Combloux
Apartments
PAYS DU MONT-BLANC - FRANCE  

Discover the area around Combloux

There really are so many attractive places to visit and interesting things to do near to Combloux, that we can only give a brief overview to whet the appetite for you. We ourselves are constantly discovering new things that the area has to offer for summer outings.

JUST CLICK! on this plan to read the relevant section.

The local area around Combloux, Cordon and Megeve has many interesting and attractive walks, also the farm produce and activities like biking, luge, ice skating, and riding.

In the valley visit Sallanches market town; picnic at the base of a spectacular waterfall; enjoy two fabulous lakes with beaches, playgrounds and water sports; visit a cheese cave; or take the cog railway from the GTV station up to a glacier on Mont Blanc.

Across the valley see Plateau d'Assy church with its modern art works by Matisse etc.; watch parapenters take off from Pleine Joux; and walk to and around the beautiful Lac Vert.

Towards Les Contamines walks from Bionnassay to the glacier and Bellevue, and the "sentier de la baroque" walk taking in a number of old churches, chapels and oratories.

Towards Chamonix get there by motorway or historic railway; take the cog railway to Mer de Glace and the ice cave; cable car to the top of Europe's highest mountain; high mountain walks; nature parks; and people watching.

Circular tours through spectacular mountain scenery to Annecy old town beaches and lake, maybe taking in a couple of golf courses. Or perhaps through Chamonix to Martigny in Switzerland and back via Lac Leman.

The local area

Combloux village - our guests find it "charming", "a community feel", "lack of British tourists", "good shops and eating out", "and inexpensive too". Newcomers often ask if there will be much to interest their elderly relatives, children, or teenagers - there is just so much to do that it is hard to imagine anyone failing to enjoy a holiday here and certainly we have never heard of it.

Here, very briefly, are some of the key amenities in the village. Bank Populaire de Savoissienne - on main road at lower end of Combloux, has a 24-hour cash machine that accepts UK credit cards, Cirrus and Eurocheque cards with pin number. Crèche - the Garderie des Enfants, "Les Galopins", is next door to Combloux church. Church - Most of the local churches are catholic. At Combloux, mass is celebrated usually at 18:30 Saturdays, 8:30 and 10:00 Sundays. Doctors - the surgery (50.58.62.90) is above the Bank Populaire Savoissienne. Dentists - Philippe Grange (50.58.63.17) is in Route de Prairie. Dominique Merlin (50.58.65.80) is above the Casino Supermarché. Hospital - the nearest is in Sallanches with extensive facilities including emergency, 04.50.47.30.30. Weather - The local Tourist Office displays an excellent forecast for the next few days.

Cordon - village, 5 km from Combloux, beautiful church, some of the best panoramic views in the area from the mountain above Sallanches. Lots of walks. Small ski area with sunny aspect - does not hold snow well.

Megève - Authentic old Savoy village has managed to retain much of its charm while growing into an elegant resort. Boutiques, bars and restaurants now line the old cobbled streets around the 14th century church. Baroness de Rothschild developed the resort to host royal visitors in the 1920s.

Praz-sur-Arly - Small village beyond Megève. Good walking and attractive family skiing in mid-season when the snow-line is fairly low.

Across the valley

Plateau d’Assy - Village above Passy has superb modern art church with original work by Matisse and other artists.

Plaine Joux - area just above and beyond Plateau d’Assy, fascinating to watch parapenteurs taking off, also beautiful walks and views

Lac Vert - crystal clear, green lake a short drive or walk from Plaine Joux. Easy to walk around. Pleasant cafe terrace with attractive Mont Blanc view.

In the valley

Sallanches - Old market town, completely rebuilt in mid-19th century after third catastrophic fire. Attractive town square, river with tree lined avenue, market on Saturday mornings, industrial shopping area and Carrefour hypermarket.

Cascade de L’Arpenaz - an easy drive to this spectacular waterfall just north of Sallanches, at the village of Luzier - see the Combloux walking map. Just through the trees from the car park, water curls out into the air 2300 feet above and dashes down the last 800 feet of sheer rock into the small pool beside your feet. There are picnic tables in the nearby meadow.

Lac du Passy - Shallow artificial lake and beach in the valley. Lovely setting for bathing from May to September. Nice picnic spot and childrens area, also windsurfing, fishing, etc.

Tramway du Mont Blanc - one of three surviving rack and pinion lines, this is the highest railway in France, leading up to the "Nid d'Aigle", summer terminus at 2370m, where sightseers have a short walk out to the Bionnassay glacier and the more serious climbers and high mountain walkers begin their adventures. The line began as an audacious project in 1904, which aimed to take the rail over Mont Blanc and into Italy. It was abandonned in 1914 because of the war, and work was never resumed. This explains the temporary appearance of the terminus at Nid d'Aigle, which is built around one of the steepest sections of track. The amenities are basic but there is a ticket office and a very welcome refreshment kiosk.

The journey starts from a small ticket office and waiting room in the yard of the mainline terminus at le Fayet. It runs through the street past the entrance to the "Thermal Park" then starts to climb to the first stop in St Gervais, and on through woods beyond that until it emerges into alpine meadowland and its second stop on the ridge at Bellevue. This is a beautiful area with views up the Arve valley to Chamonix and Mont Blanc. In winter it is part of the ski resort of Les Houches, and end of the line for the trains, which are used to bring skiers up from St Gervais.

Towards Les Contamines

Les Houches - ski resort on right, halfway from Le Fayet to Chamonix. Prarion region has short steep runs and pretty off piste when snow is good (prone to ice in early season and slush late season). Also reached at Bellevue by Tramway du Mont Blanc.

