Between 8500 and 5000 BC the territory of Les Houches - from the Celtic word Olca meaning arable lands - was the first to be released from the glaciers which still covered the upper part of the Arve valley in 1500 metres of ice.
In the Neolithic period (around 3000 BC) agro-pasters , the first temporary occupants in the area, sculpted cupules stones which were discovered at the end of the 19th century, on the Coupeau slopes.
Following these farmers, the pre-Celtic Ceutrons people intensified the seasonal use of the mountains. They were perhaps the first people to exploit the mountain meadows.
The Romans who ruled the Allobroges Celts in 122 BC, established themselves at Passy until the fifth century. They were not interested in the upper part of the Arve valley above Servoz.
During the following four centuries, the degradation of the climate provoked mass depopulation of the Chamonix valley.
At the end of the 11th century, the entire territory between Servoz and the Col de Balme was given to the abbey of St Michel of Cluses (in Piemont, Italy) by the Count of Geneva who was concretising an act of piety.
In the 12th century, a few Benedictine monks came to the valley and established the priory of Chamonix where they henceforth practised their spiritual and temporal callings.
This small religious community encouraged the local inhabitants to get the most out of these new cultivated lands which included the alpine meadows.
In 1355, the Chamonix priory, like all the Faucigny area, was integrated into the State of Savoie founder of the kingdom of Piemont-Sardaigne in 1718.
In 1519, the Canons of the religious order of Sallanches became the new lords of the upper Arve valley and remained so until the Savoie was returned to France during the period of the French revolution in 1792.
At the beginning of the 18th century the small community of Les Houches, made up exclusively of farmers, requested its separation from the parish of Chamonix, to whom it had been dependant upon since the creation of the priory.
Les Houches became an independent parish following the construction of its Baroque church around 1730, and then an established village with its own governing body in 1787.
At the same time, the first tourists arrived from Geneva, traversing Les Houches to visit the glaciers in Chamonix.
In 1786, two men from Chamonix (or 'Chamoniards') called Jacques Balmat and doctor M G Paccard succeeded in making the first ascent of Mont-Blanc.
After the period of the occupation during the revolution and the first empire (1792-1814), the Sardinian monarchy was restored until the definitive handing over of Savoie to France in 1860.
Life was difficult in Les Houches and many 'Houchards' moved to the big cities or even across the Atlantic. The growing development of tourism in Chamonix had not yet touched Les Houches in the middle of the 19th century.
Nor were they allowed to join the Compagnie des guides de Chamonix which was created in 1823.
Major developments decades later accelerated the mutation of rural society. The construction of the new road from Le Fayet to Chamonix (1860-70) and especially the train which arrived in 1901, favoured the development of summer tourism: Les Houches became a small holiday retreat. The first hotels and holiday homes began to appear. After the First World War this tendency grew.
The resort opened up to winter tourism with the construction of the Bellevue cable car in 1936-37. From the 1960s the intensification of tourism development provoked a construction boom including new lift systems and the upgrading of the leisure centre in Les Chavants. The digging of the Mont-Blanc tunnel (1959-65) and the construction of the Route Blanche motorway (1985-90), opened the village resort of Les Houches up to the rest of Europe.