By: Philippa

Les Portes du Soleil Family Guide

Le Lac de Montriond

 

Les Portes du Soleil is the name of a major ski area in the Alps, which covers 12 resorts positioned between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. It’s hugely popular as a winter playground but it also draws a large summer crowd who come for the fresh Alpine air, the mountain biking and the hiking. Not to mention the food! I lived in Morzine, one of the resorts within Les Portes du Soleil, for several years and return annually to visit. I love this area and think it’s fantastic for kids. If you’re planning a visit then here’s my family guide to visiting the Alpine village of Morzine.

 

 

 

When the sun shines Morzine is paradise on earth for families. There is so much to do for kids of all ages in the most majestically beautiful location. The air is clean, the views magnificent and the food is fresh and delicious. Morzine remains a huge playground for adults and children alike, and will always be our cherished family home.

 

Morzine with Kids: Where to stay

Where to stay in Morzine: La Bergerie - chalet hotel

La Bergerie – chalet hotel

 

There are a multitude of places for families to stay from catered chalets to self-service apartments, Air BnB’s and hotels. You are totally spoilt for choice with a place for every budget and family dynamic. However, if you want a little piece of luxury and oodles of warm hospitality then here are my top picks.

La Bergerie Chalet Hotel is a little gem of a boutique hotel. Nestled right in the centre of town it boasts a swimming pool, a garden with children’s play area, areas to relax, a bar, a games room, a spa with a hamman and a selection of gorgeous rooms complete with kitchenette and balconies. My favourite room is the family room which not only has a roll top bath and sumptuous bed, but also hides away a secret door to an interconnecting kids’ bedroom. It’s so Narnia! The hotel provides children’s meals and snacks but has no restaurant. However, each room has a kitchenette and there are dozens of superb eateries within walking distance.

 

Where to stay in Morzine: La Bergerie - chalet hotel

La Bergerie – chalet hotel

 

For catered chalets I would recommend Chill Out Mountain (that offer both catered and self-serviced chalets) and Reach 4 the Alps. As well as AirBnB, there are plenty of places to choose from on www.mountainxtra.com and www.independentmountain.com

 

 

Morzine with Kids: Where to eat

Morzine has plenty of restaurants but if you’re new to town it’s not always easy to know where to go. Here are my favourite places that not only offer good food but that also have child-friendly staff, a great atmosphere and are located in wonderful settings.

 

Le Télébenne

Table tennis at Le Télébenne

Table tennis at Le Télébenne

 

One of our all-time favourite places to eat simply for the atmosphere, view, warm welcome and local dishes is the Télébenne at the top of the Zore chairlift.

Access to the restaurant is an adventure in itself! First, take the Super Morzine bubble lift (which can hold a push chair). Once at the top descend on foot for two minutes to the Zore chair lift (if you have a pushchair leave it by the ski racks before descending to the Zore chair lift). Then, take the chair lift over the VVT tracks where you can see bikers popping over the jumps below as you float through the sky. After descending the chair lift, take a right and the restaurant is just there. You can access Le Télébenne by car and foot but its nowhere near as fun. Make sure you pick a sunny day so you don’t get rained on. Children of all ages are permitted on the chair lift – I take my two and five year old up no problem.

 

Le Télébenne

Le Télébenne

 

Hervé and Christophe welcome you with open arms to their little paradise. The garden has a playhouse, climbing frame, table-tennis table and tepee – perfect for the children to amuse themselves for hours. The view is simply magic and the hearty food sure to leave you content. Be sure not to miss a slice of the home made apple pie washed down with a shot of genepi.

I love to while away a Friday afternoon here as a family, with a carafe of wine, salade chevre chaud and chicken and chips for the kids. Be careful not to miss the last lift down as time stands still when you are under the spell of the mountain air.

