Wisely chosen as the resort to host the very first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix is the spiritual home to many hardcore skiers and mountaineers. Aside from the must do descent of the Vallee Blanche, there are limitless opportunities to explore the finest off-piste that Europe has to offer. We strongly recommend the services of a local guide to maximize any visit involving off piste skiing or ski touring. Less experienced skiers are also well catered for at Le Brevent, La Flegere, Le Tour and Grand Montets. Our selection of luxury Chamonix ski chalets and hotels will provide the perfect accommodation options for your next ski trip.
For many, the spell bounding views of the Aguille du Midi, Mont Blanc and Glacier des Bossons are enough to justify the trip to this popular resort. The lively historic town has plenty to offer the non-skier; Chamonix has an up-market cosmopolitan ambience on the surface led by the Barrière Casino surrounded by smart boutiques and fine dining. In reality, the sprawling town has a far more relaxed vibe with regular live music played in buzzing bars and laid back eateries. Family friendly Les Houches is the perfect place to introduce children to the high mountains.
Chamonix has one of the shortest transfer times of any of the ‘big name’ ski resorts in the French Alps (just one hour from Geneva), making it a smart choice for keen weekend skiers short on time.
Whilst undeniably an amazing ski area, the resort is quite disjointed with five non-connected ski areas. There’s plenty of amazing ski terrain to explore, but be prepared for the daily ‘commute’ to one of the five principle separate areas of Le Brévent and La Flégère (linked by lift), Grands Montets, L’Aiguille du Midi (ungroomed terrain only) and Le Tour. Our selection of luxury ski chalets and hotels are ideally placed for easy access to the resort.
Chamonix is not an ideal resort for absolute beginners, but intermediates should not be put off by the ‘extreme’ reputation that is often overused. There are really great pisted areas that never seem to get too busy, probably because of the aforementioned ‘extreme’ reputation!
Corporate groups may wish to hold meetings at the impressive Majestic conference centre.
Take a camera wherever you go, the awesome scenery is so varied and changeable.
Of all of the top tier resorts that we recommend, this is the one where employing a local guide is strongly advised. You will see so much more of this amazing and unique area with the confidence inspiring local knowledge and expertise of a high mountain guide.
Don’t sleep in on powder days – the really early bird catches the fresh tracks in this town.
Consider renting a car or employing a driver for the week – the buses can be quite busy. Most of our recommended hotels and chalets provide a driver service.
Follow the ‘Petit Canard’ for the weekly diary of après ski hot spots.
Head to Le Praz or Vallocine for some of the best off the beaten track restaurants.
One of the genuinely ‘something for everyone’ ski resorts, Chamonix has the lot. To mention just a few spots;
Lunches on the mountain in Chamonix are not famed for their gastro appeal – that’s best experienced in Megeve and Courchevel. Most are self service, but the notable exceptions include Le Plan Joran (Grand Montets), La Bergerie (Le Brevent) and Le Col de Balme (Le Tour).
For après drinks, sophisticats will love the Quartz Bar for it’s contemporary décor to enjoy the expansive cocktail menu, The Jekyll and Hyde Bar for the lively music nights and seafood chowder, Chamonix’s very own Micro Brewery (MBC) to enjoy the resort’s own pale ale, and finally Cha Cha Cha’s for some private wine tasting. ‘Team bling’ hangs out at The Clubhouse.
Evening dining is well covered for all things Savoyard, Le Chaudron and Le National are the best, but the cheese can be avoided with Thai and Japanese restaurants located centrally (Satsuki and Munchie). For fine dining, try Maison Carrier at the Albert Premiere or L’Atmosphere for fresh fish. A short trip to Le Praz or Vallorcine are well worth the effort; La Ferme des Trois Ours and Sarpé and both excellent.
Late night’s are best enjoyed at La Cantina for dance lovers or Le Garage for the Chamonix club experience.
Geneva: 1 hour
Chambery: 1 hour 45 minutes