St Gervais - Famous old spa town and tourist resort. Church, park, shops, bars and restaurants. Extensive walking and skiing areas outside town.

Bionnassay - This small village is on the left of the valley towards les Contamines (up a steep narrow mountain road - not for the timid driver). In summer it is a very popular base for walking - there is a particularly nice circuit from the village up to Bellevue continuing upwards along the ridge just below the Tramway du Mont Blanc railway line and finally dropping back through forest to the village.

Les Contamines - village at the end of the valley from St Gervais. Good walks, famous church "Notre Dame de la Gorge", large varied ski area. Can be bleak when not sunny.

Towards Chamonix

Le ligne de Haute Savoie - The high speed TGV from Paris arrives at St Gervais-le Fayet, one of the most interesting outposts of the French railway system. On the other side of the platform is this SNCF narrow guage railway, which runs 34 kms to Vallorcine where it connects into the Swiss Martigny-Châtelard railway. There is a facinating 45 minute journey to Chamonix through the industrial area of Chedde then up the steepest (1 in 11) non-rack section of track in the world through the narrow Gorge de la Diasoz. The line cris-crosses the road and river by several bridges, tunnels and viaducts with the "Route Blache" Motorway viaduct towering above. After les Houches is a relatively gentle run beside the river Arve into Chamonix. Beyond Chamonix the line climbs up the valley to Argentière and tunnels through the Aiguille Rouge mountains to complete another 30 minutes journey into Vallorcine. The SNCF trains do not continue down into Switzerland because this involves a rack section of track - passengers have to change to Swiss trains at the border.

The line was opened in 1901 to carry tourists to the developing resort of Chamonix and trains are still packed with skiers in the winter with two snow ploughs being employed to keep the line open, often through one meter of snow. There are two more one meter railways connecting to this line, which are in fact two of the three surviving track railways in France.

Chamonix - 26 km from Combloux, 30 minutes via dual carriageway which you join at Le Fayet. Expensive international resort, but worth a visit if only for the "people watching". Hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924. The golf course was founded in 1934 and extended to 18 holes in 1972. Chamonix is a good centre for steep walks and tough skiing. Cable cars serve interesting peaks and glaciers.

Le Brevent - peak at 2,525m above Chamonix. Served by cable car on North side of town. Spectacular views. Popular for parapenting in summer, ski region in winter.

Mer de Glace, Montenvers railway - the rack and pinion railway east from Chamonix (1042m) climbs to 1913m. This is a very popular 5km trip and a pair of trains leaves every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day. In summer there is a special 7am train for climbers setting out on grand ascents to the various mountain refuges and there is also a school for beginners to ice climbing and easier mountain paths for walkers. Construction of the line involved some major engineering works to build bridges tunnels and viaducts and the stations display history of the deaths and hardships this involved. There is a photogenic walk back down to Chamonix, crossing the track in several places and a refreshment bar about halfway down.

The Montenvers terminus has observation platforms overlooking the very spectacular "sea of ice", which is 7kms long, 1200m wide and 200 m thick. It is hard to appreciate the scale without binnoculars to spot all of the poeple walking on the glacier. There is a short cable car descent to the edge of the glacier where a tunnel and cave has been carved into the ice. A walk inside the ice cave is an unforgetable experience. Since the glacier is flowing at about 8mm per hour the ice cave moves about 75 meters in a year and a new cave has to be cut each season.

Aiguille du Midi - at 3,842m, third peak to left of Mont Blanc - nearly 2˝ miles high - with broadcast tower on top. Departure point for Vallee Blanche, spectacular views. Beware: queues at Chamonix for cable car, very cold, thin atmosphere, and strong sun at top. Choose a very clear day and make an early start.

Vallee Blanche - Famous and spectacular 12 miles long unpisted ski run towards Chamonix starting with a hair-raising walk down icy steps from the Aiguille du Midi. Not difficult to ski but a guide is needed because of dangerous crevasses.

Mont Blanc Tunnel - entrance near Chamonix, drive (11 km) right through Europe’s highest mountain and into Italy. Ascend the Italian side of Mont Blanc or try the skiing at Courmayeur. In summer it is possible to drive a 170 km round trip returning to Chamonix via the Aosta valley, St Bernard Pass and Martigny in Switzerland.

Glacier de Bosson - small village at the west end of Chamonix gives its name to the biggest glacier in Europe. Access by foot or chair lift. Less crowded than Mer de Glace but also has an ice cave.

Argentiere - uninspiring village 8 kms beyond Chamonix, but also a Mecca for international skiers. Cable car access to the Grand Montets ski area for superb tough skiing.

Le Tour and Le Tour glacier - small village beyond Argentiere almost on the Swiss border. Good summer walks, small uncrowded, ski area with easy runs.

Reserve Naturelle des Aiguilles Rouges - nature reserve beyond Argentière and close to the Swiss border.

Day trips

Annecy - Capital town of Haute Savoie. The old town is facinating to walk around. Flowers abound the canal walks, bridges and couryards and the narrow streets are lined with small restaurants and outdoor snack bars. Lots of shopping, theatres and cinemas, and a street market every Tuesday. The magnificant lake, said to be the purest in Europe, is popular for bathing, water sports and boat trips.
Annecy is a lovely 60 km drive from Combloux via Flumet and over the col to Les Clusaz, or via the spectacular gorge to Ugine and up the west side of the lake - perfect for a circular tour. The south west end of the lake is excellent for a lunch stop, for example at "le Chalet" at Duingt.

Geneva - 60 km and about 45 mins from Combloux. City life, international airport, shops, park, and famous Jet d’Eau fountain, on beautiful Lac Leman - the largest lake in Europe.