Nature and heritage discovery trail
Les Contamines-Montjoie

Nature and heritage discovery trail

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A trail to discover the heritage of Val Montjoie
Located right next to the town centre, this itinerary immerses you in the fascinating history of Les Contamines-Montjoie, from ancient times to the present day, and in the richness of its heritage. The trail runs alongside a stream and is ideal for family outings in summer!

15 points of interest

  • Small patrimony

    A glimpse of the route

    An illustration of the trail and various points of interest along the way.
  • 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 that mysterious companion going to be? Bon Nant, water torrent which source is located in the heart of the nature reserve of Contamines-Montjoie. To find out more about it, go to sign 2!
  • Highlights of the village's history

    From ancient times to the dawn of tourism, discover all the key historical dates in Les Contamines-Montjoie. And then you'll be able to answer the question: who were the Ceutrons? Go to panel 3!
  • Architectural heritage

    Loge, mazot, éparson or fenil will hold no more secrets for you, once you've seen this panel which describes the different elements of pastoral architecture typical of the Val Montjoie.
  • The call of the mountains

    The Val Montjoie is renowned for the natural beauty and ruggedness of its peaks. Despite the appeal of these peaks to mountaineering enthusiasts, the history of mountaineering here is far from straightforward. To find out more, go to panel 5!
  • The face of Les Contamines

    The municipality of Les Contamines-Montjoie has a rich natural alpine heritage. In fact, almost two thirds of its surface area is classified as a national nature reserve! To find out more, go to panel 6!
  • Geology

    Legacy of the glaciers

    Did you know that glaciers are the main architects of the landscape you can see all around you? Some of them are being scientifically monitored by the nature reserve. To find out more, go to panel 7!
  • Fauna

    Life at all levels

    Altitude has an influence on the natural environments that occur on mountain slopes. Thus, at each altitude level there are different species of flora and fauna, some particularly well adapted, others more versatile! There is life at every level.
  • Fauna

    The homeland of mountain ungulates

    Chamois and Ibex are mountain ungulates, while Stag and Roe Deer are lowland ungulates that have adapted well to the mountaineous environment. Come and find out which species can be found here! To do so, go to panel 9!
  • Flora

    The forest

    The forest is an important part of the nature reserve. To find out more, go to panel 10!!
  • Fauna

    At grass level

    A delicate array of some of the essential species of flora, butterflies and amphibians that can be observed within the perimeter of the nature reserve with just a bit of luck and patience!
  • Fauna

    A mountain of feathers

    An opportunity to meet iconic mountain birds such as the golden eagle and black grouse. But it's also a chance to meet some lesser-known species, such as the European owl, a small nocturnal bird of prey found 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 roads

    More than just a tourist attraction, the Roman roads were one of the main routes used to cross the Alps in ancient times! Before the Roman invasion, the Ceutrones, a Celtic tribe who farmed livestock, inhabited the Val-Montjoie. To make cheese, they used salt mined at Moutiers via the Col du Bonhomme. They were involved in building roads to Italy. These roads were taken over by the Romans when they invaded the Alps. Take a look at the Rochassets pass: it was carved out of the rock to allow chariots to pass through!
  • Notre Dame de la Gorge

    Find out everything you need to know about the history of the Notre Dame de la Gorge church, so that you can make the most of your visit later on.


Start from the car park in the centre of Les Contamines-Mointjoie, right next to the town hall. Take the Chemin des Crueys down to the footpath. At the crossroads, turn left. Pass the first map board outlining the entire trail, then continue straight ahead. Go straight on across the Nant Fandraz road and follow the markers for the discovery trail. Cross a bridge and turn right. Continue straight ahead. Cross the paved road labelled Chemin des Echenaz, and follow the markers for Notre-Dame de la Gorge on the hiking trail. The discovery trail markings also point in the same direction. Cross the bridge over the Nant Rouge stream and continue straight ahead. At the Pont du Lay, turn left over the bridge, then immediately right after the bridge. The hiking markers point you in the direction of Notre-Dame de la Gorge. Cross the Moranches bridge and walk past the Nordic Centre car park. Join the path heading towards the Centre de Loisirs and continue straight ahead. Go past the Parc de Loisirs in a place called Le Pontet. Continue straight on towards Notre-Dame de la Gorge. Arrive at Notre-Dame de la Gorge. This is the end of the trail. Return by the same route in the opposite direction.
  • Departure : Les Contamines-Montjoie centre
  • Arrival : Les Contamines centre
  • Towns crossed : Les Contamines-Montjoie

Altimetric profile

Sensitive areas

Along your trek, you will go through sensitive areas related to the presence of a specific species or environment. In these areas, an appropriate behaviour allows to contribute to their preservation. For detailed information, specific forms are accessible for each area.
Impacted practices:
Aerial, , Land, Vertical
Asters - Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Haute-Savoie


Always exercise caution and plan ahead when hiking. Asters, CEN 74 cannot be held responsible for any accident or incident that may occur on this trail.

Information desks


http://cen-haute-savoie.orgcontact@cen-haute-savoie.org04 50 58 09 28

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


Access and parking

Go to Les Contamines-Montjoie. In the village centre, follow the Office de Tourisme sign. Park in the car park next to or below the Office de Tourisme - Town Hall - Espace Nature au sommet.

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