Saint-Gervais & Les Contamines: welcome to the cradle of Mont-Blanc

Once on the slopes, the course possibilities are automatically less numerous, but this has the good side of bringing fewer crowds. Then, it’s also an opportunity to test one of the World Ski Championship descents, which is a red run but wide enough not to scare the less athletic. And like on the other resort, the restaurants offer well-presented and excellent dishes, provided you are ready to eat cheese at all costs! Even vegetarians can easily find what they are looking for. The task is more complicated for vegans, but restaurateurs often know how to adapt.


A 39 degree pool at the thermal baths

Once down, many other activities are available, such as swimming, bungee jumping (covered) or simple nature walks. But the star attraction of Saint-Gervais is undeniably its thermal baths, a well-being but also therapeutic area with its mineral-rich Mont Blanc water.


Three hot water pools, up to 39 degrees, are available outside, while the interior includes other water points, saunas, hammams, and even a thematic space on the forest with a course of hot and cold water jets. Of course, treatments such as massages are also offered. Spa treatments, on the other hand, are more intended for people suffering from respiratory, dermatological or other pathologies of inflammatory origin.

Culture and heritage highlighted

But what certainly makes Saint-Gervais a special ski destination are all the means put in place to showcase its culture and heritage in an authentic setting. Since 2022, you can visit La Cure, the new cultural center which hosts exhibitions of paintings, engravings and sculptures on the theme of the mountain or currently stained glass, works by Kim En Joong, a Korean artist priest.


If this exhibition remains quite classic although interesting, the Maison Forte de Hautetour offers a more impressive one until September 30 on the alpine refuges, with an example of a refuge room built in the very room of the building.


Les Contamines and its 1001 activities

Neighboring Saint-Gervais, the town of Contamines-Montjoie offers a whole range of activities for everyone. Its ski area contains 48 runs over 120km with quite a few blue runs, even just before the summit which is at 2,487m. The landscapes remain magnificent given the location and the absence of greenery at times gives the impression of being in a snow desert.

But the slopes are very similar, with wide descents. On the other hand, the last track which returns all the way down is very pleasant. It is red because it is a narrow path in the woods, but it does not have a steep drop and it allows you to enjoy the forest atmosphere. Its Ludo-Park is also very accessible, with a whole fun course filled with tunnels, bumps to make small jumps and elevated turns.


Apart from downhill skiing, there are many activities in the village. You can go cross-country skiing at night, climb an icefall, go dog sledding, go sledding, paragliding, and even a very fun introduction to biathlon.

A sporty hike

The most athletic can of course embark on a ski tour with a guide, a very physical test which is far from being accessible to all. And enjoy a stay in the Prés refuge, a luxurious cabin compared to most refuges since it was inaugurated in July 2021.


Even if there is no network at this place, the atmosphere is warm between the tenants and the travelers passing through. The food is very good (even for vegetarians) and the dormitories are comfortable, although it is difficult to dry your clothes there. To return to the bottom, you then have to take a not very complicated marked path which crosses the highest nature reserve in France (3,892m). A Roman road ends the wooded route which is really worth a look.

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