Morzine

Morzine: A Beautiful Village in the French Alps

Morzine is a beautiful historic Savoyard village that sits along the River Dranse in the French Alps. It is part the Rhône-Alpes Region of France, but it is in the Portes du Soleil, a section of the Alps which straddles the borders of France and Switzerland. Nearby are other popular resort destinations such as Avoriaz, Les Gets, and La Chapelle in France, not to mention the famous Mont Blanc, the highest summit in Western Europe. Morzine’s location allows it a wonderful micro-climate that offers great skiing at a relatively low altitude. It is about 600km from Paris, 200km from Lyon, and only 75km from Geneva, Switzerland. If arriving by plane, the closest airport is Geneva’s Cointrin, from which one can take a bus on to the village. By train, one can arrive in Cluses or Thonon-les-Bains, just 30km away, and catch a bus to Morzine. Once in the village, there are local buses which will take you to the other ski resorts, such as Avoriaz, just five minutes away. Otherwise, having a car can be helpful when trying to get around the area.

This tiny village with only about 3,000 permanent residents was principally a farming and slate mining town until it was discovered and developed as a ski resort in the 1930s. The village has retained its historic charm, filled with carved balconies, slate roofs, and wooden facades typical of the Alpine region. The Savoie Guides offer a tour of the village every Thursday morning, in which they cover the architecture, traditions and history of the village, including the role of the Dukes of Savoy. The Morzine Cheese Dairy is also a great place to visit for the whole family. Here owner Nicolas Baud allows visitors to help make the local cheeses, including Tomme, Reblochon, and Abondance. Morzine also offers a number of great restaurants and a lively night life, including shows for kids and dances for teenagers, and the cinema. In town there is also indoor ice skating, bowling, and concerts, and in the summer visitors can enjoy golf and tennis.

Morzine is especially popular for outdoor sports. Skiers and snowboarders flock to the slopes here, but it is also a great place for families since over half the runs are perfect for beginning and intermediate skiers. The resort also offers ski school for adults and children as young as three years old, and child care is offered for babies as young as two months and up to four years old, allowing parents an opportunity to enjoy the slopes. In the winter visitors can also enjoy snowshoeing, sledding, and sleigh rides.

In the summer months, Morzine is also hopping. The lifts and gondolas run throughout the summer, bringing bikers, hikers and mountain climbers to the peak, so they can work their way down again. There are over 650km of posted bike routes down the mountain, many of them off road, leading through meadows, streams and forests. Alpine guides lead tours on hikes through different terrains, including glacier walks. There are even opportunities for families to go on Donkey Treks, where children can hop aboard the donkeys when they get too tired. The French Climbing School leads courses in mountain climbing, and summer sledging is always popular. There is even an adventure park in the village where pulleys, zip wires, swing bridges and circuit ladders allow children and adults alike to swing from the trees and climb to great heights. Paragliding is also popular in Morzine, as are the various festivals the village offers that include wood cutting competitions, wine and chocolate.

Morzine is really a great place to visit, at any age. It offers a wide variety of activities for all levels and all interests. Whether you want to stroll through the historic village and enjoy the fine local cuisine, or take a gondola to the highest peak and work your way back down in summer or winter, the possibilities or endless. For singles or families, Morzine offers a great place to stay in the French Alps.

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