Chamonix is one of the world’s best-known ski resorts. It is located in south-eastern France, close to the border with both Italy and Switzerland. Overlooking the town is the imposing form of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe.
This small town of around 9,000 people sees its population swell during the winter months, as snowsports enthusiasts arrive seeking a good time both on and off the slopes.
Skiing and other snowsports in Chamonix
There are five large ski areas in the Chamonix Valley, and together they offer opportunities for off-piste skiing, ski touring and snowboarding, in addition to more conventional piste skiing. There is a wide range of ski runs of differing difficulty to suit all tastes and abilities – beginners and families might want to try the Chosalets or Vormaine areas.
There are more than 30 places to hire ski equipment in and around the town, and several ski schools where you can take your first steps onto the slopes in the safe hands of an expert instructor.
Accommodation in Chamonix
The town is home to three five-star hotels, including Hôtel Le Hameau Albert 1er, which houses a world-renowned restaurant.
However, all tastes and budgets are catered for. For example, boutique hotel Le Vert has only two stars, but has excellent reviews on social media and a longstanding reputation as a hip place to stay.
It is also possible to stay in chalets or apartments, where both self-catering and catered packages are available. Both are accommodation options for those spending their holidays in Chamonix! Or for those seeking a truly unusual place to stay, how about an air bubble or an igloo?
Travelling to Chamonix
Most Chamonix tourists fly to either Geneva Airport, 88km away over the Swiss border, or to Lyon, some 220km away. From Lyon, TGV express trains whisk you to St Gervais-le Fayet, just 20km from the resort, from where the journey to Chamonix can be completed on the SNCF Mont Blanc Express. There are daily bus services from Geneva to Chamonix.
Nightlife in Chamonix
Although it is a small town, there are ample opportunities for ‘après-ski’ entertainment when you take holidays in Chamonix. The town is home to highly rated restaurants offering a wide variety of different cuisines. Local cuisine can be sampled at the likes of La Moraine, La Calèche and the double Michelin-starred Albert 1er (at the Hôtel Le Hameau mentioned earlier). Lovers of Italian food are well catered for – Italy is only 15km away after all – at L’Impossible and Casa Valerio. The choice of food on offer extends to Indian restaurants, such as Annapurna, and Chinese cuisine at Chez Yang.
The casino, spa, cinema, bowling alley, shops, art gallery, discos and bars provide plenty of opportunities to wind down after a session on the slopes. Don’t miss the eye-catching underground wine bar Les Caves du Pèle.
As the ski season winds down in April, the town hosts the five-day outdoor dance music festival Chamonix Unlimited, followed by the three-day Musilac Mont-Blanc Festival. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Texas and Beth Ditto are all confirmed to perform at Musilac in 2018.
Chamonix in the summer
When the snow has melted for another year, Chamonix still has much to offer the adventurous tourist. Average maximum temperatures in August are a pleasant 22 degrees Celsius, offering the perfect climate for a massive range of outdoor activities, such as: hill walking and hiking, mountaineering, climbing, trail running, golf, water sports, horse riding and cycling.