Transfers to Les Houches and Servoz are some of the quickest in the alps, at around an hour from Geneva Airport. Les Houches, along with the neighbouring village of Servoz, are the gateway to the Chamonix Valley. Both have a more relaxed, family appeal, yet are just a short distance from the all the ski resorts of both the Chamonix and Evasion Mont Blanc areas (St Gervais, Megève, Les Contamines etc).
Those booking a transfer from Geneva to Les Houches or Servoz will be pleased to find out that you’ll be amongst the first to be dropped off and the last the be picked up on your way back to the airport. That means you have the shortest transfer times of the Chamonix valley.
On your way up from Geneva Airport on the ‘road on stilts’, Servoz is the first transfer stop, followed by Les Houches. We also cover the likes of Le Coupeau and Le Betty/La Flatiere, the hamlets on the opposite side of the River Arve to les Houches itself.Guide section
Lovely Les Houches!
What we love about Les Houches is that it’s a ski resort in its own right and offers a satisfying combination of activities and amenities, with a tranquillity that is very different to Chamonix. A lot of families live full time, year round in Les Houches, which gives it that very ‘normal’ feel, as well as being a holiday destination with lots of things to do and events.
Great skiing for all levels
On low visibility weather days, dropping off the piste to ski through the pine trees in Les Houches can’t be beaten. Baby skiers will find their ski legs at the lovely Jardin de Neige beside the Lac de Chavants at the bottom of the Prarion lift (and parents/grand parents will love the adjacent lakeside Guinguette cafe!).
Youngsters will love the sunny, gentle slopes and funparks on the ‘Ecole’ plateau, whilst speed demons will be jumping in their ski boots at the thought of skiing the famous ‘Verte des Houches’ black run, used for professional FIS World Cup races. It might not have the same kudos as say, Les Grands Montets in Argentière, but we highly recommend skiing Les Houches, if only to see amazing ‘side-on’ views of Mont Blanc unique to the Prarion plateau.
It’s also a real treat to try some of the tucked away little mountain restaurants that are a far cry from the canteen-style self service restaurants we see elsewhere in the valley.
As for après-ski, it’s a laid-back affair in Les Houches, with just enough bars and restaurants to keep you amused, with the likes of the Kitsch Inn, Delice and Le Solerey brew pub, which is in the historic building at the bottom of Tourchet nursery slopes and the ice skating rink in the village centre.
Summertime family fun in Les Houches
Les Houches really comes into its own in the summer, as it’s the traditional start or finish point of the Tour Mont Blanc hiking itinerary. The mountains and hills around Les Houches offer some of the best walking in the valley, with alpine pastures, mountain farms and hamlets to explore.
Tempting you with amazing panoramas of the Aiguilles, the laid back little village of Servoz offers a traditional mountain holiday in an authentic style. In summer, Servoz comes into its own with wonderful biking (road cycling in particular), a brilliant pump track near the tennis courts and sport climbing at Le Lac end of the village too. A walk on the sunny promenade de l’Arve from the bottom of Le Coupeau all the way to Les Gaillands is must too!
Whether you take a transfer to Les Houches or Servoz, you know you’re going to be at the gateway to the Mont Blanc Massif in around an hour from Geneva, so you can maximise your time in the mountains!
Keeping the whole family entertained in Les Houches
Family-friendly Les Houches is ready to welcome you all at any time of year, with some fabulous activities to keep both little ones and grown-ups amused. Here’s a little selection we’ve handpicked for you, to give you an idea of the sort of things you can do both on and off the mountains, with summer and winter seasons covered.content-activities.php
A ride on the Tramway Mont Blanc is a must-do. This vintage rack and pinion railway runs from Le Fayet, via St Gervais and Col de la Voza, terminating at the sunny plateau of Bellevue in winter. In summer it goes all the way up to Nid d’Aigle at 2380m near the Bionnassay Glacier and is often the last mechanical mode of transport for mountaineers heading off on the ‘Classic Route’ to summit Mont Blanc. If you have a Mont Unlimited Pass, it’s included!
Our top tip for spring and summer is to head to the Parc Merlet wild animal park in sunny Le Coupeau, the hamlet in the hills behind the main Les Houches train station. The parc has pretty amazing views across the valley, with a perspective on the Mont Blanc you can’t get anywhere else. Parc residents roaming free include Chamois, Mouflons, Cerf, Marmots and much more. Opens once the snow melts and there’s a restaurant with a sand pit for kids too.
Get your walking boots on in Les Houches. Whether it’s a gentle stroll around Lac de Chavants and in the stunning forest behind the tennis club at Les Chavants, an uphill hike to discover the hidden hamlet of La Charousse, or heading off along the Promenade de l’Arve to reach Chamonix, the walking around Les Houches is superb, particularly in autumn when you kick those fallen leaves.
Shhh…don’t tell everyone about the Abbaye piste in Les Houches. It’s a bit of a flat traverse start, but once it gets going, you’ll have superb panoramic views over the back of the ski area towards St Gervais, Megeve, Sallanches and beyond. You come out near a cluster of lovely old farmhouses to take the Crozat chair back into civilisation!
Les Houches retains a wonderful village feel, with an emphasis on relaxed and family-based activities. There’s also a thriving cultural scene too, with entertainment and festivities year round for all. There’s everything from the ‘big hitter’ sporting events that draw in the crowds of thousands and are not to be missed, to the smaller, more intimate events that’ll make you feel like a local. Here’s our pick of forthcoming events in Les Houches.
Guided evening ski touring outings open to all. In association with ZAG skis and the Ravanel Sports Shops, a series of evening ski tours set off to discover the best of the Chamonix valley after the day skiers and boarders have left the slopes. Rendez vous (Pierre a Ric, Prarion etc) is at 18:00 and you return at 21:00. Open to all levels of ski tourer, it’s also the chance to test ZAG’s Adret and Ubac ski range. Numbers limited to 40 per outing. It’s free, but you need to sign up via Eventbrite (search ZAG Chamonix). Dates for 2020 are Weds 5 Feb, Tues 3 March and Tues 7 April.
Now you know all about the family-orientated village and resort of Les Houches, along with neighbouring Servoz and hamlets like Le Coupeau, you might agree it’s time to discover the quieter side of the Chamonix Valley. So, get that transfer to Les Houches booked and become part of the Houches community – even if you only have a week to become an ‘Houchard’ before returning to Geneva Airport.
Oh and as anyone who’s ever travelled with young kids will appreciate, we drop you, the little ones and all your luggage right at your front door – and we provide child car seats for free when you pre-book them.