Bornes Massif

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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.



Digital elevation model of the Bornes Massif

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.[citation needed]

The massif can be accessed though numerous open valleys which separate the massif's peaks:

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.


View from the south of the west side of the massif.

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
On the trail between Mount Veyrier et Mount Baron

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 well as its peaks, it has plateaus which are slightly elevated but difficult to access, such as the plateau des Glières tragically famous from the time of the Second World War.


As with all the prealpine massifs, the Aravis chain is primarily formed of limestone and its derivatives.


Tourist station[edit]

The massif benefits from exceptional snow considering its moderate altitude. It hosts two stations for the winter sports Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing, with pistes from 900m up to 2000m:

  • Le Grand-Bornand (Chinaillon)
  • Le Mont-Saxonnex (pronounced "saxxonay")
  • Saint-Jean-de-Sixt

Tourist activities are also very popular in summer. The stations are first and foremost mountain villages where there remains significant farming activity.

The Glières Plateau is likewise a well-known site for cross-country skiing.


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.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°59′56″N 6°27′36″E / 45.99889°N 6.46000°E / 45.99889; 6.46000