The northernmost ski resort in the Serre Chevalier skiing region has unmistakenably retained its alpine mountain village’s authentic charm. The separate districts in Monetiêr les Bains, which are scattered across both sides of the Guisane (a whitewater glacier-fed river), are characterised by the region’s agricultural tradition.
At the same time Monêtier les Bains provides the comfort of a modern spa town and winter ski resort, yet without compromising the original and untouched character of the lush and natural landscape.
Monêtier les Bains’ roots go back to the Roman Empire, when the natural thermal spring’s healing effects were first discovered and used on site. Monêtier les Bains was established as an actual thermal health resort in the 18th and 19th centuries. Back then a proper swimming pool was laid out for the hot spring water as well as the first hotel, which provided enough space for about 140 summer spa guests, who mainly wanted to cure rheumatic and dermatological ailments.
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Monêtier’s conscious transformation from a spa town to a winter resort finally followed in the 20th century. In 1948 the first lifts were built and from 1984 Monetier les Bains’ skiing area was connected with the neighbouring ski resorts Villeneuve and Chantemerle and consequently with a part of the Serre Chevalier skiing region.
250 kilometers of pistes of all levels of difficulty plus 9 deep-snow slopes are available here to winter sports enthusiasts. Off-piste skiers can also practise the use of modern avalance tranceivers in the Arva-Park for added safety on the backcountry skiing tours.
Throughout the region there are 2 boardercross zones, 2 snowparks and a halfpipe available to snowboarders. Cross country skiers can enjoy the wonderful landscape along the river on 8 different cross country slopes, which all run through the wonderful Serre Chevalier Valley.
Despite the development into a modern ski resort, Monetier les Bains once again returned to its roots as a thermal resort in 1999 and revived its spa industry. Initially this was only on a smaller scale, but from 2008 it took the form of the XXL Thermal Centre „Grands Bains“ with an area of more than 4500m².
A large 300m² indoor pool awaits wellness fans here, with jacuzzi beds, massage showers, water fountains, neck showers and jacuzzis. There is an even larger pool outside with a current channel, water jets and jacuzzi beds. There is also a spacious sauna area with 2 inside saunas, an outdoor sauna, 2 steam baths and a jacuzzi, which is reserved for adult bathers. Several special features include a music grotto and the so-called roman trilogy with a frigidarium, a tepidarium and a caldarium – 3 different types of bathing pools which are filled with cold, tepid and hot water.
Grands Bains’ range of activities is completed by an inviting spa for various beauty treatments, a restaurant with a panorama terrace and its view of the surrounding summits as well as a comprehensive programme for different aqua-aerobics courses.
Those who fancy alternative outdoor activities away from the slopes, can also look forward to a large variety of leisure facilities in Monetier les Bains. The toboggan run at the foot of the slopes with its own moving walkway, the Monetier les Bains’ natural ice rink, a group snowshoe hike or an excursion on dog sledges are all ideal for children and families. Experienced skiers on the other hand can also try and set a new speed record – either by skijöring, which involves being pulled across the snow on skis and is similar to waterskiing except you are pulled by a horse, or by speedriding, where skiers can fly much more quickly across the pistes thanks to a large snow-kite.
There are numerous restaurants and bars plus a cinema available to ski tourists in Monetier les Bains, which provide an entertaining après-ski programme.