🌸 Springtime has arrived . . . and while I dream of one day being in Japan for its famous 🌸 springtime cherry blossoms, for now I am excited to share this little 🏛 Sallanches town stroll with you. While there is still snow on the higher altitude walks, why not take a leisurely amble through the streets of Sallanches, enjoy the 🌸 spring blossoms, and discover a little history as you go . . .
The walk that I am highlighting here would be ideal as a buggy walk or as a family stroll. It would also work with a smaller child on a push bike, as there is some open space along the way, but you would have to be vigilant as there are many roads to cross and the start of the walk has no pavement! Equally, older children will be happy as there are two playgrounds along the way!
Walk Information & Map
📌 departure & arrival point: Le Parking Château des Rubins / Levaud (FREE!) – a round walk (boucle);
⏱ timings: 45 minute leisurely stroll with a buggy (without stops at playgrounds or sit-downs in cafés!);
🏦 highlights: 🌸 spring blossoms / 🌺 flower arrangements in town / 💦 water features in the Place St Jacques, the Place Charles Albert and along the river / 🌈 the playgrounds / 🏛 historical landmarks in Sallanches / 🗻 mountain views / ☕️riverside cafés and restaurants;
🗺 google maps:
To start this walk, you will need to park in the FREE car park Château des Rubins / Parking du Levaud. Cross over the 💦 river Sallanche and turn right into chemin Révérand Père Jacquier.
If you are without a buggy, an alternative to following the river and road option (which has NO pavement), is to walk up the short flight of stairs by the main entrance of the 🦇 Château des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes; this will bring you onto Montée des Rubins, which joins with Place du Commissaire Chesney, almost directly at one entrance point into the grounds of the 📚 Médiathèque Ange Abrate.
good to know – the 🦇 Château des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes – which is located near the start of this walk, is a fabulous place to visit! This museum dedicated to the flora and fauna of the Alps, geology and more, is housed within a 14th century nobles’ home which escaped 🔥 the fire of 1840 and also remained intact during the French Revolution. It was acquired by the commune of Sallanches in 1978.
As you carry on along chemin Révérand Père Jacquier (be very careful with small children and buggies, as there is a drop towards the river and no pavement here), be sure to look up and see the little ⛪️ Chapelle de l’Immaculée (built between 1855 and 1857) up on the hill above the Château des Rubins / ⇒ see here for more information;
If you walk through this historic archway, then you’ll be off the road and entering the 📚 médiathèque grounds . . .
Médiathèque Ange Abrate
The 📚 médiathèque in Sallanches opened in 2018 and we are huge fans – it is spacious, thre is a lovely children’s area, storytelling and spectacles! you can park your buggy at the entrance and have a break here! (especially good if you need 🚾 a children’s toilet stop or 🚼 a nappy change!).
If you time your visit, you can head to an Heure du Conte or activity !
[ ⇒ see here for MBFF article about the 📚 Médiathèque Ange Abrate ]
Aire de Jeux de l’Eglise
What do you know, you’ve arrived at your first playground: the 🌈 Aire de Jeux de l’Eglise, on Place du Commissaire Chesney!
This playground is one of our favourites and we used to come here often after a Saturday morning visit to 🍏 Sallanches’ market. There is a public 🚾 in the small car park opposite.
La Place Saint-Jacques
⛪️ Sallanches’ church – Le Collégiale Saint-Jacques – dates from the 17th century, the original 14th century structure having burned down in the 1300s. The Place Saint-Jacques was fairly recently renovated and it is the best spot to admire the 🌸 springtime blossoms and planted greenery. There are plenty of benches and so this is a 🧁 great snack or picnic stop . . . There is also a 💦 little water feature, which can be a fun place to play leaf races (but make sure you have some spare clothes!).
Les Quais de la Sallanche
If you are needing a ☕️ coffee at this point, then the ☕️ Café Saint-Jacques, on the Quai Saint-Jacques, is popular with Sallanches locals and in the warmer months there are tables and comfortable chairs set out along 💦 the riverside (le quai). During the summer months, there is live music here on Friday evenings. We often head down to the river from here and let the children play (again, think to have spare clothing if you do this!).
Or, if you fancy more of a 🍰 sweet stop, sat on a bench and admiring Mont-Blanc behind blossoms and leaves, then you could try: 🍰 Chocola’thé (38 quai Saint Jacques) OR 🍰 Délicat Délice (72 quai de l’Hotel de Ville).
Sallanches’ Pré-de-Foire is a large open space which is used for town events (Saturday’s market, April’s Carnaval, summer’s Les Enfants d’Abord, etc . . .).
The rest of the time, it is empty and thus the perfect place to let chilren run freely, use 🛴 scooters or 🚲 push bikes (though do be careful as you are next to busy roads). There are some seats to rest your feet in a little corner of the square, and just across the road is a small amphitheatre, with grass and seats at the top (my boys have always loved walking on the seats, and this is a good spot for a picnic).
La Place de la Grenette
Cross over the 💦 Torrent de la Frasse (small river that joins 💦 the Sallanche) towards the old covered grain market, 🏛 La Grenette.
