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 Mont-Blanc, Le Fayet, Saint Nicolas de Véroce, Bionnassay & environs Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs Les Contamines & environs 🇫🇷 Further France 🇨🇭 Switzerland 🇮🇹 Italy
Here are some of the events a-happening over the springtime :
🖼 La Nuit Europééne des Musées – on Saturday 13th May – a chance to enjoy venues after hours, sometimes by candle light ! Plenty a-happening locally !
website & FB pageFête de la Nature – from 24th to 29th May – lots of events happening across France and locally too !
website & FB pageRendez-Vous aux Jardins – 2nd, 3rd & 4th June, the theme this year being « Les musiques du jardin »;
website & FB page
🇨🇭🌷« 53è Fête de la Tulipe » (Morges, Switzerland) ⇒ 8th May 2023See MBFF article or Morges Tourisme for more information about this 🌷 tulip festival in Morges, Switzerland (Lac Léman), now in its 53rd incarnation ! It receives 100,000 visitors every year, from Switzerland and abroad, and there are lots of special animations and a lovely stroll along the lakeside.
2) Sign up your kids for a springtime STAGE . . .There are some possibilites for outdoor stages . . . climbing, watersailing . . .
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 school (Les Houches)Cat has a new workshop in Les Houches, with ateliers for adult, children and ados !
website & FB page email: Catkartal@hotmail.fr
🎨 Studio rūsc (Chamonix Sud, Chamonix)Adult workshops here.
website & FB page
🎨 Chalet des Créateurs (Saint-Gervais)A boutique and a creative space, with stages on offer . . .
🎨 Maison de la Créativité (Conches, near Geneva)Please check opening hours in April, as not listed ! [ ⇒ see MBFF article about this FABULOUS creative centre for under 8s ! ]
As long as the rain holds off, then the spring holidays can be a fabulous time to enjoy the 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 in the nature reserves :
- La Réserve des Aiguilles Rouges
- La Réserve Naturelle de Passy
- La Réserve Naturelle des Contamines-Montjoie
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.
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 / ⇒ see FB page for updates / reservations: +33 (0)7 60 04 14 26;
- La Maison du Lieutenant (Servoz) – lots of artistic and nature-inspired activities over the holidays . . . / ⇒ see FB page for updates;
- 🌳 La Maison du Salève – check here for workshops;
- 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 MBFF article 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! 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 in MBFF article here;
As the snow melts, our options for 🏔 family hikes (without snow shoes!) increase . . . In 🌷 in early springtime, high altitude hikes will still have lots of snow cover, but there are still lots of lovely low-altitude walks and strolls to enjoy en famille. [ ⇒ for some articles detailing perfect family-friendly strolls (some with a buggy), head over to this page on the MBFF website ] 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 (see MBFF article here);
- 💦 Lac des Chavants (Les Houches) – (see MBFF article here);
- 💦 Lac de Passy – with playgrounds and an Espace VTT (see MBFF article here);
- 💦 Passy – sculpture walk au cheminement de l’Arve (see MBFF article here);
- 💦 Sallanches – along the Bialle stream and into the Braconne woods (see MBFF article here) and 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;
- 🗺 Saint-Gervais’ 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;
- Doussard: La Réserve Naturelle du Bout du Lac – see here for MBFF article;
- 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 de la Forclaz) family walk / 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 later in springtime / 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 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!
website address: Château de Menthon Saint-Bernard, allée du Château, 74290, Menthon-Saint-Bernard🏰 Domaine et Château de Montrottier (Lovagny, near Annecy) – there are lots of activities planned over the springtime !
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!
website 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 regular temporary exhibitions.
