Saint Gervais Les Bains
"An alternative to the more 'touristy' ski resorts"
Saint Gervais Les Bains is a beautiful town nestled at the base of Mont Blanc. It is very close to Chamonix and is linked in to Megeve but unlike most ski resorts it is also a real working town with most people working there actually being French! There is plenty to do for non-skiers as well. Although it is one of the lower resorts we have never had a problem finding snow here as it links in to the enormous 'Espace Killy' ski area.
We have been going there as a family for years as it has something to do for all ages (even non-skiers). The area is lovely in all seasons for skiers, walkers and climbers. There are many places to visit. Chamonix is alive with climbers in summer and skiers in winter. Take the breathtaking cable car trip to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi in the Mt Blanc range and over the Vallee Blanche, a valley of eternal snow (or ski it if you want a real thrill! - and on to Italy. You can travel to the elegant Italian town of Courmayeur, or alternatively Annecy with its tranquil lake flowing into the heart of the town, said to be one of the most beautiful in all France. Geneva and its 'grand lac' is only 3/4 hour away, if you have children there is a sandy beach on the lake and a large water park. The whole region is noted for its famous Savoyard cheeses and wines and most towns have a market selling local produce.
You can take a stunning tram ride up the mountain from Saint Gervais Les Bains. The Mont Blanc tramway is one of the oldest rack railways in France and worth the trip. You can climb to the glacier (or the summit if you are so minded!). More gentle walks in the lovely meadows full of wild flowers in spring at Bellevue, or stop at the Col de Voza. The cabins take you to the summit of Mont D'Arbois where you can walk to old Savoyard villages or the more sophisticated Megeve, with its fashionable shops and delicious restaurants (at least one Michelin starred) Try the local village of Cordon, truly the ‘balcon du Mont Blanc’, its overwhelming view of the whole range including the Aiguille. Just stand and stare as the mountain turn pink in the sunset.