A landmark in Sallanches, and the centre-piece of the Christmas market (it becomes an ice-skating rink in December!), 🏛 La Grenette was built in 1868 with granite from Combloux! Be sure to look across the road to your right, as the impressive remnants of the doorway to the Couvent des Capucins, that used to stand in the Place Charles Albert, now reside here.
Lavoir de la Tuilerie
Another lovely ☕️ coffee spot can be found in the pedestrianised zone in Sallanches : Chez Suzanne, on rue des Commerces. Chez Suzanne is, in fact, run by Valérie and as well as comfy sofas, you’ll find a boutique with beautifully sourced home goods – perfect for present shopping !
Along rue du Mont-Joly, you’ll arrive at one of Sallanches’ remaining lavoirs, where the local lavandières came to do their washing. Entirely made of granite, the Lavoir des Tuileries was built in 1889 – before this, the washerwomen headed to the river or to fountains to wash their pots and pans and sheets.
La Place Charles Albert
From the laverie, walk down rue Chenal towards the main road, rue du Mont Blanc; here you turn left, and you’ll arrive at the Place Charles Albert. There are plans underway to renovate this public square, as well as the whole riverside area of Sallanches heading towards St-Martin.
For now, the square is divided in two: there is the paying car park and then there is the 🌼 pretty garden area for pedestrians (with some spring blossom!). The very lovely bookshop 📚 Librairie les Carnets d’Albert is on this square (sometimes there are children’s workshops held here).
The centre of Sallanches has been nicely renovated with bike paths and wide pavements with wooden benches and plants . . . if you head away from the centre at this point, on the main road towards the lovely Boulangerie de la Vallée and further towards Le Vieux Campeur, then you’ll come to 🍾 Conroy Vins et Spiritueux, 🧁 Lydie’s Cake cupcake shop, and 🧿 the lovely NEW Indigo by Abbé Roads shop, perfect to buy gifts sourced from around the world!
Some SALLANCHES history . . .
🏛 Sallanches once housed two convents, before they disappeared during the Revolution: the Capucin Convent (built in 1619, it once stood in the Place Charles Albert, and you can see its original doorway opposite 🏛 La Grenette) and the Ursuline Convent (built in 1630, it once stood in the Pré-de-Foire).
Before Sallanches was reunited with France in 1860, it was ruled by the Maison de Savoie. On the 19th April 1840, a 🔥 huge fire demolished most of the houses in Sallanches and the town had to be rebuilt. The ruling king of Savoie at this time, 👑 Charles-Albert, entrusted his engineer, François Justin, to rebuild the new town; an aerial view gives us an appreciation of the grid-like design he conceived (inspired by Turin’s layout).
[ ⇒ for more detailed history about Sallanches, see sallanches.com or pop into the Sallanches Tourist Office ]
Ode to l’Ancienne Poste
The 🏛 Ancienne Poste (the old Post Office) no longer exists, as it was demolished at the end of 2017 . . . after being a Post Office, for a time it was used as a venue for temporary exhibitions.
In the summer of 2016, to prepare for Sallanches’ role as 🚴♀️ Tour de France departure town for the ” contre-la- montre “, the façade of the 🏛 Ancienne Poste was painted by 🎨 Zoer et Velvet from the Kill Art Factory; this ephemeral street art was eye-catching.
Aire de Jeux des Quais
If you are needing a second playground stop at this point, then just cross the bridge, and here you will find the 🌈 Aire de Jeux des Quais . . . this playground was renovated a couple of years ago, and the area around the river now has some pleasant seating.
You’ll find the 🍺 café- restaurant – LM l’Atelier, and 🥟 a Vietnamese-Thai restaurant, the Viet Thai Resto (I especially like the soupe pho and the tom kha kai).
As the playground was (with the famous fire engine that was sooo popular with my little boys) . . .
And as the NEW playground is . . . (there is also pleasant seating by the river next door!) :
Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville & les Quais de la Sallanche
You are on the home stretch now . . .
With your back to the playground, cross over the busy avenue de Genève, onto the Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville. The 🏛 Hôtel de Ville (Mairie), built in 1844, is where the Sallanches Tourist Office is located. It is worth going into the Tourist Office as there are plenty of free leaflets with ideas for family fun in Sallanches and the environs, as well as 🚴♀️ Tour de France memorabilia!
Continue along the quai, and you will see a plaque to commemorate the 🔥 Sallanches fire of the 19th April 1840 :
. . . and then keep walking, and you’ll find yourself back at the Place Saint-Jacques!
If you walk along the quais later in springtime (early to mid-May), after the 🌸 cherry blossoms have fluttered away, then you will be rewarded instead with 🌳🌰 the marronniers (chestnut trees) in bloom!
These chestnut trees were planted after Napoléon III’s visit to Sallanches in the 19th century. He gave money for the trees to be planted, to prevent flooding.
[ ⇒ to read more about the quais de Sallanches, see separate MBFF article here ]
You can head right down to the river’s edge in Sallanches . . . here you’ll find benches. Be careful with small children, and watch out for dog poo !
Géocaching in Sallanches
In the centre of Sallanches, there are x2 géocaches to find! We found one very easily, and we’re still searching for the second!