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Stage town for the 21st time
Mountain resort in Haute-Savoie (74)
Population: 2,870 (Morzinois, Morzinoises)
Specialities: fondue, raclette, polenta, croziflette, stuffing, Abondance (cheese).
Personalities: Laurent Baud (painter and mayor), Jean Vuarnet (alpine skier, Olympic champion at the 1960 Olympics and creator of the neighbouring resort of Avoriaz who died in 2017), Yves Tavernier, Cyprien Richard (skiers).
Sports: skiing, paragliding, ice rink, Olympic swimming pool. Hockey Club Morzine-Avoriaz. Pass'Portes du Soleil VTT (largest mountain bike gathering in the world).
Economy: tourism, skiing, agriculture.
Festivals: Rock the Pistes, Harley Days (Motorbike).
Labels: Famille Plus, Qualité Tourisme, Terre de Jeux 2024, UNESCO Geopark of the Chablais
Websites / FB / Twitter / Insta: www.morzine-avoriaz.comwww.mairie-morzine-avoriaz.comwww.savoie-mont-blanc.com / https://cycling.morzine-avoriaz.com/ / www.portesdusoleil.comhttps://www.facebook.com/MorzineAvoriazwww.facebook.com/MairieMorzinehttps://twitter.com/Morzinehttps://twitter.com/MairieMorzinewww.youtube.com/user/MorzineTV/ / https://www.instagram.com/morzineofficiel/ / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/Departement.de.la.Haute.Savoie/ / https://twitter.com/dep_74?lang=frInstagram.com/hautesavoie-dep74 / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/savoiemontblancFR/ / https://www.instagram.com/savoiemontblanc/channel/?hl=frhttps://www.youtube.com/user/SavoieMontBlanchttps://m.facebook.com/lesportesdusoleil/?locale2=fr_FRhttps://twitter.com/pds_officiel?lang=frhttps://www.instagram.com/portesdusoleil/?hl=frhttps://www.youtube.com/c/portesdusoleil

© OT Morzine/Sam Ingles
© OT Morzine/Sam Ingles
© OT Morzine/Sam Ingles
© OT Morzine/Sam Ingles

MORZINE, A STORY

Jean Vuarnet's egg

Morzine's most famous child was born in Tunis in 1933. But Jean Vuarnet was not two years old yet when his father, a doctor, moved to the resort, introducing his son to the treasures of skiing. Vuarnet, many years later, is known worldwide for his sports performances, for his line of clothing and his glasses, but the invention that made his legend is the "egg". In 1956, Jean Vuarnet and other French team riders realised that their technique was not improving compared to that of champions such as Austrian Toni Sailer, and so they developed a new position for speed, which was muscularly demanding but formidably effective. This position, leaning forward with a flat back and giving the skier the shape of an egg, was a revolution for alpine skiing and led the Morzine kid to become Olympic downhill champion in 1960 at Squaw Valley. This is how Vuarnet described his method: "I'm low, my chest on my thighs... My chin is just at crotch level, my back is flat, neither my buttocks nor my back protrude above the tip of my leather helmet. Knees and ankles are relaxed so that the skis are supple, free to meander along the slightest relief, without damaging the snow, because the slightest effort is a braking action...". The method, which was very much decried at the time by traditionalists, enabled Jean Vuarnet to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his Olympic title in 2010. A sculpture celebrating the event was unveiled in Morzine at the time. Vuarnet died in 2017. The egg being at the beginning of everything, Jean Vuarnet also created the sculling machine and, in 1966, the resort of Avoriaz.

Jean Vuarnet en 1958 © Pressesports

MORZINE AND CYCLING

Colombian resort?