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 ]
🏰 Aosta Valley castles – there are many fabulous castles to visit in the Aosta Valley ! When the blossoms are out in the Aosta Valley, this is the perfect time to visit one of the many majestic castles . . . Some are stategically placed ruins, but some have been renovated and included museums, exhibitions and treasures! [ ⇒ for a list of some of the castles to visit in the Aosta Valley, see here ] Here are some of MBFF’s favourite Aosta Valley castles:My boys absolutely love 🌳 an accrobranches to release their 🐒 inner monkey! Most of these are open on fair weather days over the spring holidays au Pays du Mont-Blanc . . . [ ⇒ for a list of the 🌳 Pays du Mont-Blanc accrobranches, see separate MBFF article here . . . ] ⇒ further afield, there are also some slighly different options . . . MBFF’s favourites? 🌳 Filenvol – we have now been to Filenvol twice and each visit had a FABULOUS time (and the autumn colours were a highlight for me!). The concept is to run and jump and slide within large nets suspended from the trees (no need for harnesses!) . . . giant trampolines in the trees! There are hammocks (adults can bring a book!), a small buvette and plenty of spots for picnics here / opening hours: all year, 10h to 17h (weather dependent!) / price: see here; [ ⇒ for more information, MBFF article ]
- Forte di Bard – a huge cultural complex, with temporary exhibitions, museums, and a restaurant / ⇒ see MBFF article;
- Fénis Castle;
- Sarre Castle;
- Sarriod de la Tour Castle . . .
- Aymavilles castle – a beautifully renovated castle, with a wonderful collection of treasures;
- Castello Savoia;
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, ReignierACRO’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;
FB page address: route de Planfait, Talloires🌳 Criq’parc (Saint-Jorioz, Lac d’Annecy) – especially good for little ones!
🗺 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 ] Have you tried one of 🗺 the Chamonix Valley parcours d’orientation? We’ve done a few now, and they are superb! ⇒ see the following articles for more information:
- 🍁 Parcours d’Orientation au Lac de Chavants (Les Houches);
- 🐸 An aire de jeux, a mare aux Têtards and a parcours d’orientation (Argentière);
- 🏰 Château de Saint-Michel: castle ruins, forest and a parcours d’orientation (Servoz) ;
Our very own 🦌 Parc Animalier de Merlet (Les Houches) will be SHUT for winter hibernation until its re-opening on 1st May 2023. [ ⇒ for more information, see MBFF article here ] [ ⇒ for a longer list of suggestions for 🦌 animal parks & farms au Pays du Mont-Blanc and futher afield to visit, see separate MBFF article here ] Worth mentioning is the Zoo des Marécottes, with an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday. . . For rainy days, you may like to head to an aquarium ? [ ⇒ for more information about aquariums, see here ] You might also think to do an animal-themed activity with your kids? Like 🐺 canirando, taking a Saint-Bernard for a stroll, or walking with donkeys . . .
- 3D Nordic (Praz-sur-Arly & Megève and Flumet) for canirando / FB page;
- Anes & Mômes (Les Contamines-Montjoie) – walking with a donkey / website;
Springtime is the best time to experience 💦 waterfalls at their most powerful – with the spring melt, they truly come alive! The gorges are mostly not yet open to the public. [ ⇒ for more information about 💦 waterfalls au Pays du Mont-Blanc, see separate MBFF article here ] [ ⇒ for more information about 💦 waterfalls further afield, 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 springtime, 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) – 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 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 more information about 💦 lakes au Pays du Mont-Blanc, see MBFF article 💦 SWIMMING POOLS & LAKES au Pays du Mont-Blanc ] [ ⇒ for details about further afield lakes (Lac Léman, Lac d’Annecy, Lac du Bourget . . .), see MBFF article 💦 LAKES & WATERSPORTS further afield ]
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 . . .
- 🌈 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 & 🛹 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 !!! And really BIG !
- 🛴 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);
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!
