A general view of Morzine
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Jean-Louis Battandier|
|Area1||44.1 km2 (17.0 sq mi)|
|• Density||69/km2 (180/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||74191 / 74110|
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.
Morzine is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France with panoramic mountain views, modern ski facilities and hotels and restaurants. The ski resort of Avoriaz is located on the territory of the commune. 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. At 1000 m, it is the most northerly of the French Alpine resorts (with the exception of the areas of La Grande Terche at Saint-Jean-d'Aulps and Mont Drouzin), and weather wise benefits from the Mont Blanc microclimate.
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.
Downhill Mountain Biking in the Portes du Soleil and centred on Morzine is some of the best available in Europe if not the world. Morzine is the centre point and from here one can reach other resorts including Avoriaz, Morgins, Châtel, Les Gets and all by chairlift and cable car. The resorts of Pila, Verbier and Les Arcs are also within easy reach with a car thus giving access to more than enough places to ride. Day trips by minibus are also bookable via local companies.
The trails are generally single track and with varying levels of course and trail available from steep, rooty and technical to the fast open downhill tracks. There is also a small amount of Northshore available in the Chatel Bike Park area.
A single lift pass can be purchased to cover the whole of the Portes du Soleil area and is much cheaper than during the winter months.
Tour de France
Morzine was the finale of the first mountain stage in the 2003 Tour de France. Stage 7's yellow and Polka dot jerseys were awarded to Richard Virenque of France's Quick Step-Davitamon team. Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France ended in Morzine, and the town was the starting point for Stage 18. In the 2010 Tour de France Morzine was the finishing location for stage 8.
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. The 2009 tournament saw the Morzine under 11 team crowned champions for the second consecutive year after victory in the final against Megeve. The under 13's trophy was won by Valdoie following a penalty shootout against Marignier.
Skiing and snowboarding
The intermediate terrain makes the area best suited for 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 Avoriaz via the Super-Morzine gondola or the Prodains lift (which is only five minutes away on the local bus service).
The village at 1000m, with top station at 2020m, 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, from these stations local buses are available to the town.
- 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.
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