The Tour discovered Morzine in 1975 and its stage winners include Marco Pantani and Richard Virenque. But the place also brings back excellent memories for Colombians. In 1982, Luis Herrera had shown the way by winning a stage of the Tour de l'Avenir. Three years later, it was in Avoriaz that Lucho won a stage on the Tour de France, and his compatriot Fabio Parra gave their country an unprecedented double victory the next day by winning in Lans-en-Vercors at the end of a stage that started in Morzine. Inspired by the location, Parra triumphed there three years later in a solo race to become the first Colombian to reach the Tour podium. In 2012, Nairo Quintana also won one of his first prestigious victories in the Critérium du Dauphiné in Morzine. For the sake of completeness, Santiago Botero's stage win in the 2005 Dauphiné should be added to this list. In 2016, it was Spaniard Ion Izagirre who won a stage starting from Megève on the eve of Chris Froome's final victory in Paris.

Nairo Quintana © Pressesports/Frédéric Mons
Fabio Parra © Pressesports

SIGHTS


Les Portes du Soleil
12 resorts between France and Switzerland linked by their ski lifts make up the largest cross-border ski area in the world. With 600 km of skiing in winter and 1,000 km of marked trails in summer, it is an exceptional playground for skiing, mountain biking or hiking in the breathtaking panoramas between Lake Geneva and the Mont Blanc massif.

Haut Chablais Geopark
From the shores of Lake Geneva to the summit of the Hauts-Forts in Morzine-Avoriaz, the Chablais Geopark, which was awarded the UNESCO label in 2012, tells the 250 million years history of the formation of the Alps. Among the geological sites displayed, three can be seen in Morzine: the Ardoisières, the Rouleau de Bostan from the Mines d'Or lake and the Avoriaz belvedere.

Morzine village
The historic centre is home to the baroque church (1803), the first building in Morzine to be covered in local slate in 1750, and is remarkable for its undulating facades and listed organ. The presbytery adjoining the church is housed in a bourgeois mansion, while the Old Bridge, which spans the Dranse, joins Rue Bidon and its traditional houses.

Les Dérèches Park
A huge green haven in the heart of Morzine with a 4.5km loop trail along the Dranse river that can be walked in its entirety or in part. The park offers more than 10 sports and leisure activities, both in summer and winter: swimming pools, tennis courts, skating rinks, horse riding centre, fitness trail, skate park, conference centre, adventure trail, etc.

Bike Park
The Morzine Bike Park is a unique mountain bike area, respectful of nature and its bikers. The tracks are handmade by the domain's bike patrols. In the summer of 2020, an initiation area has been designed with different modules to train and improve your technique while enjoying the surrounding nature. Nearby are two blue runs, the red run, reworked by former French downhill champion Romain Paulhan, and the legendary black run of Morzine.

Avoriaz, a fantastic area
In the 1960s, Morzine's Jean Vuarnet, an Olympic downhill champion, took on the crazy challenge of creating a ski resort from scratch in the hills above Morzine. Opened in 1966 with the contribution of developer Gérard Brémond, Avoriaz stands out for its mimetic architecture designed by Jacques Labro and its entirely pedestrian concept. It enjoyed great success with the Fantastic Film Festival from 1973 to 1993.

© OT Morzine/Sam Ingles
© OT Morzine/Ollie Godbold
© OT Morzin/Keno Derleyn
Les Prodains and Avoriaz in Portes du Soleil ski area are now linked by high speed Gondola on left. Plans being made to extend lift sytem down Prodains valley into Morzine at far bottom. © Getty/peplow
"Overhead view of the snow covered ski village of Avoriaz, France." © Getty/cjp

TO EAT

Tomme de Serrausaix

Tomme is a cheese made from whole cow's milk. Several types exist such as "Tomme des Bauges" and "Tomme de Savoie". It belongs to the family of uncooked pressed cheeses. It can be served after a minimum of five weeks of maturing. In Morzine, it is produced by the Serrausaix farm on the road to Avoriaz and served in the town's best restaurants, such as La Chamade.

piece of savoy tomme on an entire savoy tomme © Getty/frederique wacquier

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