Circuit Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Thônes

This short walk is perfect for families with little ones as it is predominantly flat and shaded for over half of its duration. Amble alongside the River Nom, through the dappled light of the forest, and stop for lunch or a snack beside the water. The return route follows a very quiet road for the most part, with stunning views of Mont Lachat and La Tournette.

Route Statistics

  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Altitude: 660m
  • Ascent: 45 minutes
  • Descent: 45 minutes
  • Elevation gain: 60m
  • Distance: 3.5km


There is a very small free car park with 5 spaces right by the start of the walk. To find it from Thônes centre, follow signs for La CLusaz. After passing Carrefour take the second exit at the small roundabout which is a one way road towards Le Pignet. After one kilometre there are a few parking spaces on the right. If these are all taken, return to Carrefour and walk from there, bearing in mind that this will add two kilometres on to your walk.

The Walk

From the car park follow the road to the bend. On the bend there is a signpost for the ‘Martinet’. From here take the footpath towards ‘La Bossenaz’ and ‘Maison JJ Rousseau’.

Follow this woodland path alongside the river, passing over small wooden bridges and by bubbling waterfalls. There are a number of small paths leading down to the river on the left but we would recommend to stay on the main path, as these offshoots tend to become overgrown.

After passing through a small field, where you might come across some friendly cows, you will find La Bossenaz Chapelle next to an old stone bridge. This small chapelle is still used by locals to this day.

From the chapelle take the path towards ‘La Maisondraz’ and ‘Maison JJ Rousseau’. This short section climbs through the forest before reaching the road. Upon reaching the road turn right towards the hamlet of ‘La Tour’, which is known for it’s Manor house. 18th century Swiss philosopher, writer and composer Jean-Jaques Rousseau spent a day at the manor in 1730. 

Follow this quiet stretch of road above Thônes. After about a kilometre you will arrive at a signpost marked ‘La Tour’. Take the small grassy path to the right, making sure to look left and right for impressive views of Mont Lachat and La Tournette.

Follow the path, cutting through a small residential area until it reaches the road again. Turn right and the car park is just around the bend.

Other things to do in Thônes

Right next to the Tourism Office, you will find a large area dedicated to all sorts of leisure activities. As is common in many French towns, there are a number of petanque courts, where regular tournaments are held throughout the summer. There is also a crazy golf course, a completely enclosed play park for little ones with climbing frames, a small climbing wall and other more traditional playground toys, as well as a skate park for bigger kids. During the summer months a bungee trampoline is often erected close to this area as well.

Where to stay

With fabulous views over Mont Lachat, Tournette and Le Lachat de Grand Bornand, contemporary Chalet Le Kitz makes the perfect base to explore the countryside. To view all of our luxury chalets for your perfect family getaway visit OVO Network.

Allée des Pérrières
Thônes 74230 Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes FR
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