5 TOP SPOTS for PADDLING in NATURE au Pays du Mont-Blanc

I think that most kids enjoy 💦 paddling in shallow water, correct ?

Here au Pays du Mont-Blanc, we have great options for 💦 paddling pools at public swimming pools, but also out in our glorious nature ! Here are some of your options for 💦 indoor or outdoor (or both) paddling pools, where babies and toddlers can play safely, at our local swimming pools :

  • 💦 Chamonix – outdoor;
  • 💦 Sallanches – indoor & outdoor;
  • 💦 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains – indoor;
  • 💦 Megève indoor & outdoor;
  • 💦 🇫🇷 Cluses

[ for some more ideas of where to paddle further afield – pataugeoires in Geneva, etc . . . see article 💦 SUMMER SPLASH ]

Le Palais Megève – outdoor paddling pool © montblancfamilyfun.com


Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Argentière, Les Houches, Servoz) & Vallorcine

Passy & environs

Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy

St Gervais, Le Fayet, Saint Nicolas de Véroce, Bionnassay & environs

Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs

Les Contamines-Montjoie & environs

🇫🇷 Further France 

🇨🇭 Switzerland 

🇮🇹 Italy

Paddling options in nature

Our grand nature playground offers us some 💦 natural paddling areas too, and when kids are paddling in nature, they are :

  • 🦎 exploring . . . finding tadpoles and newts and learning about their different life phases (please teach them to put them back!) and fossils;
  • 🐊🐍 using their imaginations (my boys like to pretent that they are exploring the Amazon, encountering 🐊 caymans and 🐍 anacondas . . .);
  • ☀️ getting the benefit of the great outdoors (fresh air, sunshine . . .);
  • 🪨 balancing on rocks, building dams . . .

Here is 💦 MBFF’s pic of spots to go paddling with little ones (or bigger ones!) . . .

[ DISCLAIMER: always be careful, as many of 💦 our mountain rivers are part of hydroelectric projects, meaning that they are prone to flash-flooding / if there is a sign saying ⚠️ DO NOT ENTER THE WATER, then DO NOT enter the water! Never take your eyes off little ones close to water, as they can quickly step out of their depth (this is the case at our nearby swimming lakes) or get caught in a current ! ]

Chamonix Valley

Le Paradis des Praz

There is a lovely 💦 natural paddling pool at Le Paradis des Praz – for a paddling experience in nature, you cannot beat this gurgling stream running through the woods!

facilities: rafts, playground, sand-pit, pony rides, buvette . . . 

🅿️ parking: park at golf car park in Les Praz (currently being re-landscaped) or in Les Tines and then walk or cycle here;

[ see MBFF article for more information about this bucolic location ]

© Le Paradis des Praz
Paradis des Praz © montblancfamilyfun.com
La Mare aux Têtards (Argentière woods)

Like Paradis des Praz, but without the buvette, here you’ll find a 💦 stream for paddling here – earlier in the season, you’re likely to find tadpoles and newts (be gentle with them!). Head here with a picnic blanket and a good book, and you’re set for the day!

facilities: a playground, picnic tables, a parcours aventure, nearby the lovely Crèmerie du Glacier buvette;

🅿️ parking: park at the Grands-Montets car park and then walk for 10mins to access this bucolic spot;

[ see MBFF article for more information about 💦 La Mare aux Têtards ]

La Mare aux Têtards (Argentière) © montblancfamilyfun.com


Sallanches quais

You can get right down to the water’s edge by 💦 the Sallanche river, and there are some shallower spots for children to paddle. The MBFF boys and their pals love to do this!

It’s a lovely spot to picnic or have an ice-cream, and there are also lots of lovely restaurants and cafés along the quais.

🅿️ parking: you have FREE parking at nearby car parks La Frasse or Lévaud (Château des Rubins) or a paying underground car park;

[ see separate MBFF article for more information about paddling in the Sallanche river ]

Riverside splash in Sallanches © montblancfamilyfun.com
Sallanches – an alternative « Fête de la Musique » © montblancfamilyfun.com


Arly-Plage & Berges d’Arly (Praz-sur-Arly)

The 💦 Arly river is a superb place for paddling, and you’ll find some grey sand underfoot, so don’t forget your buckets and spades!

facilities: picnic tables and BBQ facilities, playgrounds (you are near the Base de Loisirs des Belles and there is another small playground for little ones nearby);

🅿️ parking: park at the winter ski lift car park in Praz-sur-Arly, and then cross the bridge to get to this lovely spot!

[ for more information about 💦 Arly-Plage & Berges d’Arly, see separate article here ]

Arly-Plage © montblancfamilyfun.com

Les Contamines-Montjoie

Lac de l‘Etape (Les Contamines-Montjoie

A visit to the small 💦 Lac de l’Etape in Les Contamines-Montjoie is such a bucolic visit en famille . . . you can either hike up there with older children, or you can take the 🚡 Télécabine de la Gorge (this is exciting in itself for little ones; opening hours) . . .

Once there, small children can paddle or play with pebbles . . . Older children can take out the mini boats, play in the playgrounds . . .

full disclosure: this is NOT a natural mountain lake; it is re-filled with fresh water each summer season!

🌟 NEW in 2020 – a NEW playground, water games and pétanque

good to know – if you book to stay the night at the Hôtel Bar Restaurant de l’Etape, then you can take 🚡 the Télécabine de la Gorge for free! (the MBFF experience: back in 2015, we had an overnight & dinner in the Hôtel Bar Restaurant de l’Etape – it was our luxurious take on a refuge en famille, as we weren’t quite ready for dortoirs, being still quite sleep deprived with an 18 month old in tow!);

also good to know: a visit to this small lake can also combine nicely with the activites on offer in the 🌈 Parc de Loisirs du Pontet, or a little overnight camp at the 🏕 campsite Camping le Pontet

🅿️ parking: park at the 🚡 Télécabine de la Gorge;

[ for more information about 💦 Lac de l’Etape, see separate article here ]

Lac de l’Étape in Les Contamines-Montjoie © montblancfamilyfun.com
NEW watergames at Lac de l’Étape © montblancfamilyfun.com
Lac de l’Étape in Les Contamines-Montjoie © montblancfamilyfun.com
NEW Aire de Jeux at Lac de l’Étape © montblancfamilyfun.com
Alpage de Miage (Saint-Gervais / Les Contamines-Montjoie)

It takes a little more effort to get to this 💦 paddling spot . . . but it is certainly worth it!

A hike from Champel is the shortest access on foot – and once at the Alpage de Miage, you have the choice of a couple of 💦 mountain torrents for paddling. Boy are these mountain streams cold (coming down from the glaciers above!) – they feed into the Torrent de Miage below.

You have plentiful grass for picnics!

You can stop in at the Refuge de Miage for lunch, a slice of home-made tarte or refreshments!

Alpage de Miage © montblancfamilyfun.com

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