Parc de Merlet: An Authentic French Alps Experience

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Posted on 09/11/2019

Situated above the valley Chamonix, Parc de Merlet is a nature reserve that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the breathtaking nature of the Auverge-Rhône-Alps, the French side of the Alps. Just an hour and fifteen minutes outside of Geneva, the reserve is located in southeast-central France.

After spending several days in Geneva, Parc de Merlet offered a refreshing break from the clattering hustle and bustle of the city. Adults get in for 8 euros, whereas children aged between 4 and 15-years-old get a discounted price of 5 euros. There are further reduced fees for large groups of 15 or more people.

Before walking up the trail, visitors can stop by for breakfast, lunch, or cafe at La Balcon de Merlet, reserve's restaurant. Seating is arranged across a wide terrace overlooking the Mont-Blanc mountain range and the town of Chamonix. While the food is mediocre, the stunning view makes the dining experience worthwhile.

Photo by Agnessa Kasumyan

Photo by Agnessa Kasumyan

After leaving the restaurant, we were greeted by an Alpine ibex, a species of wild goats. Despite his intimidating horns, he seemed comfortable around humans as he nestled himself atop a small tin roof. Despite the relative friendliness of the animals at the park, it is still advisable for visitors to keep a reasonable distance and not to invade their personal space.

Photo by Agnessa Kasumyan: An Alpine ibex, or wild goat.

A short distance away, one may find their eyes struggling to keep up with the diversity of animals before them. From chickens and herds of deer to llamas, alpacas, and wild goats resting higher up in the reserve, it's a delightful stop for both children and adults. The hiking trails are relatively easy and safe, though there may be feces scattered about.

Plan to spend roughly 2 to 3 hours to fully enjoy your surroundings, but there is no time limit once you've purchases your tickets so long as you leave before closing time.

Furthermore, it is advised to not deviate from the hiking trail due to potentially predatory animals.

For more information, check out Parc de Merlet's visit here.

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