SARL Peak Transfer
44a Chemin du Lai
Chamonix Mt Blanc
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So you have booked your next ski holiday or have found a great ski deal for Saint Gervais and want to get an idea of what to expect when you get here. Well look no further… we at Peak Transfer have a rather soft spot for the charming authentic alpine village and have written our very own destination guide to share some of the things we love about the place.
So you might not have heard about Saint Gervais but don’t be fooled by this. In our opinion Saint Gervais is a true hidden gem of the French Alps, and the French’s best kept secret! The reason for this, well simply its close proximity to its rather more fashionable and popular neighbours Megeve, Morzine and Chamonix. If it was located elsewhere it would be a majorly popular resort. As soon as you arrive in St Gervais you will soon find that it has a real dedication to families and all sports. Having been recently voted 3rd best family resort in the world by the World Snow Awards 2015 and awarded to host 2 stages of the upcoming tour de france this summer evidences this.
One of the most alluring factors after the scenery, and friendly atmosphere is that unlike its well-known neighbours St Gervais is very reasonably priced. Eating in town or in the mountain, the immediate essentials from the local shop and especially accomodation rental will be considerably cheaper than nearby resorts. That teamed with it being a relatively quiet resort for its considerable size means it a great quality resort without the normally associated horrendous queues. Whatsmore, it’s a very easy resort to travel to no matter what method of transport you decide to take. St Gervais is just a mere hour transfer by road from Geneva Airport, Only 10-15 minutes drive up the mountain from the main motorway network for those wanting to self-drive without the thought of having to negotiate a frankly terrifyingly treacherous snow covered alpine passes. Those preferring to take the scenic route in the form of a train can benefit from a fast connections from Paris to local station Le-Fayet-Saint-Gervais.
Saint Gervais is a quaint little village in the Haute-Savoie area of the French Rhône-Alpes region. St Gervais has been known as both Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains and St Gervais Mont Blanc aptly named after its two most significant geological features, Europe’s tallest mountain and the natural thermal springs bringing cherished warmed mineral water to the earth’s surface. Due to its natural thermals St Gervais has always been a popular spa town since their discovery over 200 years ago attracting those near and far wanting to benefit from the rejuvenating and healing hydrotherapeutic properties of the springs minerals. Not to mention the truly healing and relaxing scenery surrounding the beautiful valley.
St Gervais unlike many french ski destinations is not a characterless purpose built resort and has a small but genuine all year round population. Laced with character, rustic charm and historical architecture dating back as far as the 12th Century such as classic stone buildings, ironwork and impressive sculptures. With many of the historical buildings providing a real sense of authentic traditional enchantment it is a rather pleasant and inspiring resort to match its beautiful alpine surroundings rare in french mountain resorts.
St Gervais is part of the Evasion Mont Blanc ski area, the third largest domain exclusively in France. It boasts 450 km of pistes runs, with plenty more additional off-piste opportunities also. For such as big resort it is rarely busy and queues pretty much none existent meaning there is more time on the slope rather than getting your elbows out and struggling to get on the lift with your friends and family. Although St Gervais is a low lying resort with the village centre at just 900m the ski resort itself sits predominantly above 1,400m with pistes soaring up to 2,500m.
The ski area is noted for variable terrain, wooden chalets and tree lined slopes in front of Mont Blanc providing some of the most scenic skiing in the Alps. Beginners are blessed with long and wide dreamy rolling greens perfect for novices and youngsters alike, winding blues through the trees, ungroomed pistes and some challenging steeper blacks to keep the more advanced skiers on their toes! There are a number of additional attractions to the resort such as kids nature ski trails, ski cross course and airbag for the bigger kids (adults very much included in this), in addition to the newest addition of the Folie Douce Chain…. but more about this later! If you love skiing through the trees, in the sunshine with a rather relaxed and family friendly atmosphere St Gervais cannot be beaten.
