Perched above Les Houches village at an altitude of 1,563m above the Chamonix valley, the Merlet Animal Park in Les Houches it’s a place that you have to keep in mind when visiting Chamonix Mont Blanc. Why? Primarily for the superb view of the Mont Blanc and for dozens of mountain animals that are rooming freely on the 21 hectares of pine forest, pasture and rock outcrops. Not to mention the panoramic restaurant where you can have crepes or ice cream. The food is not very good (try the coffee ice cream, really has a taste of coffee), the panoramic view is overwhelming, overlooking the Mont Blanc massif, with its snowy peaks, glaciers and those tiny mountain roosters which come sometime around your table begging for some seeds!?
Back on track to the Parc de Merlet, I would mention that the road to it is pretty exciting, the winding drive and that road quite narrow…you’ll know what I mean. Well, you can park your car in 4 car parks, the largest being P3 (just 100 m from P4). After you have parked, you walk about 15-20 minutes (1000m) until you reach the park entrance and from there…voila! An absolutely vibrant landscape! You feel like you're perched on top of the world!
It is particularly important to remember that you have to leave the animals alone, should not touch them or feed, primarily for your personal safety and then to respect their way of life. Keep in mind that in summer the park is open from May 1 to September 30 and in winter the Parc de Merlet is closed!
After paying the entrance fee (7 Euros/Adult; 4 Euros/Child;) which is more than decent considering the exorbitant prices of Mont Blanc resorts, you have a lot of wandering around, searching the mountain animals, red deer, ibexes, marmots, llamas and more. At 6 o’clock you could be lucky enough to see how they actually feed the marmots. We did not have that luck. It was crowded and the noise made them stay hidden in their cute wooden cottage. Beautiful trips! Bambi.