February 2005 view of Les Contamines-Montjoie
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Étienne Jacquet|
|Area1||43.55 km2 (16.81 sq mi)|
|• Density||28/km2 (72/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|INSEE/Postal code||74085 /74170|
990–3,880 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.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The name of the village originates from ancient local dialect. The word “Contamines” once meant ploughable land on the squires estate.
Important dates 1760: Birth of an independent parish (detached from the parish of Saint-Nicolas de Véroce) 1850: Creation of the local Mountain Guides Company 1900: Development of the first tourist infrastructures, hotels etc. 1911: Creation of the local ski club 1937: Creation of the first ski lift 1949: Les Contamines is renamed Les Contamines-Montjoie 1952: Creation of the first chair-lift and the summer playground at l'Etape. 1971: Development of Bellevue, La Ruelle and the Col du Joly.
Les Contamines Montjoie is located in the French Alps. It is approximately 11⁄4 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 proximitiy 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 nature reserve
Created in 1979, the nature reserve covers more than 5, 500 hectares of varied terrain rising from 1 000 to 3 900 meters high and covering forests, pastures, torrents, rocks, snow fields and glaciers. A local association ensures a link between the reserve and the general public. The information centre, located in the village centre, proposes various activities for all age groups.
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 Montjoie section is the name used to describe the lower runs.
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