to the park
Merlet animal park opened in 1968 and for more than 50 years it has been managed entirely by the same family.
Discover our philosophy …
We are dedicated to ensuring that you enjoy a great day at Merlet discovering the animals. However, we are even keener for you to leave with more knowledge of the fascinating mountain environment, the wildlife and flora and how it has adapted to life in the mountains, the glaciers that are retreating fast, the pure air of the mountain that is no longer so pure in the valley of Chamonix, etc. We believe it is our mission is to inform you as much as we can and share our energy and desire to act and promote greater respect for our environment.
In the ‘events/animations’ section you will find the themes that are addressed at the park, but our park attendants are always on hand to offer more information and exchange with you on these important issues.
A human-sized business
Merlet Animal Park was created by the Cachat family who still run the site today. Although it is a tourist oriented commercial activity, the main objective is to share our corner of paradise with you, in which we invest so much work and passion.
The team is very small: four very versatile park attendants come from May to September to help out Bertrand (the only employeeyear round), and Claire and Jérôme (the bosses).
We insist on greeting you with a smile, as we know you have just climbed up 300 or 1000m, some of you with your children in tow complaining ‘are we there yet?’ every bit of the way. So you deserve a warm welcome! Please feel to ask any us questions you may have, we all speak at least a little English and are eager to help.
Fair pricing policy
Park Merlet is one of the cheapest tourist activities in the valley of Chamonix. Prices are only €8 for an adult, €5 for children aged 4 to 15 years old, for a full day. The parkreceives no subsidesor grants, and relies solely on the proceeds fromthe sale of entry tickets. The site is very popular, which enables us to invest each year to improve our hospitality facilities, introduce new activities, and look after the land and buildings, so why should we increase our prices?
We want our prices to remain reasonable: €26 for a small family to enjoy a great day, possibly with a little sweat in August, and so many fond memories to take back home!
Visitor satisfaction is very important to us and we are keen to listen to your ideas, comments and suggestions. Don’t hesitate to talk to our park attendants or leave us a message.
Merlet Animal Park is a responsible site!
The superb natural setting of the park encourages us all to preserve this rich albeit fragile mountain environment. Given the particular situation of the valley of Chamonix that is a tourist hotspot, overcrowded and polluted, taking measures to limit our environmental footprint is essential. We have implemented several measures in this respect, please take part in them and talk about them around you.Thank you!
Dry ecological toilets
The Ecosphere® system is simply revolutionary! At first glance these are quite ordinary toilets but without water! Instead of flushing with water you activate a strange conveyor belt system coupled with a drying surface underground. Air is extracted up to the roof of the chalet and urine is separated from any faecal matter so as to avoid any unpleasant odours in the toilets. The creation of two dry toilets and one urinal makes it possible to save huge quantities of water and prevents potential pollution of water downstream.
These clever toilets are next to the restaurant. Feel free to give them a try!
Significant efforts have been undertaken since 2013 with respect to the selective sorting of waste collected from the public bins and the restaurant. We strongly encourage you to contribute actively by correctly sorting your waste.
We are active contributors to the Territorial Climate Plan.Â Faced with the issue of Global Warmingthe local authorities have decided to act strongly and sustainably by adhering to the ‘Plan ClimatEnergie Territorial’ (PCET).
Piloted by the ‘Communauté de Communes local authorities’ of the valley of Chamonix Mont-Blanc and together with a number of different partners, the Territorial Climate Plan aims to reduce the emission of greenhouse effect gases and adapt to tackle the issue of climate change by implementing a series of measures with respect to transportation, waste, urbanism and enhancing awareness in the public and inhabitants of the valley.
Encouraging green mobility
6 km separate the animal park from the bottom of the valley. Why use a personal car to make the trip up to the park? We have implemented a carpool scheduling for our staff to limit the number of trips.Â The park team ride electric bikes
For all staff members who have been working at the park for two years or more, half of the cost of an electric bike is covered by the park management. A great way to encourage employee loyalty and keep them fit!
Since 2017, Merlet Animal Park runs a shuttle service from Les Houchesthe station. The village of Les Houches has made a parking lot available just below the station. This is an ideal solution for visitors who don’t have a car. We hope to progressively reduce the number of cars that use the parking lots and reduce the impact of traffic on the environment.
100% renewable energy!
Merlet has never been connected to the electricity grid. We produce all the electricity we need thanks to an installation that combines solar andhydroelectric power.
60 m2 of solar panels enable us to complement the electricity produced by our small hydroelectric plant, which consists of a small water turbine. The latter generates up to 2.3kW when the water flow is strong and the solar panels deliver approximately 4kW when the sky is clear! The power produced is initially stored in a pool of 24 V batteries andthen converted back to 220V thanks to a powerful inverter. This complex electrical installation was set up by a professional electrician Paul Cathand, Domancy Elec, and by Philippe Cachat, the founder of the park who installed the network of water pipes that can with stand up to 14 bars pressurein parts of the park that seemed inaccessible.
The park benefited from a grant from ‘Région Rhône Alpes’ for the solar installation and from Selec 74 for the turbine.
Peasants in the soul
The managers of the Merlet Animal Park, Claire and Jérôme GARCIN and their children are also cattlebreeders and have a passion for the Hérens breed.
Boasting a black or fawn colour, powerful, lively, our local breed of cows has horns that they proudly wear like a crown. They are gentle and endearing and are called ‘Reine’meaning Queen in French. They are famous for their natural disposition to fight each other! In fact, ‘battles of Reines’ are held each year in Chamonix, Les Houches, Servozand Les Contamines. Jérôme’s Reines also take part in cross-border events.
Each year Jérôme breeds between 10 and 15 calves that are sold directly on the farm.
Unfortunately, the pastoral environment is marred by growing issues for farming in the valley of Chamonix. For several decades now the fertile farming land down in the valley is sold off for construction and can no longer grow the fodder required to feed the animals. The herds are becoming smaller andfarmers are giving up their activity. As a result the mountain pastures and hillsides turn to fallow.
To counter this, the farmers of the valley of Chamonix have joined forces by creating ‘Terres et Paysans du Mont-Blanc’, an association that endeavours to find solutions to maintain their activity, as farming contributes significantly to the beauty of the mountain landscapes and is essential to perpetuate the richness of our localtraditions.
For more information concerning the association.www.tpmb.org