The town of Thônes is the gateway to the Aravis massif and serves many ski resorts. It is also the capital of farmhouse Reblochon AOP.
History and heritage
Human occupation dates back to prehistoric times. 10,000 years ago, men lived in the rock shelter of the Balme de Thuy. This site is located at the foot of a Middle Cretaceous cliff at an altitude of 620 metres.
The nearby Fier valley provided access to water and fishing. Then the first domesticated animals, ceramics and copper objects from the Neolithic period appeared.
The Gallo-Roman period saw the opening of the road linking the Thônes valley to Geneva via the Dingy gorge. An inscription engraved in the rock at Dingy attests to this. During the Middle Ages, the town of Thônes experienced a major boom with craftsmen, fairs and a baptismal church.
The valley of Thônes acquired a great stewardship to trade. In 1699, the word “reblochon” was first mentioned and this was the beginning of the great history of this cheese.
During the French Revolution, important battles took place against the revolutionary troops. After Savoy became part of France, the watchmaking and textile industries developed in Thônes.
In 1898, a steam tramway linked Annecy to the Aravis town. During the fighting on the Glières plateau in 1944, the town was bombed by the Germans. The population was 5210 in 1999.
The best rated hotels
Depending on your budget, we have selected five hotels near Thônes that offer excellent value for money and have very good customer reviews:
Hotel Les Sapins
This beautiful hotel is located in the Aravis mountains in the winter sports resort of La Clusaz. The restaurant serves quality traditional cuisine. The ski slopes are nearby. The rooms are decorated according to the Savoyard tradition in wood. A great address in the mountains.
From 90 € per night.
A beautiful hotel in La Clusaz in the pure Savoyard architectural style. The facilities are of high quality: heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, hammam. Shops are nearby. Parking is available upon prior reservation.
From 110 € per night.
Hotel La Montagne
A beautiful family-run establishment located only 15 minutes from the ski slopes of La Clusaz. The restaurant offers excellent local specialities such as tartiflette, fondue or raclette.
From €58 per night.
La Pointe Percée
Near Thônes in the authentic resort of Grand-Bornand, this hotel offers great facilities. The view on the Aravis mountain range is magnificent. A good address to discover the region.
From 90 € per night.
Hotel du Midi
Located in the centre of Thônes, this 3-star hotel offers a view of the village square, the mountains and the via ferrata. Breakfast is served in the veranda or on the terrace. The restaurant serves Haute-Savoie culinary specialities such as crozet gratin.
From € 80 per night.
Cultural and sports facilities
The town of Thônes has a library and a cinema.
The multimedia library is located at 1, rue Blanche. It has undergone a major renovation a few years ago. The place is friendly with librarians and volunteers. 16,000 books are available to the public in two rooms: one for children and the other for teenagers and adults. The library also hosts the Documentary Film Festival and the “Jeux m’amuse” event.
- Monday: from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm
- Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9am to 12pm
- Wednesday: from 9 am to 12 pm and from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm
- Saturday: 8.30am to 1.30pm
The Edelweiss cinema is located in the Passage de Addebouts. It is open from mid-December to mid-May and from late June to early September. In addition to the classical programme, films from the Italian Film Festival are shown, as well as major operas and ballets.
Themuseum of Thônes is located on the 3rd floor of the library building, at 1, rue Blanche, 74 230 Thônes. It offers a discovery of the history of the valley from prehistory to the present day, the fauna and flora of the Alps, costumes and traditions. The visit is fun and interactive. Price: adult admission €5.20.
Guided tour times:
- Monday: 3 pm and 4 pm
- Tuesday: 10 am and 11 am
- Wednesday to Saturday: 10 am, 11 am, 3 pm and 4 pm
The town of Thônes has a variety of quality facilities:
- A shaded boule court for playing boule lyonnaise or pétanque is located in Place Avet. A covered boulodrome is located in Les Perrasses.
- Two gymnasiums located in Les Perrasses and rue des Clefs allow you to play handball, basketball and climbing.
- An accrobranche called Aravis Parc Aventures offers 4 levels of difficulty.
- A signposted mountain bike route called Les berges du Nom allows you to follow in the footsteps of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the foothills of the Lachat. You can also buy a map of mountain bike routes in Thônes for 3 € at the tourist office.
- There is a well-equipped skate park next to the swimming pool.
- The Thônes tennis club has 5 outdoor and 2 indoor courts and a club house.
- The equestrian centre has a 1,400 m² riding arena, a forestry field and equipment adapted for disabled people.
- An 18-hole mini-golf course is open in summer at Place Avet.
- The lake of Thuy allows you to fish and spend a pleasant moment, picnic tables are available.
- The municipal swimming pool offers two pools with a small and a large diving board. Catering at the snack bar. Open from mid-May to early September.
- Three stadiums for team sports: a grass football stadium, a rugby stadium and a synthetic pitch.
- An archery range allows you to learn and progress in this discipline on targets placed from 5 to 35 m.
Several unusual activities are available in the Thônes valley:
Hiking with donkeys in group
The outing takes place over a 250 to 450 m difference in altitude and lasts 4 hours, walking alongside the donkeys carrying the saddlebags. Local stories, tales and songs are told. You will learn how to groom the donkeys. A picnic is required. The activity is accessible to PRM’s.Address: La Sauffaz, 74230 Serraval. Group rate from 4 people with a donkey 26,50 €.
Bivouac suspended in the stars
To spend an unusual night under the stars in a platform on the edge of a cliff, near a waterfall, the approach is made by a path in the forest, then a Savoyard meal is served on the cliff. The next day, the descent is done by abseiling over 50 m. The shower and coffee are taken at the bottom of the waterfall.Address: Bureau des guides de Thônes, 1 rue Blanche, 74230 Thônes. Single price from 4 people over 18 years old, 130 €.
Bivouac at altitude
This is a magical adventure. The departure is at the end of the afternoon with a 2 hour climb. The bivouac is set up for the night. The next morning, it is the ascent of the summit. Bivouac equipment is provided.Address: Bureau des guides de Thônes, 1 rue Blanche, 74230 Thônes. Adult price 5 €, children from 12 years old : 38 €.
These outings are organised according to various themes: discovery of the fauna and flora, rutting of the ibex, stag bellowing, fauna, heritage.Address: Haute-Savoie Nature Aventure, Tronche, 74230 Thônes. Prices: 26 € per day, 20 € per half-day. Accessible to PRM.
The children of Thônes are educated in 5 school groups with nursery and primary classes spread over the main sectors.
Market and fairs in Thônes
The traditional market in Thônes is held every Saturday morning from 8.30am to 12.30pm. During the summer it is located on the rue des Clefs and on part of the Vieux Collège car park. Many food specialities are on offer, including the excellent Reblochon cheese.
The town also offers two fairs:
- The Spring Fair which takes place on a Saturday in April with a funfair, a garage sale and many stands dedicated to the environment.
- The Saint-Maurice Fair, which has been held for 700 years on the last Saturday in September. It is the occasion for competitions and parades of cows of the Abondance breed. A funfair is organised on the Place Avet and at the Besseaux. The usual garage sale is held in the Vieux Collège car park. Due to the large number of visitors, shuttles leave from the Perrasses car park to the entrance of the fair.
Address: Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, 74 230 Thônes.Tel: 04.50.02.91.72 Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Official website: www.mairie-thones.frThe Tourist Office is located at: 1, rue Blanche 74230 Thônes. Official website: www.thonescoeurdesvallees.com