 

Le Télébenne

Le Télébenne

 

 

La Grange

The Old Town

The Old Town

 

Back on terra firma, La Grange is tucked away in the centre of the old town. Owners Fred and Alex are a Franglais couple who put their heart and soul into making La Grange one of the cosiest, friendliest and yummiest places to eat in Morzine.

Alex manages the front of house while Fred works wonders in the kitchen. As parents themselves they are very accommodating with families and have a good selection of ice cream on offer. The kids and I will often stop for a little scoop of ice cream before dropping Gillan off on the way to crèche. The restaurant is traditional both in décor and cuisine. We have had so many unforgettable evenings here dining with family and friends and we will keep on coming back for more. When my fondue craving comes a calling this is the only place I want to be!

 

Lac de Mines d’Or

The restaurant at Lac de Mines d'Or

The restaurant at Lac de Mines d’Or

 

Chalet Les Mines d’Or promises seriously delicious food, an amazing location, friendly staff, a play park, donkeys, and a little lake. As my North American friends say “this place is the bomb!”. This year I ordered trout with a butter and almond sauce. The trout came from the lake and was fished out of a tank just next to the restaurant – you can’t get fresher than that!

I go here every year with my family. It’s the most relaxing place to eat with children and makes a really special day out. Once you have eaten there is a charming lake to stroll around, a couple of donkeys to visit and a slide and merry-go-round for the children to play on.

 

l’Aubergade

Situated on the slopes of Pleney, l’Aubergade is a real hit with families. Run by a lovely English couple the restaurant serves tasty wraps, burgers, salads and quick fix tapas (such as calamari, garlic prawns, humous and pita). We are true regulars here in the summer since the children are big fans of the mini golf course in the garden. I am not sure how much actual mini golf takes place between careering over the obstacles and lounging under the shady trees but they have fun!

Inside the restaurant is spacious with big leather sofas and rustic wooden furniture. The annual cider and sausage festival at the l’Aubergade is not to be missed as well as other regular events the restaurant hosts such as yoga, painting classes and film nights.

 

 

Walking with Kids in Morzine

Morzine is full of wonderful hikes to enjoy as a family. In order to avoid tired legs, whiney children and sitting protests, the trick for us is to combine a hike with something fun for kids. That may be a ride in the bubble lift, a destination of kiddy-interest (a lake, a river, a waterfall) or, failing that, stock up on swiss chocolate to fuel those little legs! Here are a few easy, pushchair-friendly, fairly flat walks to do with young children.

 

Dérêches

 

We love to walk along the Dérêches River where the children can pet the horses, throw stones in the river and climb over the parcourses. This is a lovely peaceful walk, shaded by pine trees and interrupted by a sculpture park, Indiana Adventure Course, playpark and riding stables. The stables hire out ponies for a half hour tour of the forest which is a great way to extend your walk with the children. The Dérêches can be accessed from the swimming pool at the bottom of town.

 

Brochaux

Another favourite is the walk to the Brochaux waterfall in Lindarets which takes you past cow pastures to the most spectacular falls. Lindarets is a short drive from Morzine past Lac Montriond. The walk is about an hour and a half round trip with children in tow.

 

Lac de Montriond

 

A gentle stroll around Le Lac de Montriond is a lovely way to start the morning. The lake can get busy in the afternoon so heading there early on ensures easy parking. I used to walk around here with my baby girl and then take a dip in the cool waters once she fell asleep in her pushchair. It’s also a great place for a picnic or BBQ – there are even purpose built BBQs at the top of the lake so there’s no need to buy a disposable one. A lap around the Lac de Montriond takes about an hour. If your little ones start to get tired you can always stop for a rest and refuel at one of the three lakeside restaurants. Alternatively, there are ponies for hire who can take children for a promenade.

 

Le Renard

From the Bibliothèque opposite the church, Le Renard, is another peaceful amble along the river to the Nyon falls. It is a gentle incline and pushchair friendly. It is also really shady so good to do on a drizzly or sunny day as it is not exposed. From the top of the falls you can either retrace your steps or double back across the Pleney plateaux which has nice views over the town.

