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Parc de Merlet, Les Houches

Chamonix nature and animal park with marmots, chamois and bouquetins

featured in Sights & sites

Parc de Merlet is a great place to spot some local animals in their natural environment. A nature reserve, rather than a zoo, the park is perched on a large plateau high above Les Houches.

A gentle walk guides you around the 21 hectares of woodland and meadows where you can come face to face with alpine creatures, in their natural environment. The park was created in 1968 and shelters eight wild animal species that roam freely.

All of the paths are family-friendly and some can be accessed by pushchair. For those who enjoy a challenge, why not hike up from Lac Gaillands in the Chamonix Valley?

During the summer months Parc de Merlet is open every day except Mondays. During the peak summer months of July and August the park opens every day. One of our top tips is to arrive early when the animals have just been fed or to make an evening visit when they are coming out to play!

During the winter the park is open for guided snowshoe walks from around Christmas to the middle of March. You'll have to reserve in advance, snowshoes and transport up to the park are included in the price. The walk lasts about two hours and features a moderate elevation gain of 200m.

Watch out for

It is a rather steep hike up the hill if you do not have a car, so take a car if you have people with reduced mobility with you. You can drop them near the gates and back down the hill.

Who should go

A great family trip.

What to see

The information desk will tell you all you need to know about the furry inhabitants of the park, there is also an exhibition of the history of Parc de Merlet.

Where to lunch

During the summer Parc de Merlet also has a café serving light meals, snacks, ice creams and hot and cold drinks. Gifts and souvenirs can be bought at the shop.

Child policy

Good for children of all ages.


Map of the surrounding area