🏀 Terrains de Sports
- 🏀 Chamonix – the running track at the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon has some options also for ball games;
- 🏀 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, you’ll find 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 / website;
- 🎾 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 / website / 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 Mont-Blanc – Sporting Club (798 avenue de Miage, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains) has 6 outdoor courts and a mini-tennis;
You can find ⛳️ mini-golf 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 / ⇒ 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 / FB page;
- 🏎 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 – to look forward to in summertime!) open summertime until 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) / website / address: 2930 route de l’Arve, 74930, Scientrier / tel: +33 (0)4 50 25 53 47 ;
- 🏍 Mountain E-Park (Les Gets & Mont-Saxonnex) – motos for children and snowmobiles over the winter season / FB page / address: 529 route de Gibannaz, 74260, Les Gets / tel: 06 76 96 88 98;
🌈 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;
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. [ ⇒ for more information about our ⛸ indoor skating rinks here au Pays du Mont-Blanc, see separate article here ]
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) / FB page;
- 🇮🇹🚡 funiculars at Forte di Bard – there are 3 funiculars bringing you to the top of the fabulous Forte di Bard;
- 🇫🇷🚠 Téléphérique du Salève (Etrembières) – [ SHUT until 2023, for a huge renovation project ! ];
- 🇨🇭 VerticAlp Emosson (Châtelard, Vallé de Trient) – [ SHUT until further notice ] / 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:
- 🌈 Les Planards Parc d’Attractions & 🛷 Luge 4 saisons (Chamonix) – see website or MBFF article;
- 🌈 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!
Not too far from the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc, you have 🦇 several underground options :
🦇 Grotte de Balme (near Magland) – you can book to visit these caves with a guide through Sallanches Tourisme! / a great spéléologie visit! / ⇒ read more about this cave here;
And a bit further afield, there are some 🦇 other magnificent caves to visit (perfect for a rainy day or a very hot day, as caves stay at a very constant temperature!) . . . Remember to take baby carriers, as buggies are not permitted; 🐻 Musée de l’Ours des Cavernes (near Chambéry) – a museum (decorated to make you feel like you are in a cave!) exploring the world of cave-dwelling bears!
website address: Musée des Ours et des Cavernes, Epernay, 73670, Entremont-le-Vieux (in Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse) / tel: 04 79 26 29 87🦇 Les Grottes de la Balme (Isère) – the caves are located 40mins drive to the east of Lyon, 2 hours from Chamonix. The temperature in the caves is between 12° et 15°C all year round (bring jumper). NO dogs allowed, no camera flash. There is a picnic spot at the entrance to the village, with a rain shelter, WC and playground;
website address: rue des Grottes, 38390, La Balme-les-Grottes / tel: +33 (0)4 74 96 95 00
website address: D-1084, 01450, Labalme / tel: +33 (0)4 74 37 36 79🧂 Bex salt mines (Salines de Bex) – located between Martigny and Montreux in Switerland, are another great underground option – here you discover the origin of the Sel des Alpes (salt was once as precious as gold!) in the vast underground labyrinth (several kilometres open to the public) and learn about the excavation techniques used from the first gallery of 1684, up to modern times / 18°C: all year round! / small train;
website address: route de Gryon 31, Bex, Vaud, Switerland / tel: +41 24 463 03 20🦇 Lac Soutterain St-Léonard – not too far from the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc is the 💦 Lac Soutterain St-Léonard – located between Sion and Serre in the Valais, Switzerland, this is the largest underground lake in Europe (300m long x 20m wide w 10m deep). The ambient temperature all year is 15°. There are 3D animations, and guided tours by boat / opening hours (from March until November): 10h to 17h (July and August from 9h);
website address: rue du Lac 21, 1958, St-Léonard / tel:+41 (0)27 203 22 66
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 (Les Thermes de Saint-Gervais, the Balnéoforme in Megève) . . . [ ⇒ see separate MBFF article here, to see where to head with kids ! ]
Visit a new village or town au Pays du Mont-BlancAre there any villages or towns you’ve not yet visited 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 & FB page 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; Check ou the FB page for Culture au Pays du Mont-Blanc, for their Carnet de RDVs – you’ll find guided visits, treasure hunts, lectures . . .
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)
TUESDAY – 🥦 Marché de Chedde in Passy (8h until midday) / 🍒 Marché aux Contamines-Montjoie (8h until midday)
WEDNESDAY – 🌶 Marché de 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 – 🍏 Marché de Megève (8h until 13h)Check the current schedule for 🍞 Le Pain de Chibon on the FB page !
The spring holidays and springtime, with its may bank 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 . . . for some ideas for day trips, see separate MBFF article here And for a weekend away, we have so many options in nearby 🇫🇷 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 . . . for some ideas for weekends away, see separate MBFF article here