The Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc Guides' Festival

Take part in the traditional Fête des Guides de Saint-Gervais/Les Contamines. A unique moment shared with the Val Montjoie guides. Discover and celebrate their profession over 3 days of festivities. Various traditional and ancestral activities are on the program: mass, parade, guides’ calls, blessing of ropes and ice axes.

This not-to-be-missed August event is part of the local heritage. It’s punctuated by songs and traditional music (alphorn, accordion). Come and meet these men and women who work their way up to the summits. The ceremony concludes with a friendly drink in a very convivial atmosphere.

La fête des guides de Saint-Gervais, a celebration of daring, camaraderie and passion that reminds us that the horizon is always more beautiful when shared with friends and adventurers.

Tradition at the heart of the ceremony

The event is rich in tradition, recalling the deep roots of the alpine community. Mass is one of the first activities on the program, where guides gather in the local church to pray for their safety in the mountains and to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the Alps. It’s a solemn moment that reminds us of the challenges inherent in their profession.

The Fête des Guides de Saint-Gervais/Les Contamines is an exceptional event that brings together the local community and mountain lovers in an exciting three-day celebration.

This deep-rooted tradition in Val Montjoie offers a unique opportunity to pay tribute to mountain guides, those courageous men and women who know the peaks like no other.

A traditional parade

The parade is one of the highlights of the festival. The guides, dressed in their traditional uniforms, march proudly through the streets of Saint-Gervais and Les Contamines, to the cheers of the crowd. Flags flutter in the wind, testifying to the diverse nationalities of the mountaineers who come here seeking the expertise of local guides.

Why you'll love it Fête des Guides de Saint-Gervais

Music and conviviality

La Fête des Guides is also a celebration of Alpine culture. You can expect traditional musical performances, including alphorn and accordion, which add an authentic touch to the event. The haunting melodies fill the air, transporting participants to a world where mountains and music blend perfectly.

Meetings with the Guides

One of the most rewarding aspects of the festival is the opportunity to meet and talk with the guides themselves. These mountain experts are generally modest and unassuming, but at this celebration they are happy to share their stories and experiences with visitors. It’s a unique chance to learn more about their lives, their passion and the challenges they face on a daily basis.

A Glass of Friendship

The Fête des Guides traditionally closes with a friendly drink. It’s a relaxed moment when guides, locals and visitors come together to swap stories, laughter and memories. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and it makes you feel part of this welcoming community.

The guide company of Saint-Gervais / les Contamines

The Compagnie des Guides de Saint-Gervais/Les Contamines is a world-renowned mountaineering institution. Founded in the 19th century, it has played a central role in the exploration and conquest of Alpine peaks, in particular Mont Blanc.

The Compagnie des Guides is a pillar of the region’s mountain culture

It has seen the birth and development of many legendary guides, some of whom have left an indelible mark on the history of mountaineering. These intrepid guides not only opened climbing routes but also saved lives in the mountains, making the company a symbol of safety and competence.

The Compagnie des Guides de Saint-Gervais/Les Contamines is an institution that embodies the very essence of the mountains. It symbolizes professionalism, safety, ethics and a passion for mountaineering. The Fête des Guides, with its ice axe blessing ceremony and ancient traditions, pays tribute to this company and all the guides who have shaped the history of the French Alps.

Focus on The Ice Axe Blessing Ceremony

The ice axe blessing ceremony is one of the most symbolic moments of the Fête des Guides de Saint-Gervais/Les Contamines. It embodies the deep connection between mountain guides, their working tools and their faith in divine protection during their perilous ascents.

Ice axes are essential tools for mountain guides. They are used for climbing glaciers, securing tricky passages and many other necessary tasks in the mountains. The blessing of ice axes is a ritual that lends spiritual significance to these practical tools.

The gesture of blessing the ice axes reminds the guides of man’s vulnerability in the face of the mountain’s power. The ice axes are blessed to bring protection and good luck on future ascents. It’s an act of faith and respect for the natural forces of the mountain.

The ceremony is also a reminder of the responsibility guides have towards their clients. The ice axes, in addition to symbolizing safety, also represent the trust that climbers place in their guides to lead them safely through this sometimes hostile environment.