15h until 18h) / 🌶 Combloux (8h until midday) / 🍒 Marché du Fayet (8h until 13h), in front of the Gare SNCF;
THURSDAY – 🥦 Marché de Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc (8h until 13h);
FRIDAY – 🍏 Megève (8h until 13h);
The spring holidays are the ideal oppotunity to get away for some day trips or a weekend away . . . Au Pays du Mont-Blanc we live at the crossroads with Italy and Switzerland, so we are spoiled for choice for day trips : Annecy, Evian, Yvoire, Geneva, Martigny, Lausanne, the Aosta Valley . . . Haute-Savoie, Savoie, l’Ain, in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes – and within a 3 to 4 hour drive ! There are great cities, towns, villages, lakes and rivers and countryside to visit . . . ⇒ see separate article (I’m working on it!) for some suggestions ]