The village of Les Contamines-Montjoie nestles at the foot of Mont Blanc and is situated at the heart of a nature reserve.
The village has preserved its historic aspect, baroque churches and old farm buildings and 70% have been restored in keeping with the local Savoy architecture. A 5,500 hectare area is classified as a nature reserve to protect it from further development.
Set in a peaceful yet dramatic location at the upper end of a beautiful valley, road access from the nearby spa town of Saint Gervais-les-Bains is simple, involving little more than a gentle climb, making Les Contamines Montjoie one of the more accessible ski areas in the French Alps.
It’s also one of the oldest, having welcomed its first skiers around 1900. The once-remote farming village retains its traditional Savoyard appearance, with an attractive skyline of timber chalets still dominated by a lovingly restored Baroque church. Development in response to tourism remains on an unobtrusive, human scale, the very few larger (but still not high-rise) apartment structures being sited close to the Montjoie gondola.
The surrounding landscape is similarly unspoilt, and include some 5,500 hectares of protected nature reserve, much of it forested. Among the many peaks towering impressively over both sides of the valley is the legendary Mont Blanc, beyond which lies Courmayeur and Italy’s Aosta Valley. Similarly hidden from view on the opposite side of the valley are the neighbouring ski areas of Megève, Saint Gervais and Combloux.
Les Contamines is friendly and welcoming and works hard to ensure that its skiing visitors have a great experience - but non-skiers certainly aren’t forgotten.
A selection of dedicated signed routes allows walkers and snow-shoers to explore the peace and tranquillity of the valley floor and also (with a gondola ride) higher up the mountain. Add dog-sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice-climbing, ice-skating, plus a range of more relaxed pampering treatments, and there should be something to keep everyone entertained.
Numerous summits dominate the village:
To the west, the ski resort reaches across the hillside of Mont Joly at 2525m joining the Hauteluce ski area via the Col du Joly. The Tête du Veleray marks the summit of the slopes, with a stunning view of Mont Blanc, the Aravis mountain range and the valley of Beaufort.
To the east: Les Dômes de Miage, 3673m and the Aiguille de Bionnassay, 4052m, are part of the Mont Blanc range. To the south: the road leads to the Bonhomme mountain pass and towards Italy.
Les Contamines is an eco-friendly resort. In order to reduce village traffic, the resort runs a free shuttle bus service around town and to and from the ski-lifts. Other eco-friendly actions include: recycling waste, treatment of sewage, ski-slope clean-up campaigns, the use of organic oil for the slope grooming machines and distribution of pocket ashtrays, and reusable key cards…
Why Les Contamines?
- It’s located within a nature reserve
- It has amazing mountain scenery
- It’s part of a huge ski domain – 445km of piste
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Les Contamines ski facts:
- No. of slopes: 48
- Green slopes: 9
- Blue slopes: 11
- Red slopes: 19