Unlike its neighbouring resort of Chamonix whoms ski areas are dispersed across the mountain requiring substantial bus transfers by road. St Gervais is interconnect with Megeve, and St Nicolas de Véroce, Plus very short (5-15 minute) bus transfers to Les Contamines, Combloux and La Giettaz. If this is not enough for you , or more likely you like to move around a bit to sample other local resorts the Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass now covers the Evasion Mont Blanc Ski Area. This all singing all dancing pass gives you additional access to Les Houches, Chamonix (all areas), Courmayeur in Italy and the Swiss 4 Vallees resort aka Verbier. You can access the additional 55 km of piste of Les Houches including the Men’s World Cup Downhill Kandahar run from the village high street via the Tramway du Mont-Blanc. Although be aware that this takes 30-40 minutes being one of the oldest rack and pinion railways and it is more of a sightseeing tourist attraction. Also be aware that this resort is not covered in the Evasion Mont Blanc Pass.
St Gervais is a hot spot for Savoyard cuisine and you’re simply spoilt for choice. What’s more is that generally this fantastic food and superb service comes at great value. Considerably cheaper prices than that found in nearby Chamonix and Megeve means eating out is more affordable without having to compromise.
Le Café Rodolphe on the high street serves exquisite Savoyard inspired lunches and fondues, oh and their crepes are to die for! Le Royal also on the high street is great for a large family meal with a varied menu offering great value for money… the house burger is a particular favorite for many. For those looking for a fine dining option then your more than catered for with the Michelin star Le Serac Restaurant. For those that have their own transport just a few minutes drive down the mountain towards Le Fayet there is the Le Four restaurant which specialises in meat dishes cooked over a wood fire, as well as other savoyard cuisine. If you are a keen meat eater this should definitely not be missed!
Okay so if you are looking for lively jumping on the tables, bar to bar apres as an essential part of your holiday then St Gervais is unlikely to float your boat, it maybe worth exploring options in Chamonix and Megeve. However, if you’re after a more relaxed apres scene and just a drink with friends at the bar to end the day rather than partying to the early hours in a cheesy discoteque then you will be more than catered for.
Like previously mentioned St Gervais/ Megeve is host to the latest addition to La Folie Douce chain. Eat, drink, dance and socialise from lunchtime and beyond on Mont Joux at almost 2,000m. Expect dancing on tables, live entertainment and great company.
For those that prefer to save their apres until they get off the slopes or a little later in the day you have the Oboose bar located at the bottom of the home run or just accross the road from the gondola station. Popular with the younger generation with music blaring and relaxed atmosphere makes it a nice watering hole for apres or into the early hours.
Generally a more diverse crowd can be found in the Brasserie du Mont Blanc or the Pur bar located in the village centre. If you are looking to find a football game or sport Brasserie du Mont Blanc often have sport on many of the TV screens scattered around the venue. If you’re feeling peckish then their bar food is pretty good too.
The great thing about St Gervais is that there’s always something going on besides the amazing skiing on offer, usually in the centre of the village. We recommend attending one of the many hockey games that take place in the ice rink, watching the local professional team play is a great evenings entertainment with cheap beer, vin chaud and soft drink sold. We are sure you be astonished at the fast pace of the game and will soon get taken in by the crowd’s atmosphere and start cheering for your favorite team. You also have the opportunity to take to the ice yourself throughout the day.
Next to the ice rink is the brand new swimming pool. If any of you fancy taking a dip to ease tension or stretch out with a bit of active recovery then you will not be disappointed by the pools facilities.
It wouldn’t be the French Alps if paragliding was not taking place somewhere. There are a number of take off points and tandem flights offering spectacular views of Mont Blanc, Mont Joly, Fiz and surrounding mountain ranges.
The main ‘extra-curricular’ attraction which you will see advertised everywhere is of course the thermal baths from which the town gets its name. The local natural springs are thought to have healing hydrotherapeutic properties and people with ailments travel great distances to benefit from these springs. Open all year round the thermal spa ‘Les Thermes‘ sits within the beautiful ‘Parc Thermal’ in the lower village of Le Fayet. Relax, unwind and recuperate in the warm indoor and outdoor pool. Let the various jets massage achy muscles after easing tension in the glorious steam room. After you have had enough of the water chill out in the relaxation room with a complimentary herbal or fruit tea and some nibbles before making your way back your accommodation.
Peak Transfer provide private transfers from Geneva Airport or city centre straight to your accommodation door throughout the year. We also can provide shared transfers to Saint-Gervais-Le-Fayet station (subject to availability). For more information contact our office by email or phone, or take a look here for a quick quote.