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Les thermes de Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc

Story of The Thermal Baths

Nestled in the heart of a magnificent 10-hectare thermal park, Les Thermes de Saint-Gervais is a unique destination! Surrounded by vegetation, the thermal baths building is located in the Alpine territory. It’s an exceptional place where thousand-year-old water first emerged 6500 years ago on the peaks of Mont Blanc. From the moment the first spa-goers came to “take the waters” to enjoy its benefits as well as the relaxing environment of the verdant Bonnant Gorge, the thermal baths have been constantly reinvented. In 2018, a new chapter in Mont Blanc’s history was written, highlighting the incredible journey of the thermal water, from the top of the glaciers to the magmatic rocks. This large-scale project has set a new scene for you to discover. All the areas have been renovated and redesigned to give each visitor a holistic experience from the moment they enter the interactive boutique right through to the new experiences that Les Bains du Mont Blanc has to offer.

1806

Joseph-Marie Gontard made a wonderful discovery

At the beginning of the 19th century, Saint-Gervais was a small, peaceful rural community. Tourists rarely ventured into the valley or the hills. Only shepherds would come to bring their herds to graze, because, thanks to a hot spring with a sulphurous smell, the grass was always green.

In 1806, the notary Joseph-Marie Gontard secretly had this water analysed and uncovered its virtues: a high mineral content that makes it capable of treating various ailments. The notary then bought the land and immediately dug a gallery above the springs in order to install four wooden tubs.In the following year, he added an extra floor flanked by two turrets and, in 1807, opened a small establishment.

The Saint-Gervais thermal baths were born.

1815

Doctor Matthey proved the water’s effectiveness for skincare

More than two centuries ago, the benefits of the waters of Saint-Gervais were discovered.

Since then, there has been a succession of owners and doctors and the thermal baths have experienced a turbulent history, from discoveries to innovations, twists of fate and rebirth. The spa created by Gontard was an instant success. People flocked to the thermal baths of Saint-Gervais to benefit from its miraculous waters. In 1815, Doctor Mattey was appointed as the medical inspector. He catalogued the illnesses treated by the water and codified its uses: as a drink, baths, showers and later on, steam baths. He was in fact the first to scientifically prove its effect on skin diseases. As a result of these discoveries, the baths of Saint-Gervais continued to grow over the following decades. High society flocked to the thermal baths, they wer put up in the brand new hotels.

When Gontard handed over the thermal baths in 1838, the facility was thriving.

1892

A mudslide swept down the mountain and destroyed the thermal baths

The Compagnie générale d’eaux minérales et de bains de mer began renovating the facilities in 1883. Specialised programs were introduced and the institution established itself as a first-class medical facility. However, in 1892, a natural disaster shattered these achievements. On a sweltering summer evening, a torrent of mud, rocks and ice swept down the mountain, taking everything in its path. Hundreds of people died in the thermal baths and the building was almost completely destroyed.

Several guides investigated and discovered that cause of the disaster was more than 200,000 cubic metres of water that had accumulated over millions of years in the bowels of the Tête-Rousse glacier, before exploding under the pressure and rushing down towards the valley.

1914

The new spa complex was running at full capacity.

After the disaster, the glacier was placed under close surveillance, major works were undertaken and its waters were drained to prevent further incidents. Less than two years later, a new state-of-the-art facility was created, one kilometre from the old baths. Its focus was placed on hydrotherapy with the construction of steam bath cabins, spray showers and ascending showers. Other medical departments were installed to create a real thermal bath complex.

Meanwhile, Saint-Gervais itself transformed into a holiday resort. With the arrival of the railway line, the Mont Blanc tram and new hotels and villas popping up across the region, the town entered its golden age. World War I brought these developments to a halt.

2010

Creation of the Mont Blanc Baths

With society’s growing interest in new wellness treatments, this area inevitably had to be developed. This new space invites its guests to discover an experience based on the properties of thermal water for everyone.

A succession of indoor and outdoor relaxation areas are available to discover the benefits of Mont Blanc thermal water in three main stages: preparation, regeneration and healing. Tens of thousands of customers come to enjoy this space each year. The medical side has not been neglected either, with restructuring and improvements being made over the years.

2016

The New Saint Gervais Thermal Spa

In 2016, the L’Oréal Group acquired Les Thermes de Saint-Gervais and its range of 100% thermal thermal water based skincare products, with the aim of introducing the properties of the thermal baths and Saint-Gervais thermal water to the entire world.

The entire thermal spa building was completely revamped to highlight the star of Saint-Gervais: the Mont Blanc thermal water. An introductory journey following the path of the water, from the top of the glaciers to its dive into the depths of the Earth. Indoors and outdoors, summer and winter, a series of workshops are available to enjoy the water in all its phases.  It’s a unique place to discover the incredible world of thermal water!

2018

Over a year, important building works was carried out at Les Thermes. Each department was carefully renovated. The medical department was redesigned and rearranged, the facilities were carefully changed with a selection of high quality materials. Les Bains du Mont Blanc Thermal Spa has now been almost completely renovated. It has become a completely different course all while keeping the concept of a ‘journey’.

The baths now spread out closer to the Bonnant Gorge. The Care Institute was moved to the 1st floor to expand and allow for the creation of new duo cabins. This restructuring has also enabled the development of a seminar room that can accommodate up to 65 people with direct access to the Thermes rooftop terrace.