Haute Savoie / France
This traditional Alpine village in Haute Savoie is known as the balcony of Mont Blanc for its stunning views of France’s highest mountains and the surrounding peaks. Despite offering great skiing, hiking and cycling, it’s a village where the pace of life is still very much dictated by the changing of the seasons and traditional festivals.
photo credit - Office de Tourisme Cordon
For a small village, Cordon packs a big punch for winter sports. There are family-friendly slopes in Cordon itself, with plenty more a little further afield. A 10-minute drive will take you to the Évasion Mont-Blanc area of Combloux, Megève and Saint-Gervais. Beyond that, 30 minutes away, there’s the Espace Diamant area, linking Bellecombe, Praz-sur-Arly, Crest-Volant, Flumet and Saisies, home to the winter Olympics in 1992. Night skiing is an experience you will never forget. Ski the eerily beautiful Vallee Blanche under a full moon — accompanied by a guide: this 23-km run with a 2,000-metre descent will take you from the Aiguille du Midi to the Mer de Glace.
photo credit - Office de Tourisme Cordon
In the summer, the mountains are a magnet for hikers and cyclists. There are 80km of hiking trails around Cordon itself - discover farms, waterfalls, old bridges, and lush green pastures, in the shadow of the Mont Blanc mountains. Travel a little further and you’ll find picturesque lakes and always breathtaking views.
There’s plenty of choice for cyclists too, from exhilarating mountain downhills to cross-country trails and flat riverside rides. The tourist office will be able to suggest a wide range of routes, or you can check them out in advance on their website.
Take to the skies, if you think the mountains look beautiful from the ground, just wait until you see them from the skies! A hot air balloon is the perfect getaway - float over the landscape in total silence, apart from the occasional burst of the burner. Take off from Praz-sur-Arly and go where the currents take you - you’ll be met on landing with Champagne and a 4x4 vehicle to take you back to your starting point.
Conquer a mountain, From Chamonix, take the cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi for views you will never forget. The two-part journey will take you to an altitude of 3,777m, taking in the Glacier des Bossons, Mont Blanc, the Aiguille Verte, and the Aiguilles de Chamonix. At the top, if you dare, you can step into the void - a five-sided glass box which will give you a real sense of altitude! Check the website for opening times.
A round of golf Mountain golf courses offer something a little bit special - fabulous views, clean crisp air and some challenging terrain. There are several golf courses to choose from within an easy drive of Cordon, including the Mont-d’Arbois course at Megève, and the famous Chamonix course.
White water fun The Arve river, near Cordon, is the ideal playground for a whole range of white water sports for all ages. Kayaking, hydrospeed and canyoning are just a few of the sports available. You can choose your level of adrenaline, but if you’d prefer to take things a little easier, try stand-up paddle boarding at Lac de Passy, or just sit back and take in the view.
Annecy (80km): The medieval town of Annecy lies at the northern end of Lake Annecy, said to be the cleanest lake in Europe. The canals that run through the town are reminiscent of Venice, and in the summer the lakeside beaches are a perfect place for a swim, a picnic or watersports. If you time your visit well, you may catch one of the many markets - local produce, antiques, or bric-a-brac. If you’ve time, catch a boat and visit one of the spectacular lakeside villages such as Talloires, Veyrier or Menthon St Bernard.
photo credit - Office de tourisme Cordon
High ropes adventure Just 20 minutes from Cordon, this high ropes course at the Lac de Passy is a great family day out. There are courses for all ages and abilities, from toddlers to adults, as well as climbing walls, trampolines and the human catapult! Open from April until the autumn, prices vary according to what you choose to do - check the website for details.
Via ferrata You don’t need any experience of climbing to conquer the mountains when you try via ferrata - a sort of vertical hike around cliff faces on wire trails. It’s all totally safe as you’re attached to the rocks by a wire harness - even children can do it! There are several places where you can try via ferrata in the Cordon area - here are some of them.
Visit a farm Young children will love meeting the cows at the Ferme de l'Abérieux, in Cordon, and their parents will love the produce that is available to buy — cheeses such as Raclette and Tomme de Savoie, as well as milk, yoghurts and jams. If you time your visit right, you can see the Tarentaise cows being milked, and perhaps even have a go at milking one yourself.
Restaurant Le Darbelin Chez Mireille (1780 route de Frebouges D en Haut, Cordon) - It’s a bit of a trek to this restaurant, but it’s worth it for the view alone. That said, the food is great too! The menus change from summer to winter, making the most of local seasonal produce. It’s best to book ahead.
Alpage de L’herney (Alpage de Cordon) - Potato fritters are the speciality at this Alpage restaurant, which specialises in local produce. It’s a 25-minute walk from the car park unless you’ve got a 4x4 or a helicopter (there is a helipad!).
La Ruche (Chemin de la Motteuse, Cordon) - This restaurant in the centre of Cordon advertises itself as a pizzeria but offers far more, with pastas, salads and local dishes such as fondue, tartiflette and raclette. Lunchtime menus start at €15, and pizzas are available to take away.
Restaurant 1786 (90 Route des Scies, Cordon) - This bistro-style restaurant is based in the Hotel Les Roches, with fabulous views of Mont Blanc. The menu changes daily, according to what is in season locally.
Although shopping is limited in Cordon, you’ll find everything you need for your holiday. For a little more choice, head for Sallanches, which is just a 10-minute drive away, or Megeve (20 minutes).
Les Temps de R’Zules (2950 Route de Cordon) Pop into this village shop to try a local speciality - best eaten warm, R’Zules, or rissoles are made of puff pastry filled with a compote of apples, pears or jam. This is also the place to get your farcement - a curious sweet and salty dish composed of grated potatoes, bacons, prunes and grapes.
Petit Casino (3160 Route de Cordon) Not in fact a casino, but a supermarket. Open seven days a week, but closed for lunch between 12.30pm and 3pm, this local store stocks pretty much everything you will need for a self-catering holiday, including fresh and local produce.
Pugnat Sports (3475 Route de Cordon) Whether you are looking to buy or hire your winter sports equipment, you’ll find plenty of choice here. You can try before you buy, and if you’re hiring, pay when you return the equipment for the number of days hired.
Fromagerie Leon Rey (60 Impasse du Couvent, Sallanches) It’s worth a trip to Sallanches just to visit this wonderful shop, filled with cheeses, wines, conserves, charcuterie and honey from the Mont Blanc region.
La Boutique aux Chocolats (176 rue Charles Feige, Megeve) This delightful chocolaterie has been in the same family for three generations. You’ll struggle to choose from their amazing selection of glossy homemade chocolates, but don’t forget to try their nougat and their marrons glacés too.
photo credit - Office de tourisme Cordon
Bus - A shuttle bus runs between Cordon and the slopes during the ski season. Outside of these times, a bus runs regularly between Cordon and Sallanches all year round:
Train - nearest station is Sallanches (3km)
Taxi - Taxi Andre Isabelle 0450544351
Taxi Botttolier Isabelle 0618732155
Airport transfers - Ouibus runs a coach service runs between Geneva airport and Sallanches.
When you're ready to book your next holiday to Cordon and the Evasion Mont Blanc area, see what OVO Network self-catered accommodation is available. We're always adding new properties, so check regularly to find the ideal chalet for your next holiday in the French Alps