With regards to the geography of Chatel, it is located in the Pays DíEvian-Vallee DíAbondance collection of communes within the Chablais area of the Haute Savoie department of the Auvergne-Rhones Alpes region of France in Eastern France right on the border with Switzerland in the Northern Alps.
The Swiss town of Morgins is just over four kilometres away, showing how close Chatel is to Switzerland. Morgins is part of the Portes Du Soleil ski area, along with Morzine on the French side which is also relatively close to Chatel. Chatel is a central part of the Portes Du Soleil, lining France with Switzerland. Lake Geneva is at the far end of the valley, with Evian and Thonon as the closest towns, both with good rail links. Geneva, the second largest city in Switzerland, with an international airport, is also close by. The capital of the Haute Savoie, Annecy, is also close to Chatel.
Chatel was first settled by a small group of Burgundians fleeing persecution at the hands of the Huns in the fifth century. A number of small hamlets grew up in the area and the population remained low. Chatel became a parish in its own right in 1645 following some disputes amongst the various hamlets. The first census took place in 1793 and showed a population of six hundred and eighteen. Despite a few anomalies along the way the population remained mostly stable before it began to rise steadily from the 1950s onwards, which seems to indicate the effects of the new ski industry on the town. The population was at its highest in the 1990 census, at twelve hundred and fifty five. In 2014 it was twelve hundred and one.
Geopark Du Chablais
The Geoparks are a global initiative in partnership with UNESCO that highlights areas of geological importance. The Global Geoparks Network works together to promote understanding of the areas and help one another with research and education. The Geopark Du Chablais starts at Lake Geneva and goes all the way to the Col Du Joux Plane in Morzine. It celebrates the geological significance of the area, where the Alps were first carved out two hundred and fifty million years ago, and the way in which man has learnt to live in harmony with the natural environment. The Geopark Du Chablais works to educate those living in or visiting the area and works with scientific researchers as well as local partners to promote understanding and work on sustainability.