St Gervais Les Bains is a delightful French village in the Evasion Mont Blanc area of the Alps. It’s a fully functioning French village, which remains largely undiscovered by British tourists, and so has that real French village feel. St Gervais has an abundance of historical buildings and architectural delights reinstating its traditional charm and character.
It is popular for its natural thermal spa, Les Thermes de Saint Gervais Les Bains, which sits within Parc Thermal in the village of Le Fayet lower down the mountainside. The setting is beautiful and provides a tranquil paradise for relaxation and unwinding. The historic Mont Blanc Tramway has a station here and departs from Le Fayet and takes passengers up to an attitude of 2372m to the Bionnassay glacier.
During a visit to St Gervais, If you have a competitive spirit, the Saint Gervais Chrono test challenge is a timed race from St Gervais de Veroce to Le Plateau de Le Croix a 3km trail acending 218m. You can walk, run, cycle or snow shoe the choice is yours (but no motorised forms of transport!), once you’ve completed the challenge your time is printed on your ticket and if you’re fast enough you might get your name up on the official website.
The resort is likely to remain an unspoilt gem in the Alps’ crown as its Mayor and tourist board are determined to maintain its splendid natural heritage and beauty. The Mayor launched his “Pure Mountain Campaign” with the aim of preventing over commercialisation and encouraging sustainable development and a softer form of tourism.
So new build chalets and apartments are unlikely in St Gervais for the foreseeable future although if you’re keen on purchasing property in a traditional Savoyard village with plenty of rusticity and charm your dream chalet might be here. The village has a great range of amenities including post offices, kindergartens, ski school and super markets. Those that enjoy eating out won’t be disappointed as there are plenty to choose from, offering a variety of cuisines such as French, Gastronimique and Savoyard.
The skiing around St Gervais is part of the Evasion Mont Blanc ski area and can be accessed from the centre of the village via the Saint Gervais Bettex ski lift. The Evasion Mont Blanc area offers almost 450km of beautifully maintained ski slopes with runs suited to families, beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers and snowboarders. It’s the third largest ski area in France but doesn’t come with the hustle, bustle and queues of some of its more popular neighbours such as Chamonix.
Those that enjoy free styling can practise their skills in the Mont Joux snow park and there are some truly stunning sights to see and powder to enjoy while exploring the mountains off piste.
Mountaineering and ice climbing are also popular winter time pursuits in St Gervais. Part of Mont Blanc lies inside the St Gervais region and the surrounding Mont Blanc Massif and Evasion mountain ranges offer a great variety of climbing trails for all abilities. For beginners there’s also an indoor climbing wall to get you started.
St Gervias summary
In the summer months St Gervais is a popular destination for a range of outdoor activities. As in winter mountaineers are drawn to the surrounding mountain ranges which provide some truly stunning panoramic views and vistas for hikers. From the peaks you can paraglide to gain even more impressive views of the whole range with its valleys, glaciers and crevasses.
The Evasion Mont Blanc area runs a summer pass incentive allowing card holders free or discounted access to transportation, actives and sites across the area. With the pass you can enjoy a day at the outdoor swimming pool, play mini golf, swim in Les Pontets lake, use the mountain lifts, go ice-skating, try archery and visit many of the libraries and museums.