Parc de Merlet – Les Houches – Chamonix Mont Blanc
A veritable, nature lovers’, paradise! I was enchanted and so was my daughter. I have never been so close to so many animals in their own environment…without fencing. Nature at its simplest, and at its best! It was like being transported into Walt Disney’s Bambi. I would highly recommend this as a day out!
There are over 80 different mountain animals in the park, which is 21 hectares and at 1500 m altitude and was originally a high mountain pasture. The views across the valley are breathtaking. We saw lots of marmots and spent a nice moment watching them play and whistle between each other. We saw chamois, bouquetin (ibex), mountain sheep, rabbits, lamas…the lot! The best part was the deer with their young!
We went with my Dad and his girlfriend and it was a perfect few hours out as a family. We decided to go after lunch on a roasting hot day…which was great, but I can imagine the animals are a bit livelier on a morning or late afternoon on hot days. This did not by any means limit us, in the animals that we saw; it just meant the animals were nestled next to the tress or the rocks trying to find some shade.
On a practical note…keep driving until the last car park, as there are several car parks along the road and the nice part is walking in the park itself. Having said that it can apparently get very busy, so take this into consideration and add on an extra 20 -30 mins for walking or I would drop the kids off as far as you can with someone and join them up there. There is a café where you can grab some food and refreshments but given the nature of the park, pic-nics aren’t allowed. You can access most of the main paths with a pushchair apparently. The shorter circuit takes approximately one hour taking in time to watch the animals etc. The longer circuit which goes higher up on the smaller paths and tracks , that aren’t suitable for a pushchair takes approximately 2 hours (yet again taking in time to look and learn!). Appropriate footwear is advisable and given the altitude I’d make sure that you have a few layers should the weather come in!
In July and August there are different educational shows and demonstrations on…You can look on their website to have more info.
Price wise: Adults: 6.00€, Children from 4 – 14 years: 4.00€
ENJOY ! It really is a lovely trip out. For more info on how to access it etc. check out their website: