One of the oldest ski resorts in France, also the ‘Gateway to the European Cascades’, is a dream destination for travelers. While winter means the dramatic view of the Alps and the pearly white mountaintops, the summer brings colors in the sky as paragliders soar high. The largest glacier in France is here, one of the highest cable car rides in the world runs here, and some superb locales vie for your attention. Be it sliding down one of the most frequented ski sites in the world or trying a few swings at the lush green golf course to tee off your stress, the popularity of this valley is never out of season.
Chamonix was ‘discovered’ as a tourist destination by two Brits – William Windham and Richard Pocock – in 1741. Its popularity has only grown ever since then.
Things to Do in Chamonix
There is a flurry of activities for you to indulge throughout the year when you are in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.
Leisure and Sports – You can ‘Step into the Void’ at the Aiguille du Midi Skywalk and literally feel no ground under your feet. Skiing for children, horse riding, ice-skating, ski joering, paint ball, and mini golf keep the little ones busy. They can also visit Leisure & Adventure Parks in Chamonix. Adults can try their hands at squash, golf, ice skating, tennis, and swimming. Gyms, spas, fitness & sports centers, and massage parlors keep every traveler rejuvenated.
Summer Activities – Chamonix is known for making summer even more exciting. From trekking to mountain biking, and rock climbing to paragliding, this resort teems with activities during the warm months. Kids can thoroughly enjoy water sports and rides and slides at theme parks.
Winter Activities – The fact that Chamonix was the venue for the first Winter Olympics in 1924 underscores its reputation as one of the most popular destinations for winter sports. Enjoy skiing on the Mont Blanc massif, snowboarding, dog sledding, ice-climbing, snowshoeing, and heli-skiing to beat the chill and get a healthy dose of adventure.
You can also have a taste of the nightlife in and around the valley. Spend quality time at discotheques such as Monkey Bar, Jekyll & Hyde, White Hub, and Les Caves. If listening to good music is on your mind, head to MBC, La Terrasse, Bistrot des Sports, QuartzBar, and Elevation 1904. They serve finely brewed European beer.
Apart from Chamonix, you can also explore some equally fascination destinations near the valley, including Musée des Cristaux, Musée Alpin, and galleries. Explore the natural marvels such as Mer De Glace – the largest glacier in the country. Visit the Cave of the Mer de Glace and see for yourself how mysterious the frozen tunnels and ice sculptures look.
Observation decks and viewpoints like Le Brévent and Aiguille du Midi are also worth exploring.
Where is Chamonix?
Chamonix falls in the north-western part of the Alps near Mont Blanc in south-eastern France. It is only 15 km from the Swiss border.
How to Reach Chamonix?
By Air – The Geneva International Airport is the nearest one from here. From the airport, it takes little more than an hour to drive to this place, which is 100 km away.
By Train – The Gare de Chamonix Mont-Blanc railway station is the nearest one from this destination.
By Road – An extensive road network runs through the entire valley. You can get around by hiring a bicycle, a bus or a cab.
You have the option to choose from hotels, apartment & chalet rentals, serviced holiday apartments, campsites, motor home areas, and dormitories in and around this ski resort. For mid-range to luxury accommodations, travelers can count on Hotel Mont-Blanc, Le Vert Hotel, Le Morgane, Hotel l’Heliopic.
Le Cap Horn, Le Bistrot, Crèmerie du Glacier, Le Chaudron, Les Vieilles Luges, Munchie, Casa Valério, La Petite Kitchen, and Extreme Café are just a few of the many renowned eateries in the Chamonix Valley.
Best Time to Visit Chamonix
The best time to visit Chamonix Mont-Blanc is summer, especially from May to October. However, the lovers of winter sports make it a point to come here after fall.
Things to Remember
- If you plan to visit this ski resort, take warmers and heavy woolens as it can get really chilly even during summers.
- Entry into Chamonix Mont-Blanc is free but rides, slides, and activities come with a cost.
- The place is open to tourists all year around.
Facts About Chamonix
- Chamonix played hosts to the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924.
- The altitude of the Chamonix Valley varies from 758 to 4,810 meters.
- The valley comprises the highest peak of Western Europe – Mont Blanc (at around 4,810 m) – Les Houches, Servoz, Vallorcine, and Argentière.
Image Credit: Ximonic