Nestled in the Fribourg Alps is the village of Charmey (altitude: 900 metres). Located on the road leading from Bulle to the Jaun mountain pass, it straddles the linguistic border separating the French- and German-speaking regions of the canton of Fribourg. Charmey is also the largest municipality in the canton (surface area: 7,857 ha). The village, which is a series of three valleys (Motélons, Gros Mont and Petit Mont), is overlooked by the imposing Vanil Noir (2,389 m)
Charmey lies in the middle of the Jaun and Javros valleys. The two fast-flowing rivers have carved out a gorge-like landscape from the rocks. Châtel-sur-Montsalvens (which still has the ruins of an old castle) and its artificial lake (first arch dam in Europe), Crésuz with its unbeatable panoramic view from the Moléson to Dents-Vertes, and Cerniat with the Charterhouse of la Valsainte are typical Gruyère villages, each with their historic houses and their own distinctive character. The countryside boasts an amazing diversity of flora (from edelweiss to rhododendron) and fauna (ibex, chamois, roe deer, marmots, lynx), not to mention meadows, forests and rocks.
Charmey in Winter. With 30 km of downhill runs, most of which are to the North, the skiing conditions in Charmey are first-class. The ski resort boasts a cable car, a middle station, five T-bars and one ski lift, as well as 20 km of cross-country skiing runs. It also has snow-shoeing and ski touring for those who prefer being closer to nature. There is night-time skiing on torch-lit slopes, hiking trails and its “carnival on ice”. The sports centre also offers a range of sporting activities, including a covered, heated pool and well-equipped gym.
Charmey in Summer. These are just a few of the activities on offer: hiking with 200 km of signposted routes, as well as special scenic trails which take walkers on tours of picturesque alpine chapels or mountain cabins, signposted mountain-bike trails, skywalks, rock-climbing in the Gastlosenmountains, a climbing wall, covered heated pool, tennis, miniature golf, paragliding (school also offers tandem paragliding), football pitch, track and field, as well as fishing in the river or in the Montsalvens lake.
Charmey culture. The musée du Pays et Val de Charmey hosts a permanent exhibition on the history of the Gruyères region. One room is given over to the Charterhouse of la Valsainte. Every year, the museum organises temporary exhibitions of artists who work in three media: wood, paper and clay.
Charmey tradition. This is a region synonymous with cheese. It is renowned for its Gruyère cheese, made using age-old, traditional methods, not to mention fondue, a deliciously sociable meal. In Autumn, the festivals of Désalpe and Bénichon reflect the rich traditions of the region, which are as important today as they were centuries ago.
Charmey leisure. Charmey has an excellent choice of hotels and restaurants, all serving mouth-watering food – whether it be the simplicity of mountain snack bars to fine dining experiences, not to mention excellent local produce. Night owls can also take advantage of the bars and disco in the village.
Charmey relaxation. On 31st March 2007, Charmey became the latest fitness and wellness destination in Switzerland. The building itself is an example of modern architecture at its best. Fitting seamlessly into the landscape, it offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountain range thanks to the viewing gallery which wraps around the entire building… a breathtaking experience. The main building, a striking wood-and-glass cylindrical structure, houses two large swimming pools. In fact, these are actual mountain lakes, filled with natural mineral water heated to 32-34ºC. The baths are also a great for kids, with special child-only areas equipped with an array of fun features.
Discover the energising properties of these natural mineral waters, while taking in the spectacular alpine landscape. Marvel at the waterfall, the emblematic symbol of this complex, relax in the mini whirlpools or let the nozzles and jets massage the stress away. On leaving the pool, journey into the Orient with a hammam, Turkish bath or a traditional Moor massage.