Wandering what to do in June? A couple of ideas for outings to discover the Alpine fauna and flora. Admire the views, enjoy a mountain terrace, whilst avoiding snowy trails! Suitable for all the family.
Merlet Animal Park
Discover this unique location on the south facing side of the Chamonix Valley above the village of Coupeau (Les Houches). The park is located at 1’500 m altitude and offers a natural balcony where our four footed friends enjoy front seat views of the Mont-Blanc Massif. Wander through the park and you will meet the native ibex, chamois, deer, marmots, mountain goats as they roam the mountain side. You will also encounter a few exotic lamas who have a tendancy to spit at visitors who don’t respect their comfort zone!
There are easy walks (accessible with push chairs although a child backpack is more practical) and a high trail for those who want to discover more of the park. Allow around 2 hours for the visit. The ‘Auberge du Balcon de Merlet’ serves refreshments and lunches and you too will be admirative of the panorama.
Opening times in June: 10h to 18h except Mondays.
Entry fee: adults: 6 € ; children 4 to 14 yrs:4 €
For the well-being of the animals, dogs and picnics are not accepted. Flat shoes recommended.
Access: On foot from Chamonix via the Petit Balcon Sud, then direction Merlet = approx. 2 hours. On foot from Les Gaillands/Les Bossons = approx. 1½ hours. By vehicle: 6 km from the station in Les Houches; 11 km from Chamonix (exit N205 n°27)
More information visit Merlet web site
The Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve and the Boerne Gite
Situated at the Col des Montets, 3 km beyond Argentière the Aiguilles rouges chalet laboratory offers visitors a unique opportunity to delve into the passionate world of fauna and flora in the mountains. A botanical path around the reserve highlights alpine flowers and vegetation and offers a perfect opportunity for marmot spotting. If you’re lucky you will also see ibex or chamois who have come down to graze the lower pastures due to the late vegetation this year.
There is a permanent exhibition within the chalet, fascinating for all ages, with microscopes, interactive screens, projections and conferences. The Reserve staff and post graduate students will be delighted to share their knowledge with you and on request, they can accompany you on the botanical path around the reserve.
The chalet is open daily from 10h to 17h30. Light refreshments available. Entry free. Dogs are not admitted to the nature reserve.
Access: Take the bus to Montroc (buses approximately every hour in June). From Montroc walk in the direction of the railway tunnel and take the path left over the tunnel, direction Trélechamps and the Col des Montets. Maps available in all the Valley tourist offices.
Walking time: A very leisurely 1 hr one way. The Gite la Boerne in the hamlet of Tréléchamps offers an idyllic location for a lunch stop or afternoon tea on your way there or back. The gite has a children’s play area, a mountain stream, exceptional views and an abundance of flowers. Located on the TMB route, this delightful refuge also serves excellent value evening meals on reservation.
From Tréléchamps return to Montroc (15 minutes leisurely walk). As you leave the village on your left, keep an eye out for the totem family, sternly presiding over the mountain side. Hewed out of fallen trees following last year’s storms, they stand like sentinels guarding the pass!