Les Contamines Montjoie, an Eco-Friendly Holiday Paradise

Jenny Barruol

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With climate change becoming ever more problematic, avid environmentalists like yourself may find it difficult to go on holiday whilst respecting the environment. Well, it looks like we have the perfect eco-friendly destination for you!

In June 2020, a group of friends and I went to Les Contamines Montjoie, a small village in the French Alps. We stayed in a chalet owned by one of the friends we were travelling with. Unsurprisingly, our holiday week turned out to be rather eco-friendly.

“Our carbon footprint was very low as we had no cars. We had no access to Wi-Fi and barely used our devices. To make our holiday waste-free, we recycled everything and started a compost.”

Not having access to vehicles meant we explored on foot a lot more. We trekked around 20 kilometers each day, discovering the Alps. This allowed us to witness stunning views such as eternal glaciers or peaceful lakes. However, make sure you take good walking boots, because the hills were steep, to say the least.

In terms of food, we cooked everything. Most meals were vegetarian and some ingredients were even fetched from the forest. With the edible plants we found outside, we were able to make tasty salads and nettle omelette. In the evenings, we drank organic wines.

There was not enough space for all of us to sleep inside the chalet, so most of us camped outside, which was actually very pleasant. If you wanted to rent an apartment, the prices are high and range from 30-90 euros a night in the summer season. Alternatively, you could stay in a local campsite, which would allow you to save a lot of money.

Being outdoors allowed us to reconnect with wildlife. We relaxed amongst newts, butterflies, birds, frogs and more, although one of us got stung by a bee! And this is when the first aid kit became useful. Apart from that, Les Contamines is a very safe place and certainly suitable for everyone, although some trek routes can be challenging.

We swam in lakes and rivers most days and made the most of the sunshine. The temperature was perfect: warm during the day and cooler in the evenings. But pack adequately (shorts and t-shirts for the day, trousers and jumpers for the evening) and definitely do not overpack.

When we were not out exploring the alpine nature, we taught each other songs or practiced yoga and meditation. Some of us read books, others painted landscapes and played klezmer music together. In the evenings, we played board games, exchanged funny stories or danced blindfold to music!

The trip cost us around 350 euros in total for 12 people (30 euros per person) for one whole week, including food. However, you may wish to include your train to Grenoble in your budget as well as your train from Grenoble to Saint Gervais. From there, you will be able to catch a bus to the village. It is a remote place after all!

This week spent in Les Contamines was a beautiful carefree, waste-free holiday. Everything felt untouched and wild and everywhere we looked was breathtaking. We all came back incredibly rested psychologically with unforgettable memories.

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