The church and surrounding buildings in Les Houches
|• Mayor (2001–2008)||Patrick Dole|
|Area1||43.07 km2 (16.63 sq mi)|
|• Density||72/km2 (190/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||74143 / 74310|
|Elevation||796–4,280 m (2,612–14,042 ft)
(avg. 1,008 m or 3,307 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.
It is a ski-resort, and is located 6 kilometres from Chamonix with a ski domain which extends from an altitude of 950 metres up to 1900 metres. The skiing combines long descents through tree-lined slopes, with impressive views of the Mont Blanc massif and the Chamonix valley. The village is twinned with the Russian villages of Sochi and Krasnaya-Polyana, which it has been chosen by the International Olympic Committee to assist organise the Winter Olympic Games in 2014. The pistes of Les Houches are regularly used for international events most notably the 'Kandahar' run is used annually for the Men's Downhill World Cup Ski Championships. Les Houches provides a training ground for the French National Ski Team and the Ski Club of Great Britain. The skiing area consists of 1 international black run, 12 red runs, 5 blue runs and 4 green runs, cross-country trails, and two snow parks. Extensive artificial snow coverage is provided by a new network of 67 snow canons covering 19 hectares. There are nursery slopes at Le Tourchet in the centre of the village itself, a Jardin du Neige for very young children skiers next to Lac de Chavants, and a new nursery area at the top of the Prarion lift.
There is a famous physics summer school here (l'École de Physique des Houches) that was started by Cécile DeWitt-Morette. It has been attended by two dozen Nobel prize laureates as teachers or students before they received their prize. Also, the Les Houches Accords were written here, which are important in high energy physics.
Coupeau and La Flatière
Across Les Houches but part of the town, (across the river l’Arve) is a little village called "Coupeau." A windy road climbs high through the village and lead all the way up, 3 miles or so, to the foot of its own mount; l’aiguillette, at the foot of which another little village resides, called; "La Flatiere" well known across the valley for its panorama sites, and a little Christian hermitage. From there many path wander through the mountain. One scenic path leads to an old sheepfold, called Chailloux.
Coupeau has sun all year long, whereas Les Houches for the most part, stays in the shade in the winter. At the heart of the village of Coupeau, is an animal park called "Merlet", which draws many visitors each year. There you can see llamas, but also local types of deer and rams, plus marmots. Below the animal park, a statue of Christ 4 stories high, overlooks the valley, with its right arm outstretched, as if greeting newcomers entering the valley below.
- Professor Jean Delumeau, historian, stays frequently in Les Houches and practices mountaineering.
- Catherine Destivelle, mountaineer.
- Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Nobel Prize for Physics, came to study and teach at the Physics School of Les Houches (l'École de Physique des Houches).
- Christophe Profit, mountaineer.
- Marie Paradis (1778-1839), first female to climb Mont Blanc in July 1808.
Places and Moments
- Bellevue cable car entered service in 1936.
- Statue of Jesus Christ inaugurated 19 August 1934
- Mountain Museum (Musée Montagnard), in an 18th-century house on a theme of the traditional habitat
- Cécile DeWitt-Morette, Emil Mitchell, Senior Women, accessed March 2010
- a local
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Les Houches.|
- Les Houches Tourism Office (English)(French)
- Official site of largest mountain infrastructure in the Chamonix valley - first hand lift & piste info, lift passes, avalanche risk, etc (English)(French)
- l'École de Physique des Houches (French)