L’Observatoire, Monnetier Mornex – Top of the Saleve

View from The Saleve looking at Geneve and Lac Leman
View from The Saleve looking at Geneve and Lac Leman

Since moving to this beautiful region of France in 2008, I have enjoyed walking on the Salève, and enjoying the amazing panoramic views. Being up above the clouds is a very special place to be, breathing in the clear mountain area whilst enjoying the breathtaking scenery is a great reminder as to what is good in life.  The Salève is a pre-alpes mountain, geologically part of the Jura chain and situated in the Haute Savoie and sometimes referred to as ‘the balcony of Geneva’.  The Saleve mountain can be seen as a landmark all around the area, and when below we are bathed in cloud and fog, one can normally rely on the fact that as you climb to the top of the Saleve you will be rewarded with blue skies, clear air and stunning scenery.  When I first moved here I used the Salève as a guide to orientate myself as this majestic mountain dominates the landscape.

From the top of The Saleve
From the top of The Saleve

The Salève consists of the pitons called the grand and the petit Salève and at it’s highest point is 1379 metres. (information gained from Wikipedia)  One can drive up and around the top or take the telepherique du Saleve cable car up and down (do check their website for running times) – there are a multitude of walking trails to take to ascend and descend or plenty of walks around the summit. The website Destination Montagne has a very comprehensive guide to the hiking and walking routes.

The view from the telepherique at the top of the Saleve
The view from the telepherique at the top of the Salève

There are a few eating places on the Saleve but a recent discovery has become one of my favourites and a big surprise.  There perched at the top at around 1200 metres close to the paragliding launch pad and the landmark aerial mast you will find the L’Observatoire.   This is a 15 minute walk from the telepherique or a 5 minute drive from La Croisette.

L'Observatoire - restaurant
L’Observatoire – restaurant

L’Observatoire was recently bought by Jean Pierre and Marion and they have created something very special with their restaurant.  Apart from being in the most stunning location with amazing 360° views, this restaurant is a little different than one would expect at the top of a mountain!

L'Observatoire - The bar area
L’Observatoire – The bar area

Jean Pierre trained and worked in Lyon and the USA before returning to his Haute Savoie home to find this restaurant for sale at auction.  Having secured L’Observatoire, they have really made their mark in turning it into a gastro delight with a retro vintage styled interior and a great relaxing and bar area. Considering that they embarked upon this adventure with a mere €500 in their pockets the results some 18 months later are amazing!

Inside L'Observatoire, wood burning stove and chilling area
Inside L’Observatoire, wood burning stove and chilling area

Lunch is very popular so it is advisable to book and in the evenings they are specialising in making many cocktails and I can’t think of a better place for an apero and to watch the sun go down!  Dinner in the evenings is by bookings only.  They are closed on a Tuesday and on Sunday evenings, please see L’Observatoire website for menus and more pics

Le diots - a local Savoyard sausage
Le diots – A local Savoyard sausage
Burger de L'Observatoire is amazing!
Burger de L’Observatoire is amazing!

Having eaten lunch there now on several occasions, the food is consistently very good, as is the service which is informal and friendly and the place has a great atmosphere. The burger is absolutely amazing and a house speciality and the frites have been cooked in something seriously yummy!  Everything is home made and cooked using seasonal produce and presented really well.

There are panoramic views of the alps including Mont Blanc from the windows that run the entire length of the restaurant – for days when you can’t sit out on the spacious terrace. In the other direction the views over Geneva and Lac Leman are stunning too.

Le Café Gourmand
Le Café Gourmand

I enjoyed these lunches at my own expense and this is my opinion of my personal experiences at L’Observatoire

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All Photos ©Copyright Caro Blackwell

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