About St Gervais
The attractive spa town of St Gervais has been a holiday resort since tourists first took waters there in 1806. Lying above a dramatic river gorge midway between the 2 world famous ski resorts of Chamonix and Megeve, it is part of the massive Evasion Mont Blanc ski area. The perfectly groomed slopes and challenging off-piste terrain, with 125 ski lifts, 312 miles of downhill slopes and 5,400 feet of vertical drop, offer skiing and snowboarding for all abilities. Non-skiers can enjoy several miles of high mountain footpaths, spectacular views of Mont Blanc and many of the on-slope restaurants with a pedestrian lift pass. Megeve, France's most elegant and upscale resort, is just a cable car ride away from Le Bettex. Everyone will want to take a ride on the Tramway du Mont Blanc, one of only three remaining rack and pinion railways in France.
A scenic ride takes pedestrians and skiers through forests and snow-covered pastures to the Bellevue/ Les Houches plateau at the foot of Mont Blanc. St Gervais has a lovely renovated town center with a good selection of bars, restaurants, bakeries and creperies (not to mention the chocolate!) and several supermarkets to use for everyday essentials. Just above St Gervais, at the first stop of the cable car is the small hamlet of Le Bettex, the birthplace of skiing in the region. Here you will find a charming restaurant, a ski school and several shops. Facing Mont Blanc, St Nicolas de Veroce is a typical mountain village. After an invigorating day on the slopes, the best way to relax is with a visit to the hot springs at Le Fayet. Les Thermes de St Gervais, situated in a magnificent park setting. It has been open for over 200 years and is prepared to treat you to the most advanced techniques in spa treatments. The local market comes to town on a Thursday with a range of Savoyard treats. Various festivals and concerts are held in the town throughout the year and it has an excellent theatre and cinema. Free resort shuttle buses operate throughout the area.
St Gervais itself is a beautiful little spa town with a well renovated centre that has retained the charm of its 19th century origins The bustling centre is full of ambience and has a good selection of bars, cafes and restaurants as well as a multitude of sporting and leisure facilities. There is a farmers market every Thursday where you can buy your local ham and cheeses and the St Gervais thermal baths in Le Fayet are also well worth a visit!
Access to St Gervais is so easy. Geneva airport is less than 50 minutes drive away or St Gervais/ Le Fayet train station - linked to Paris - is only a 10 minute drive.
It is a charming town with loads of ambience and takes you away from the purpose built ski resort. St Gervais is ideal for all types of skier but particularly for families or groups.
St Gervais Facts
- Altitude: 860 - 2350m
- Km of pistes: 500
- No of lifts: 125
- Beginners: excellent
- Intermediate: excellent
- Advanced: good
- Snowboarding: good
- Ski touring: excellent
- Non skiers: excellent
- Family: very good
- Nearest airport: Geneva (1 hour)
- Other airports: Grenoble (2 hour), Lyon (2 hour), Milan (2 hour), Turin (1.5 hour)
- Other pros: cafes, restaurants, shops, nightlife, short transfer, snow sure resort
- Resort website: www.st-gervais.com
- Good for: all skiing standards, airport access, child friendly, eating out, families, long weekends, Mont Blanc views, mountain restaurants.
St Gervais in Winter
Set right at the foot of Mont Blanc, the French ski resort of St Gervais Les Bains has access to over 490 pistes and 300km of skiing. Linked to Megeve and St Nicholas de Veroce, together they make up the largest inter-connected ski area within the Mont Blanc region and with much of the skiing above 2000m, it is reliably snow sure. All levels of skiing are catered for here, but particular favourites of ours are the sunny blue and red runs across to Megeve for some superb quality mountain restaurants; and Les Contamines, one of the areas biggest secrets for a good powder day. It's only a 10 minute drive from St Gervais and is included on the same ski pass. From the summit of Mont Joly you get an amazing panoramic view of the Mont Blanc region and on a clear day can even see the summit of the Grand Mottes glacier in Tignes! Local buses also take you between the different areas if you do not wish to ski.
St Gervais in Summer
St Gervais is not only a popular winter location but is absolutely spectacular in the summer - there is hiking, mountain biking, road biking, mountaineering, parapenting, rock climbing, via ferrate are amongst the favourites then there is also golf, leisure and water activities, sightseeing and sunbathing in the Lakes or swimming pools. Outside of this you can just sit down drink coffee and look at the views! Without doubt the best event of the year at the end of August is the North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc UTMB (170km 10000m of ascent) www.ultratrailmb.com where the worlds top ultra runners are completing in under 24 hours and run through St Gervais!
Climbing in the Mont Blanc massif and the Chamonix Valley means high mountains, superb granite and miles of limestone cliffs. Crags are usually equipped. Mountain routes may be partially equipped with, at least, abseil points in place. If you want to go high, be careful, read a guide book properly, take the necessary precautions or hire a guide.
Golf in the Alps is popular with holiday makers who want to take in the mountain air while enjoying a leisurely round of 9-18 holes. Chamonix has an excellent 18 hole course and there are also courses at Evian and Verbier.
The valley is beautiful and the hiking season can start as early as April in Chamonix. You will need lightweight boots and shorts, waterproofs, sunglasses, plus skin and lip protection. Always have a drink at hand as well. Walks are well sign posted. In the valley you can do one day walks from the cable car stations and further afield two day plus walks in surrounding French areas, Italy and Switzerland. Two very famous walks are The Tour of Mont Blanc which can take eight to ten days and The Walker's Haute Route which is Chamonix to Zermatt via mountain huts and valley hotels. Or why not try Mont Joly - the highest peak in St Gervais - it offers the most spectacular views from the top or the Col de Voza has many beautiful hamlets to walk through.
There are great mountain bike trails in the St Gervais and Les Contamines valleys and surrounding areas, for all levels. There are excursion trails on the valley floor as well as more difficult ones using the cable car systems to access them.
Chamonix in the Alps is the mecca for mountaineering, rock climbing and via ferrate! There are lots of mountaineering routes to do in the summer from valley cragging to the ascent of Mont Blanc. You must be aware of mountain safety, if tackling anything very dangerous then hire a guide.
Parapenting is a very popular sport in St Gervais due to the high mountains and great winds. There are many takeoff sites in Passy and Chamonix. You can take a tandem flight with a qualified instructor or lessons with a paragliding school.
The sports centre in St Gervais can offer you a climbing wall, gymnasium, ice skating, outdoor swimming pool (fabulous in the summer with a cafe and bar), sauna, squash and multiple tennis courts.
Swimming, Sunbathing, Windsurfing and BBQs
Take a trip to Lake Passy only 25 minutes drive - you can be bathing on the beach whilst admiring the ascents of Mont Blanc!