Discovery trail, nature and heritage
Summer hike
Discovery trail, nature and heritage
Les Contamines-Montjoie

Discovery trail, nature and heritage

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A discovery trail of the heritage of Val Montjoie
Starting very close by the centre, this route takes you both into the history of Contamines-Montjoie from antiquity to the present, and into the richness of its heritage. Following the banks of the torrent, it’s an ideal family journey during the summer!

15 points of interest

  • Small patrimony

    A suggestion for a journey

    An illustration of the trail and the various points of interest that will be presented during your walk.
  • Geology

    The Bon Nant

    You will walk together, from the center of the village to Notre Dame de la Gorge, the endstop of this route.
    Who is it? Bon Nant, the torrent which source is located in the heart of the nature reserve of Contamines-Montjoie. To discover it, go to panel 2!
  • The main historic events of the village

    From Antiquity to the advent of tourism, discover all the main events in the history of Contamines-Montjoie. You will surely be able to answer this question: Who are the Ceutrones? To discover all of this, go to panel 3!
  • Architectural heritage

    Loge, mazot, éparson or fenil, all these French words for mountain cabins and shelters will have no more secrets for you once you will have read this panel explaining the different items of the typical pastoral architecture of Val Montjoie.
  • The call of the mountains

    Val Montjoie is renowned for the natural and wild beauty of its peaks. However, despite the attraction of this peaks for numerous mountaineers, the history of mountaineering here is quite complex. To find out more about it, go to panel 5!
  • The face of Les Contamines

    The Commune of Contamines-Montjoie has a rich natural alpine heritage. And nearly 2/3 of its surface is part of a national nature reserve! To find out more about it, go to panel 6!
  • Geology

    Evidence of the glacier's activity

    Did you know that glaciers activity mainly created the landscape that you observe all around you? And that some of these glaciers are even scientifically monitored by the nature reserve? To learn more about this, go to panel 7!
  • Fauna

    Life at all levels

    Altitude influences the natural environments succeeding on the mountain slopes. Each altitude level has its specific species of fauna and flora, some particularly adapted, others more adaptable ! It's life at all levels.
  • Fauna

    The land of mountain ungulates

    Chamois and Ibex are mountain ungulates while Red Deer or Roe deer are mostly plain ungulates, which are however adapted to mountain environment conditions.
    Discover which species are living here! To do so, go to panel 9!
  • Flora

    The forest

    The forest is an important environment in the nature reserve. To find out more about it, go to panel 10 !
  • Fauna

    At grass level

    A delicate picture of some essential species of flora, butterflies or amphibians, which you can observe with some luck and patience, in the nature reserve!
  • Fauna

    A mountain of feathers

    A rendezvous with the iconic species of mountain birds, such as the Golden Eagle or the Black Grouse, but also an encounter with other less known species, such as the European Pygmy Owl, a small nocturnal bird of prey living in the nature reserve.
  • The nature reserve

    A few steps away from the true entrance to the nature reserve, a panel presenting the issues of this protected and regulated natural space.
  • The roman route

    More than a touristic itinerary, the roman route was one of the main ways of crossing the Alps during Antiquity!
    Before the Roman invasion, Val-Montjoie was home to Ceutrons, a Celtic tribe practicing livestock breeding. For their cheese production, they imported salt from Moutiers via the Col du Bonhomme mountain pass. They participated in the establishment of these routes leading to Italy, which were taken by the Romans during the invasion of the Alps.
    Observe the section of Rochassets, it was carved in the rocks in order to create a passage for the charriots!
  • Notre Dame de la Gorge

    To know everything about the history of the church of Notre Dame de la Gorge, and have a better visit afterwards.


From the car park located in the center of Contamines-Mointjoie, next to the town hall.
  1. Reach the hiking trail by Chemin des Crueys and go down.
  2. At the crossroads and turn left.
  3. Pass next to of the first panel presenting the entire discovery route, then continue straight ahead.
  4. Cross the road to Nant Fandraz and follow the signs for the discovery trail.
  5. Cross a bridge and turn right. Then continue straight ahead.
  6. Cross the paved road called Chemin des Echenaz, and follow the direction of Notre-Dame de la Gorge on the hiking signs. The discovery trail markings also lead you in the same direction.
  7. Cross the bridge over the Nant Rouge torrent and continue straight ahead.
  8. At Pont du Lay, turn left to cross the bridge, then turn right immediately after the bridge. The hiking signs lead you in the direction of Notre-Dame de la Gorge.
  9. Cross the Moranches bridge and pass near the Centre nordique parking. Take the trail to Centre de loisirs and continue straight ahead.
  10. Pass near the Parc de loisirs at Le Pontet. Continue straight ahead towards Notre-Dame de la Gorge.
  11. Arrival at Notre-Dame de la Gorge. End of the discovery trail. Return by the same route in the opposite direction.
  • Departure : The center of Les Contamines-Montjoie
  • Arrival : Center of Les Contamines
  • Towns crossed : Les Contamines-Montjoie

Altimetric profile


Always be careful and plan ahead when hiking. Asters, CEN 74 can not be held responsible for the occurrence of an accident or any inconvenience on this itinerary.

Information desks


04 50 58 09 28

18 Route de Notre Dame de la Gorge, 74170 Les Contamines-Montjoie


Access and parking

Go to Contamines-Montjoie.
In the center of the village, follow the sign Office de Tourisme.
Park at the parking lot just near or below the large Tourist Office - Town Hall - Espace nature au sommet.

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