June 2001 general view of Morzine
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Gérard Berger|
|44.1 km2 (17.0 sq mi)|
|• Density||62/km2 (160/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
A traditional market town in the heart of the Portes du Soleil, Morzine is dominated by chalets spread across a river gorge, bordered by partially wooded slopes allowing skiing in poor weather conditions. Situated at an altitude of 1000 m, it is one of the most northerly of the French Alpine resorts, and weatherwise benefits from the Mont Blanc microclimate. The locality enjoys panoramic mountain views and modern ski facilities, as well as hotels and restaurants in the town itself. The ski resort of Avoriaz is located on the territory of the commune.
In 1181, Morzine (Latin: Morgenes, or "border area") was a grange of Aulps Abbey, a Cistercian monastery 7 km away. In the Middle Ages, granges were agricultural centres from which the monks exploited their landscape and co-ordinated farming and industrial work. The grange was fundamental to the Cistercians' successful expansion and management of their mountain land. The granges supplied the monastery's food, clothing, utensils and building materials. The granges were manned by lay-brothers, who cultivated the lands and reared livestock.
From the 18th to the early 20th century, the exploitation of slate quarries was an important economic activity of Morzine, before winter tourism took over around in 1930. Between 1857 and 1870, the commune received national attention for an unusually high number of women claiming to be possessed. In 2015 only a few quarries were still being exploited.
Local trails are generally single track and with varying levels of difficulty available from steep, rooty and technical to fast open downhill tracks. There is also a small amount of Northshore available in the Chatel Bike Park area.
Morzine is also within easy reach of other resorts including Avoriaz, Morgins, Châtel and Les Gets. The resorts of Pila, Verbier and Les Arcs lie within easy reach by car thus giving access to several places to ride.
A single lift pass can be purchased to cover the whole of the Portes du Soleil area and costs much less than during the winter months.
Tour de France
Morzine was the finale of the first mountain stage in the 2003 Tour de France. Stage seven's yellow jersey (for the leader of the general classification) and polka dot jersey (for the leader of the mountains classification) were awarded to Richard Virenque of France's Quick Step-Davitamon team. Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France ended in Morzine, where Floyd Landis did the impossible and gutted out one of the most memorable stage wins in Tour history during the height of the 1992-2012 doping-era. The town was also the starting point for Stage 18. In the 2010 Tour de France Morzine was the finishing location for stage 8.
Morzine again featured in the 2016 Tour de France as the finish for stage 20 - Megeve to Morzine.
Morzine is home to the annual French Mountain Villages Football Tournament (Tournoi des Montagnes) where the best junior teams compete for a much coveted trophy each June.
Skiing and snowboarding
The intermediate terrain makes the area well suited to beginners and less-seasoned skiers and snowboarders, which has led to the resort being especially popular with families. However more challenging slopes can be found at nearby Avoriaz.
Morzine is closely linked to its neighbours Avoriaz and Les Gets in that they function as linked skiing centres during the winter season. The two resorts are included in the Portes du Soleil ski area, which includes both French and Swiss villages.
The closest airport to Morzine is Geneva Cointrin International Airport, Switzerland. Although there is no rail service directly to Morzine the two closest stations are at Thonon-les-Bains and Cluses, and from these stations local buses are available to the town.
- "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
- Delerce (A.), Recherches sur le chartrier d'Aulps. Reconstitution, édition et commentaire des chartes d'une abbaye cistercienne de montagne (1097-1307), vol. 2, p. 271-273, n° 32. Papal bull of Pope Alexander III
- Willams (D. H.), The Cistercians in the Early Middle Ages, Leominster, 1998, p. 278 ss.
- History section, Ardoisière des Sept Pieds
- Harris, Ruth (1997). "Possession on the Borders: The "Mal de Morzine" in Nineteenth-Century France". The Journal of Modern History. 69 (3): 451–478. ISSN 0022-2801.
- O'Shea, Stephen (2017). The Alps: a human history from Hannibal to Heidi and beyond. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-393-24685-8.
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