Family Hikes – tips for hiking with small children

With the recent beautiful weather we’ve been having, after lots of RAIN, I thought it time to write a post about hiking with small children. Family hiking with small children is not a simple task! Well, perhaps it is for some families . . . perhaps your children were born hikers!  But for many of us, getting our children to LOVE hiking in the mountains is … Continue reading Family Hikes – tips for hiking with small children

August Agenda au Pays du Mont Blanc

August has arrived au Pays du Mont Blanc . . . and after a July filled with family/children’s events, festivals and exciting workshops & guided tours, here is the listings for the summer month ahead! I’ve included lots of ideas for us adults over the month (evening film screenings, talks, guided walks); as we’ll all be needing some R & R and brain stimulation after all the activity-filled … Continue reading August Agenda au Pays du Mont Blanc

Children’s activities this August au Pays du Mont Blanc

Here is the updated list of children’s/family activities this August au Pays du Mont Blanc . . . please feel free to let MBFF know of any workshops/events missing from the list! Longer workshops & stages Cat Kartal «Art & Nature» (Chamonix) Cat Kartal is an artist who lives in the Pays du Mont Blanc and, as well as running an art studio and producing her … Continue reading Children’s activities this August au Pays du Mont Blanc

Softplay & Bouncy Castles au Pays du Mont Blanc

Au Pays du Mont Blanc, we are now lucky enough to have two softplay options – one in Chamonix and one in Sallanches – for those RAINY DAYS all year long . . . and in the summer months, plenty of bouncy castles spring up in lovely locations: Indoor Softplay Centres La Petite Folie Softplay (Chamonix) This softplay café in Chamonix Sud opened its doors in the summer … Continue reading Softplay & Bouncy Castles au Pays du Mont Blanc

Le Paradis des Praz (Les Praz, Chamonix)

My MBFF boys headed off for some fun at Paradis des Praz at the weekend and it reminded me what a wonderful little hidden jewel it is.  This natural playground is well-known to families living in the region, but perhaps not to those visiting. Nestled in the woods in Les Praz, a short walk from the golf-course car park (or from Les Tines, in the opposite … Continue reading Le Paradis des Praz (Les Praz, Chamonix)

Les Gorges de la Diosaz (Servoz)

A visit to Les Gorges de la Diosaz natural site makes for a wonderful visit en famille, come rain or shine (we have visited during both weather forecasts here at MBFF!).  You are in the shade for most of the walk, so this is a great option during a summer heatwave, as well as on a slightly drizzly day!  It is quite the experience to walk along the footpath, … Continue reading Les Gorges de la Diosaz (Servoz)

Baby & Toddler Playgroups au Pays du Mont Blanc

Here is a list of some of the playgroup options au Pays du Mont Blanc: Chamonix Chamonix «Mums n Tots» takes place in the Salle Paroissiale (Church Hall) of  the Presbytery of the Protestant Church near the train station in the centre of Chamonix.  The playgroup is run by the lovely Barbara and is open to all babies and toddlers (and parents, grand-parents, minders . . … Continue reading Baby & Toddler Playgroups au Pays du Mont Blanc

Cinemas au Pays du Mont Blanc

Chamonix Chamonix’s Cinéma VOX is a bit of an institution, and I was once a regular visitor with a pass (in my footloose and fancy free days when I lived just down the road!). There are VO films to choose from and the venue is also used to host certain events: shows for children, mountain films, the adventure film festival, guest speakers . . . *Good … Continue reading Cinemas au Pays du Mont Blanc

Bowling au Pays du Mont Blanc

There are two bowling alleys au Pays du Mont Blanc: one in Chamonix, and one in Sallanches. Chamonix Chamonix’s Bowling has 8 bowling alleys, as well as an indoor mini-golf, a pool room (“billards”) and a games room. The entrance includes obligatory bowling shoes and you must wear socks! Opening hours: High season: open every day from 17h to 2h in the morning, or from 14h in … Continue reading Bowling au Pays du Mont Blanc

Le Parc de Merlet Animal Park (Les Houches)

Le Parc de Merlet animal park is opening today, Saturday 29th April! Perched at 1563m, about 600m above the village of Les Houches, Le Parc de Merlet is home to around 80 animals that roam freely within the boundaries of the park: chamois, ibex, deer, mouflons, marmottes . . . and even the odd llama (see here for more information about the animals that live here)! A little history . . … Continue reading Le Parc de Merlet Animal Park (Les Houches)

Swimming in Chamonix

If you’d like to go swimming in Chamonix, there are various options.  You might be lucky enough to be staying at a hotel or chalet with a pool, otherwise you can head to the public swimming pools on offer at the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon.  Alternatively, some hotels in the valley let you use their pool if you eat lunch at their restaurant or use their spa … Continue reading Swimming in Chamonix

Chamonix Valley Spas & Massages

Several hotels in the Chamonix Valley offer access to their spa centre and pool to non-hotel guests.  What follows is not a full list of tried and tested spas and massages; I have clearly not done enough of my own “parent pampering” in the last six years, as the only spa I have managed to visit has been Deep Nature’s Les Granges d’en Haut in Les Houches.  I have had … Continue reading Chamonix Valley Spas & Massages

Le Musée Montagnard (Les Houches)

