Les Contamines-Montjoie

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Les Contamines-Montjoie
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February 2005 view of Les Contamines-Montjoie
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Coat of arms
Location of Les Contamines-Montjoie
Les Contamines-Montjoie
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Les Contamines-Montjoie
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Les Contamines-Montjoie
Coordinates: 45°49′21″N6°43′48″E / 45.8225°N 6.73°E / 45.8225; 6.73 Coordinates: 45°49′21″N6°43′48″E / 45.8225°N 6.73°E / 45.8225; 6.73
Country France
Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Haute-Savoie
Arrondissement Bonneville
Canton Le Mont-Blanc
  Mayor (20142020) Étienne Jacquet
43.55 km2 (16.81 sq mi)
 (2017-01-01) [1]
  Density27/km2 (69/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
74085 /74170
Elevation990–3,880 m (3,250–12,730 ft)
(avg. 1,164 m or 3,819 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
Notre-Dame-de-la-Gorge Church near Les Contamines-Montjoie Les Contamines Notre Dame de la Gorge.jpg
Notre-Dame-de-la-Gorge Church near Les Contamines-Montjoie

Les Contamines-Montjoie is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.



The original name of the village, Les Contamines, is from the word contamines, which in the ancient local dialect meant ploughable land on the estate of the squire.


In 1760 the parish became independent of the parish of Saint-Nicolas de Véroce. [2]

Creation of the local Mountain Guides Company which was established in 1850, marked the first corporation in the village dedicated to tourism. Further development surged after 1900, in the form of hotels, restaurants, and, in 1911, a local ski club. The first ski lift began operation in 1937.

After World War II, in 1949, the name was changed to Les Contamines-Montjoie. [3] The first chair lift opened three years later, in 1952, along with a summer attraction at l'Etape.


Les Contamines Montjoie is located in the French Alps. It is approximately 114 hours from the aeroport of Geneva and 15 minutes from the Saint-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet train station and from the A40 Highway (exit 21). Les Contamines is located in between the well known resorts of Chamonix and Megève, it is close to Mont Blanc which means that it is used for both mountain climbing in the Summer and skiing in the Winter. Its proximity to Chamonix means that access to Italy is easy via the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

Aspect of the village

The village of Les Contamines is a jewel at the heart of the Mont Blanc region. The sensation of a hidden valley results in a very close knit local community. The village has preserved its historic aspect. More than 70% of old farm buildings have been restored in respect of the local Savoy architecture.

The peak of Mont Joly from the village. It is a typical demonstration of the surrounding terrain Mont Joly from Les Contamines-Montjoie.jpg
The peak of Mont Joly from the village. It is a typical demonstration of the surrounding terrain

Nature reserve

Created in 1979, the nature reserve, La réserve naturelle des Contamines-Montjoie, covers more than 5,500 hectares of varied terrain rising from 1,100 to 3,800 meters high and covering forests, pastures, torrents, rocks, snow fields and glaciers. [4] [5] A local association ensures a link between the reserve and the general public. The information centre, located in the village centre, can recommend various activities for all age groups.

Ski resort

Mont Joly 00 Les Contamines-Montjoie - Mont Joly.JPG
Mont Joly

Les Contamines Montjoie main industry is tourism through its Skiing Area which is moderately sized. It ranges from the village at around 1100m to l'Aiguille Croche (Crooked Needle) at around 2500m. There are four sections of the ski area: the Tierces section, the Roselette section, the Montjoie section and the Hauteluce section.

The Tierces section faces south: it is the highest section of the resort and possesses the resort's hardest black runs, Grevettaz and Rebans. The Tierces section also has easier blue and red runs such as Coins (blue) and Tierces (red). From most places in the Tierces section one can, weather permitting, see a vivid panorama of Mont Blanc and its neighbouring peaks including Aiguille de Bionnassay and Domes de Miage.

The Roselette section is a north-facing area of ski runs which range from blue to black, the hardest run in this section being the black of Olympique. The Aiguille de Rosselette towers over the majority of the section giving it its name. There is off piste potential in the steep couloirs of the Aiguille de Rosselette.

The Hauteluce section is the name given to the section of runs on the other side of the Col du Joly in the Val Joly (rather than the Val Montjoie). The run difficulty is varied in this section.

The Montjoie section is the name used to describe the lower runs.

See also

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  1. "Populations légales 2017". INSEE . Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. "Communes des Pays de Savoie: Contamines-Montjoie (les)". Sabaudia : histoire, patrimoine, archives des Pays de Savoie (in French). Conseil Savoie Mont Blanc. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  3. "Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Les Contamines-Montjoie" (in French). École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS). Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  4. "FR3600038 - Contamines-Montjoie" (in French). Inventaire National du Patrimoine Naturel. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  5. "Contamines-Montjoie" (in French). Réserves Naturelles de France. Retrieved 8 February 2020.