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||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (December 2009)|
A general view of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
|Intercommunality||Pays du Mont-Blanc|
|• Mayor||Jean-Marc Peillex|
|Area1||63.63 km2 (24.57 sq mi)|
|• Density||90/km2 (230/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||74236 / 74170|
|Elevation||571–4,810 m (1,873–15,781 ft)|
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. The village is best known for tourism, and has been a popular holiday destination because of its beauty and location since the early 1900s. It 450 km of ski pistes, reputed to be the third largest domain exclusively in France, and is easily one of the least busy ski areas of its size.
St Gervais les Bains (also referred to as St Gervais or St Gervais Mont Blanc) is not a recently purpose built resort, and so has a significant year round population, rather than just seasonal and is full of historical buildings giving it the traditional charm much sought after in the alps.
In winter, the main draw is of course snow sports, and the resort has a multi-national client base. It is increasing in popularity among British holiday-makers, in part due to the fact that as yet it is fairly empty of Britons and large tour operators, and retains the character of a French ski village. The summer sees tourists arrive from around the world to explore the numerous fair weather alpine activities available such as Mountain Biking, Climbing, Hiking, Paragliding, Rafting, etc. as well as making use of the all year thermal spa 'Les Thermes' which sits within the beautiful 'Parc Thermal' in the lower village of Le Fayet.
Recent holiday companies have expanded in the area following increased demand, although the majority of chalet holiday companies offering accommodation to guests are independent "owner-run" chalets and therefore the town and the ski domain manage to avoid the heavy congestion of some of this resorts more famous neighbours.
In July of 1892, A hidden lake burst out of a glacier and flooded the entire valley, killing over 200 townspeople.
The wider administrative area of the commune of the town of St Gervais also encompasses several separate villages which lie at various altitudes up and down the expanse of this section of the Mont Blanc Massif, and in addition the summit and a large part of Mont Blanc also lie within its borders. Consequently, the commune has a very large variation in altitudes, ranging from the village of Le Fayet at a little over 570m up to the summit of Mont Blanc at 4810m, with the main town of St Gervais at just under 900m in altitude. This altitude also corresponds with the bottom of the lowest piste in the local ski domain of the Evasion Mont Blanc, with over 445 km of official ski runs which can be accessed from St Gervais directly via the telecabine located at the edge of the town centre.
The main railway station for Saint-Gervais is the Gare de Saint-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet. The fabulous and historic Mont Blanc Tramway departs from Le Fayet station and reaches the Nid d'Aigle station at the Bionnassay glacier at an altitude of 2372 m (7800 ft). The Saint-Gervais–Vallorcine railway departs from Le Fayet station and takes you to Chamonix and across the Swiss border to Martigny. Numerous other destinations throughout France (including direct trains to Paris) can be accessed from the main SNCF station at Le Fayet, and the main resort is just a 10 minute descent to the nearby A40 Peage motorway to Geneva, Lyon, Paris and connecting to the rest of the French motorway network.
The French ski jumper Marie Hoyau is a native of St. Gervais.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.|
- Official website of a ski chalet company in St Gervais, with information on the town and local activities.
- Official website of a ski holiday company in St Gervais, with information on the town.
- Town plan on Google Maps