The Musée Montagnard is housed in one of the oldest 18th century houses in the centre of Les Houches and has been arranged to show three typical rooms of such a house: the pèle  (bedroom/living room), the outa (kitchen) and the sarte (pantry).  The museum houses a rich collection of traditional furniture and objects, largely provided by M. Albert Laprade, the eminent architect-urbanist, who was keen to protect the heritage … Continue reading Le Musée Montagnard (Les Houches)

Chamonix Parks, Woods & Gardens

Chamonix, while boasting many terrific hiking routes and skiing opportunities, can also lay claim to some beautiful parks, gardens and woodland.  This could be of particular interest if you have small children or babies in buggies!  Here is our list: Parc Couttet  A relative newcomer to Chamonix, inaugurated in the summer of 2015, the Parc Couttet is a little gem of a park, right in the … Continue reading Chamonix Parks, Woods & Gardens

Le Lac des Chavants (Les Houches)

The Lac des Chavants in Les Houches is a relaxating destination for families in both summer and winter (and spring and autumn!). *Please note that Lac des Chavants is NOT a swimming lake!* In the warmer months, there is a playground here, a climbing rock, an area to play pétanque, fishing in the lake, and a relaxing buggy/dog-walking path around the lake and into the woods. This is the … Continue reading Le Lac des Chavants (Les Houches)

Chamonix Museums

Chamonix has a great selection of museums, and these museums often offer creative workshops or guided tours for children during the school holidays (the Tourist Office will have a list of those scheduled during your stay). In Chamonix town itself you will find; the Musée Alpin; the Espace Tairraz (Musée d’Alpinisme et des Cristaux); the Maison de la Mémoire et du Patrimoine Janny Couttet (see below for … Continue reading Chamonix Museums

Montenvers Mer de Glace et Train (Chamonix)

Another great attraction in Chamonix on many families’ list is the Montenvers train journey up to the Mer de Glace glacier.  The famous little vintage red coggle train will take you on a relaxing 20 minute journey up the mountainside, through forests and tunnels cut through the rock, and up to the glacier at 1,913 m (an ascent of about 1000m).  Children from the age of 12 … Continue reading Montenvers Mer de Glace et Train (Chamonix)

Vallorcine Playgrounds

Vallorcine has a small playground near the train station and there is plenty of free parking on site.  There is also a basketball/football area just next to the playground. In the summer months, the green space behind the playground and next to the river becomes a small paradise for children (and their tired parents), as a bouncy castle appears, a small playhouse, a ping-pong table … Continue reading Vallorcine Playgrounds

Centre Sportif Richard Bozon (Chamonix)

Chamonix’s sports centre, the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon, is located just off the road heading out to Argentière and its facilities include: swimming pools (a 25m indoor pool, a baby pool and outdoor swimming pool); sauna and hammam; ice-skating rink; climbing wall; tennis, running track. . . With a carte d’hôte (available from your hotel, lodging or to buy from Office de Tourisme if lodging with family … Continue reading Centre Sportif Richard Bozon (Chamonix)

Chamonix Médiatèque

As well as housing many works pertaining to the Chamonix Valley, Haute-Savoie, the Alps, skiing and mountaineering, the Médiatèque de Chamonix makes for a great rainy afternoon visit for families.  There is a large children’s section (with comfortable chairs), and a fantastic Ludotèque (toy library), with toys that you can play with on-site and also toys to borrow (you need to be registered for this service). The library … Continue reading Chamonix Médiatèque

Aiguille du Midi (Chamonix)

A trip by cable-car up to the Aiguille du Midi is a highlight for most tourists on a trip to Chamonix, whether they are planning to ski the Vallée Blanche with a guide or simply want to head up to the dizzying height of 3842m (2 cable cars and a lift), for magnificent views of the majestic Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks!  The experience keeps getting … Continue reading Aiguille du Midi (Chamonix)

Chamonix Playgrounds

As frequent visitors to Chamonix, I think we can lay claim to having tested most of its playgrounds!  Please let us know about any small treasures that may be missing from our list! Chamonix Centre Just across the road from Chamonix’s Saturday market, and next to the MJC, we have spent many hours in this playground!  There is something for all age-groups, and being next … Continue reading Chamonix Playgrounds

Parc d’Attractions de Chamonix

The Parc d’Attractions de Chamonix, Chamonix’s very own amusement park with views of Mont Blanc, makes for a great family day out! As well as the Chamonix Luge-Alpine Coaster, which is open year-round, there are a couple of FREE playgrounds in the 1-3 years and 3-12 years age brackets, great slides, motorbikes and cars to ride, diggers to operate, trampolines, and various water-themed rides.  In … Continue reading Parc d’Attractions de Chamonix

Vallorcine Skiing

Beginners & Nursery  Skiing La Poya is a family-run ski area in Le Buet, near to Vallorcine. It comprises: 2 drag lifts; 2 rope lifts; one green, one blue and one red piste; a snack bar serving hot-dogs, crêpes, drinks and other snacks; a lounging area; Address: La Poya 74660 Vallorcine Tel: +33 6 82 11 53 21 Website: http://www.la.poya.free.fr (see here for opening times and … Continue reading Vallorcine Skiing

Chamonix Skiing

Though Chamonix isn’t the most obvious ski destination for families, due to extensive ski options for advanced skiers and the lack of ski-in/ski-out accommodation, there are still two main areas dedicated to beginners and small children near the centre of town, and the variety of ski stations and graded pistes available is huge: Beginner and Nursery Skiing  Le Savoy – this slope is very centrally located and it … Continue reading Chamonix Skiing