The Bornes Massif (French: Massif des Bornes) is a mountainous massif in the north French Prealps in the département of Haute-Savoie. It has 20 peaks higher than 2000 m and is a popular destination for winter sports. The Massif is the source of the celebrated cheese Reblochon.
The massif is bounded on the east by the Thônes depression and the Aravis Range, where the highest peaks of the Northern Prealps are to be found, to the south-west by Lake Annecy and the Bauges Massif, and to the north by the valley of Arve and Chablais. The name "Aravis Massif" is also used to refer to the whole massif, possibly an effect of tourist marketing.
The massif can be accessed though numerous open valleys which separate the massif's peaks:
- From Annecy via the Bluffy col (631 m) or via the recently widened Dingy-Saint-Clair pass, both of which lead to Thônes,
- From Bonneville via the Borne gorge which leads to Saint-Jean-de-Sixt,
- From the east (Megève) via the Aravis col (1486 m, with a view of Mont Blanc) which leads to La Clusaz,
- From Cluses to the north-east via the col de la Colombière, closed in winter, which leads to Le Grand-Bornand,
- From the south (Faverges, Ugine) via the Marais col (843 m) which leads to Thônes.
Two important rivers traverse the massif:
- The Fier from Mont Charvin in the Aravis at Annecy passing by Thônes, the crossroads of the valleys,
- The Borne de la Pointe-Percée at Bonneville which flows into the Arve, passing by le Grand-Bornand and le Petit-Bornand.
Main summits of the massif (higher than 2000m), outside those from the Aravis range:
- Pointe Blanche, 2438m, highest point in the Massif, part of the Bargy range
- Pic de Jallouvre, 2408m part of the Bargy range
- Pointe du midi, 2364m Bargy range
- La Tournette, 2351m good view from Annecy lake
- Grand Bargy, 2301m
- Pointe de Balafrasse, 2296m
- Pointe Dzérat (or pointe Est du Midi), 2278m
- Pointe d'Almet, 2232m
- Pointe de la Grande Combe, 2210m
- Petit Bargy, 2098m
- le Buclon, 2072m
- la Cime de Février, 2056m
- Mount Lachat de Châtillon, 2050m (below le Grand-Bornand)
- l'Aiguille verte, 2045m
- Pointe de la Beccaz, 2041m
- le Crêt des Mouches, 2033m
- Mont Lachat, 2023m (north Thônes)
- Pointe de Deux Heures, 2018m
- Pointe de Banc Fleuri, 2009m
- la Montagne de Sous-Dine, 2004
Summits visible from Annecy (and the massif de la Tournette):
- Tête du Parmelan, 1832m
- Dents de Lanfon, 1824m
- Mount Veyrier, 1291m
- Mount Baron, 1254m (in the Veyrier mountains)
As with all the prealpine massifs, the Aravis chain is primarily formed of limestone and its derivatives.
- Le Grand-Bornand (Chinaillon)
- Le Mont-Saxonnex (pronounced "saxxonay")
Tourist activities are also very popular in summer. The stations are first and foremost mountain villages where there remains significant farming activity.
The massif is the source of reblochon, the famous cheese. Reblochon was first made in Le Grand-Bornand, and is now produced in large quantities using traditional methods in the massif's valleys. Two important markets are held weekly at Thônes and at Le Grand-Bornand. There is also a notable wood industry.
- (French) Geology of the Bornes Massif
- (French) Mount Saxonnex
- (French) The ancient glaciers of the Bornes Massif
- Bornes Massif on Google map