 

Chardonnière – La Golèse – La Bostan

If you are looking for more of a challenge, then there are some great hikes from Lac des Mines D’or and the Chardonnière. These will be steep in parts so they are well suited for older children or young tots in a hiking baby backpack. We embarked on the three-hour hike to La Bostan this year with our two little ones (one in a back pack the other fuelled by chocolate). This was very steep in parts and challenging for my five year old. However, we were rewarded at the end by an overnight stay in an Auberge and marshmallows by the fire. For more information on staying at an Auberge with children take a look at my “Overnight in an Auberge with kids” article.

 

 

Morzine with kids: The Highlights

 

Morzine is without a doubt a dream family holiday destination. For us the highlights are the fresh air, delicious food, stunning scenery, family festivals, activities and sports on offer for the kids. It is an easy place to relax with the kids as there is so much opportunity for them to run free while parents can relax, catch up and sink a few glasses of vin rouge. We love Morzine because, despite its popularity, it retains such a local charm and still celebrates its rural traditions. The town has a friendly vibe and the children truly feel at home here. We love returning year after year to enjoy old favourites and discover new additions.

 

 

And the lows…

 

Despite forming part of Les Portes du Soleil, which translates as “Gates of the Sun”, the sun doesn’t always shine in Morzine. Indeed, when it does rain it pours! So make sure you bring a set of wellies and a raincoat.

Our family have to get creative when it decides to rain since most of the activities on offer are outdoors. My “To Do” list of rainy day activities in Morzine includes:

  • A visit to the indoor water park Aquariaz in Avoriaz
  • Taking a class at La Poterie in Les Gets
  • Hiding out in the Library for a story time session
  • Taking a dip in the indoor pool in Morzine
  • Braving the drizzle and taking a walk in the rain along the shady park of the Dérêches
  • Take a ride on the bubble to the top of Super Morzine and hide away in the cosy restaurant La Grenouille with a warm cup of hot chocolate. Then take the bubble back down again. Kids will love the excitement of a bubble ride.

 

 

Morzine with Kids: Things to do 

 

Three of my favourite things to do in Morzine include:

  • Racing the kids on the luge down the slopes of Pleney.
  • Taking a trip to the top of the mountain on the bubble lift to discover the breathtaking views
  • Visiting the verdant waters of Lac de Montriond

For more ideas on things to do in Morzine, take a look at my post on 10 Fun Summer Activities to do with Kids in Morzine.

 

 

Morzine with Kids: When to Go

 

For a summer vacation choose the months of July and August when everything is open (June is the quiet time when most of the activities are closed). The beginning of July is the best time as it is quieter. Avoid the busy weekends when the Tour de France and Harley Days are hosted in the town. The winter ski season usually runs from mid-December to mid-April.

 

 

How to Get to Morzine 

By Air: Fly to Geneva International Airport with any major airline. If you are travelling from Europe then EasyJet, British Airways and Swiss Air all fly into Geneva. From Geneva Airport book a transfer or hire a car for the short journey to Morzine. You can book transfers with many different operators and transfers take between 1 to 2 hours.

Here are a few operators:

 

 

Things to Pack

If visiting during the summer holidays then I recommend bringing the following:

  • Sun cream and hat
  • Waterproofs and wellies
  • Swim wear
  • Walking shoes
  • Jumper – it is cold in the mornings
  • Backpack and Tupperware for picnics
  • Picnic blanket
  • Water shoes or crocs for the kids to play in the river
  • Leggings, jogging pants or jodhpurs for horse-riding

 

 

 

You May Also Enjoy the Following Posts: 

10 Summer Activities for Kids in Morzine

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The Best Way to Discover Rome with Kids

Berlin with Kids: Top 10 Things to Do! 

A Family-Friendly Tour of Florence

5 Family-Friendly Adventures in Ireland

 

 

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A family guide to Morzine, The Alps, France via @globetotting