A general view of Morzine

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 46°10′44″N 6°42′32″E / 46.1789°N 6.7089°E / 46.1789; 6.7089Coordinates: 46°10′44″N 6°42′32″E / 46.1789°N 6.7089°E / 46.1789; 6.7089
Country France
Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Haute-Savoie
Arrondissement Thonon-les-Bains
Canton Le Biot
  Mayor (201420) Gérard Berger
Area1 44.1 km2 (17.0 sq mi)
Population (2013[1])2 2,882
  Density 65/km2 (170/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 74191 / 74110

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Morzine is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France.

A traditional market town in the heart of the Portes du Soleil, Morzine is dominated by chalets spread across a river gorge, bordered by partially wooded slopes allowing skiing in poor weather conditions. Situated at an altitude of 1000 m, it is one of the most northerly of the French Alpine resorts, and weatherwise benefits from the Mont Blanc microclimate. The locality enjoys panoramic mountain views and modern ski facilities, as well as hotels and restaurants in the town itself. The ski resort of Avoriaz is located on the territory of the commune.


In 1181, Morzine (Latin: Morgenes, or "border area") was a grange of Aulps Abbey, a Cistercian monastery 7 km away.[2] In the Middle Ages, granges were agricultural centres from which the monks exploited their landscape and co-ordinated farming and industrial work. The grange was fundamental to the Cistercians' successful expansion and management of their mountain land. The granges supplied the monastery's food, clothing, utensils and building materials. The granges were manned by lay-brothers, who cultivated the lands and reared livestock.[3]

From the 18th to the early 20th century, the exploitation of slate quarries was an important economic activity of Morzine, before winter tourism took over around in 1930.[4] In 2015 only a few quarries were still being exploited.

Summer sports

Morzine also hosts summer activities such as mountain biking, golfing, walking and caving. The resort also boasts an Olympic sized swimming pool.

Mountain biking

Local trails are generally single track and with varying levels of difficulty available from steep, rooty and technical to fast open downhill tracks. There is also a small amount of Northshore available in the Chatel Bike Park area.

Morzine is also within easy reach of other resorts including Avoriaz, Morgins, Châtel and Les Gets. The resorts of Pila, Verbier and Les Arcs lie within easy reach by car thus giving access to several places to ride.

A single lift pass can be purchased to cover the whole of the Portes du Soleil area and costs much less than during the winter months.

Tour de France

Morzine has hosted Tour de France stage finishes on several occasions, thanks in part to the proximity of the notoriously steep Col de Joux-Plane climb.

Morzine was the finale of the first mountain stage in the 2003 Tour de France. Stage seven's yellow and Polka dot jerseys were awarded to Richard Virenque of France's Quick Step-Davitamon team. Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France ended in Morzine, and the town was also the starting point for Stage 18. In the 2010 Tour de France Morzine was the finishing location for stage 8.

Morzine will again feature in this year's Tour de France (2016) as the finish for stage 20 - Megeve to Morzine.


Morzine is home to the annual French Mountain Villages Football Tournament (Tournoi des Montagnes) where the best junior teams compete for a much coveted trophy each June.

Winter sports

Skiing and snowboarding

The intermediate terrain makes the area well suited to beginners and less-seasoned skiers and snowboarders, which has led to the resort being especially popular with families. However more challenging slopes can be found at nearby Avoriaz.

Morzine is closely linked to its neighbours Avoriaz and Les Gets in that they function as linked skiing centres during the winter season. The two resorts are included in the Portes du Soleil ski area, which includes both French and Swiss villages.

Local Transport

The closest airport to Morzine is Geneva Cointrin International Airport, Switzerland. Although there is no rail service directly to Morzine the two closest stations are at Thonon-les-Bains and Cluses, and from these stations local buses are available to the town.

See also


  1. INSEE
  2. Delerce (A.), Recherches sur le chartrier d'Aulps. Reconstitution, édition et commentaire des chartes d'une abbaye cistercienne de montagne (1097-1307), vol. 2, p. 271-273, n° 32. Papal bull of Pope Alexander III
  3. Willams (D. H.), The Cistercians in the Early Middle Ages, Leominster, 1998, p. 278 ss.
  4. History section, Ardoisière des Sept Pieds
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