Family Fun au Pays du Mont Blanc: adventures & culture for families and children in Chamonix, Les Houches, Argentière, Servoz, Vallorcine, Passy, Plaine Joux, Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon, Domancy, St Gervais, Le Fayet, Les Contamines, Megève, Praz-sur-Arly and beyond
FAMILY HIKES: le Sentier Nature du Calvaire & le Creux Saint-Jean (MEGEVE)
MBFFhiked this trail a couple of times last year, and we can confirm that it is fabulous for families with small children! It would be lovely to do in 🍂 autumn, with the changing colours, but do leave it for a dry day, as it could be quite slippery underfoot after rain!
You get a mixture of religious history, art & architecture andnature on this hike – something to please everyone!
The Chemin du Calvaire, located between the centre of the old town in Megève and the Plateau du Mont d’Arbois, is unique in France (in contrast, you’ll find several “monts sacrés” in neighbouring Italy): a trail mixing religious and architectural history. The trail is dotted with 15 small oratories and chapels and around 50 wooden sculptures (each unique and built in a different architectural style) recounting the Life and Passion of Christ, and it is possible to walk up and down the Chemin du Calvaire all year long. Built between 1840 and 1878, the Chemin du Calvaire was the vision and work of le Père Ambroise Martin (1791-1863), priest in Megève, from 1820 until his death. At one time, due to the number of religious pilgrims it attracted, the Calvaire was known as the “ Jerusalem of Savoie “!
The Chemin du Calvaire is only 1km in length, but it is steep! Luckily, there are plenty of benches for rests and picnic stops along the way. And you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view over the Val d’Arly.
Henry Jacques Le Même’s (architect) homeHenry Jacques Le Même (1897 – 1997) was a French architect, known especially for his creations in Megève. In 1925, he settled in Megève and set up his firm. He was then recommended by the industrial Adolphe Beder to build for baroness Noémie de Rothschild, who asked him to build her a chalet in Megève. « Un chalet qui ressemble aux fermes du pays mais avec un intérieur très confortable, avec de grandes fenêtres ouvertes sur les paysages, une vraie cheminée, un porche abrité des tempêtes et un ski-room pour farter les skis. », with an interior in art-deco style. His own Megève home was built on the chemin du Calvaire, and you’ll notice its ocre red colour and contemporary style, in hommage to Le Corbusier;
[ ⇒more information about Henry Jacques Le Mêmehere ]
SculpturesMegève boasts a faire number of sculptures, dotted throughout the old town and at the start of the Chemin du Calvaire, you’ll find some horses:
Dotted along the Chemin du Calvaire are chapels and oratories, which have been beautifully restored to their former glory.
You will also find the Musée de l’Ermitage. Through old post cards, the museum retraces the history of the Calvaire‘s construction / ⇒ more informationhere;
Le Sentier Nature du Calvaire
You can combine religious and architectural history with a walk in nature too, by following the Sentier Nature du Calvaire, an annotated walk that takes you down to the Creux Saint-Jean.
📌 start & finish point:start of the chemin du Calvaire (or in reverse from chemin du Maz);
📏distance:1,8 km (boucle);
⏱duration: 1h30 (aller-retour);
[ ⇒ more information about the Sentier Nature du Calvairehere ]
After visiting the Ermitage, you’ll head down into 🌳 the forest, and here you’ll soon pass the oratory dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
After this, you come to the Creux Saint-Jean, with its pretty stone bridge, 💦 stream (le torrent Planay) and 💦 waterfall . . . take time to explore as its very serene . . .
If you’d like to extend your hike, when you come off the Sentier Nature du Calvaire – on the chemin de Maz – you can walk an extra 20mins, and you’ll come to the lovely 💦 Cascade de Belle au Bois.
The path down to 💦 the waterfall is not for the faint-hearted, and not to be undertaken when wet, as it will be slippery! The path is steep at the bottom with metal steps in the rock and ropes to help you.
While we did this hike, we decided to try out the free 📱 smartphone gameLes Sources de la déese oubliée . . . our older son loved it ! The route leaves from the tourist office in Megève.
[ ⇒ more information about Les Sources de la déese oubliée the here ]