Hotel Le Touring
95 Rue Joseph-Vallot, Chamonix, 74400, France
More about Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
The Aiguilles du Chamonix behind eglise St Michel
Mont Blanc water
View of Chamonix from cog wheel train
Chamonix to NIce
I will be visiting Chamonix in late Sept and I would like to travel to Nice by rail or a combination of bus and rail. Can anyone tell me the best route to take? Is it possible to do this in one day?
Re: Chamonix to NIce
Yes, it's possible. Take a bus from Chamonix to Geneva, then take the TGV from Geneva to Nice. There's one direct TGV per day, plus a few others involving a change of train. Take a look at http://www.chamonix.net/english/transport/index.htm for details on bus transport from Chamonix to Geneva.
Another possibility: Take a series of local trains from Chamonix to Lyon, then change there for a TGV to Nice. Take a look at http://www.bahn.de/international/view/en/index.shtml for an idea departure times and connections.
Re: Chamonix to NIce
You can take the train straight there if you want rather than a bus to Geneva. In the end your travel time will be similar. Or if you can get a ride (ie van that leaves when you want, not bus) to the Geneva airport to catch a train that you pre-booked then it might be faster but don't miss the train as there is only 1 direct train per day in September from GVA to Nice. (http://www.sbb.ch)
Just FYI, is over 1 hour by bus to Geneva from Chamonix and buses only run something like 3 times a day in September and go to the GVA airport, and you have to then count time to change, find train, buy ticket (?), lug baggage (oh and make sure the schedules coordinate from bus arrival to train departure etc.) which will add at least another hour.
The TGV Geneva to Nice is between 6 and 6.5 hours, or from Chamonix to Nice in a combination of local trains and TGV it is between 8.5 and 9 hours.
If you take the train the whole way, go from Chamonix to St Gervais and change trains, then another local train (TER) to Bellegarde and then TGV to Lyon and TGV to Nice. http://www.sncf.fr (go to TER section since you start on TER trains or it will tell you there are no trains on TGV or on SNCF.Voyages ... the SNCF site is a terrible mess I have to say!).
Personally I suggest just asking at the SNCF train station in town center for the best route if the website is not working for you.
Travel Tips for Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
Get up into the mountains.
It really is worth going up into the mountains. There is a lot of history attached to the cable car and building of it. But the views are stunning when you get there.
We had to wait for a couple of days for the weather to clear, but that was fine, a nice place to wait around!
Check the Cable Car Company's website here.
Chamonix is 1 hour drive from Geneva Airport. Hire a car for the weekend or take an airport transfer with www.chamexpress.com. They offer a door to door service & online booking of skipasses
We stayed a Hostel Chalet - Gite 10 minutes walk from Chamonix town centre which cost 15 Euros per night. www.chamoniard.com
The chalet was clean & basic, but did the job for a cheap weekend away in the snow. It's also suitable for families as it's possible to get a room for 4 in bunk beds. The toilet & shower is very small & is the Gite's worst feature. There are plenty of other chalet-Gite in Chamonix if this one is full. A nice hotel in the town centre with character & rooms with balconies overlooking the town is
Food & Drink We bought our own breakfast & coffee from supermarket in town. We ate lunch at one of the many cafes & restaurants on the mountain. In the evenings after apre ski, we ate at Pizza pasta at one of the many restaurants. It was all very reasonably priced.
We loved the burgers at Pero Loco, on the main st of rue Paccard.
‘Cham' has a fine range of après-ski options. The Micro Brasserie de Chamonix (350 route du bouchet) is good for beer and live music. It's at its busiest between 5pm & 7pm when everybody converges to see the rock band & down a few jugs of beer. Café de la Terrasse (43 place Balmat) has two floors of music seven days a week until 0200 and a daily happy hour.
Read reviews about food at www.chamonixrestaurants.com
Getting About We used our hire car or the free bus available which operate in the Chamonix Valley between Les Houche, Argentiere & the other ski fields in Chamonix. Hiring a car from the French side of Geneva airport is cheaper but officially does not allow you to use the Swiss Motorway to travel the few km from the airport to France because of the road tax.
Comments Les Houche, a few kilometres from Chamonix is used for the Olympic down hill run & we found this the best place to ski & board. It has several good restaurants & long runs. We hired our skis, boots & snowboards online at chamsports.online.fr/accueil-gb.html. Booking online gains you a 15% discount.
Get snowy feet at the "Grands Montets" (3300m)
We reserved this trip for the last day of our journey. No hiking this time, just a gondola ride to the snow.
While it was 30°C in the valley, it was only 1°C on the top. And with the icy wind, it felt as it was freezing.
But... the view over the glacier and the snowy rocks was awesome! The wind blowed over the clouds and each cloud passing, reserved a surprising view.
After a little walk in the snow (the place is marked out and surrounded by deep ravines), we walked up the stairs to the open outlook. Incredible what this thin ice cold air can do with your body. We needed a few stops on our way to the tower.
After this efforts, we deserved a hot drink in the chalet of the gondola station. Mmmm!
There is a gondola ride every 30 minutes, with a switch at Lognan, the first gondola station at 1960 m.
Depart: a few kilometers east from Chamonix, in Argentière. There is a big (free)parking lot at the gondola station.
Very Good Traditional Food
La Caleche has some of the best fondue, raclette and other traditional dishes, but has a large menu with non-cheese items too (for those who are not fans of cheese). The restaurant prices are higher than some others in town, but the food will not disappoint. It is a popular restaurant and in the main tourist area, but is definitely not one of the downscale 'make a quick buck and sell overpriced so-so food' places at all. They are serious about the food quality and offer a choice of the very traditional such as raclette, or more creative twists on some of the traditional cooking like the scallops in a balsamic sauce.
The interior is very interesting - like walking into someone's antique collection including a full carriage (minus the horse) and other various large items, cockoo clocks, a huge collection of old copper kitchenware and even an old kitchen sink and iron bathtub (yes check this out on the way to the toilettes upstairs). It is a bit less twee in the 'caves' area downstairs, so if you don't like that sort of thing you can request a table below and admire the large wine collection at the same time too.
Often in high season they will have live traditional music one night a week (check the restaurant for postings).
The other bonus is that the restaurant is large (despite its small storefront) and seats over 300 so normally you can find a table here even in busy season after a short wait.
(PS - the english dictionaries I have seen list both fondu and fondue as the proper spelling of this dish -- I seem to use both variants in my pages as I can't make up my mind which I prefer). Coquilles de Saint Jaques (scallops), and for my husband the Agneau (lamb). Lovely sauces, beautifully presented and very good.
Also the menus (fixed price with several dishes to choose from) are a good way to go for those on a budget as menus are priced reasonably - from €18.
Into the glacier
In Montenvers it is possible to get closer to the glacier, going down about 300 metres with a gondola. It is also possible to go into the innards of the Mer de Glace, thanks to a man-excavated grotto in the ice. This cave has to be re-excavated every year, because it’s in the nature of glaciers that they slowly move down.
If you want to go into the ice grotto, when you get out of the gondola you must go down a stairway of 350 steps. Which of course you must climb to get back after visiting the cave.
Inside the cave there are ice sculptures that represent pieces of furniture. There are no problems with walking on the ice, because the ground of the cave is carpeted.
The gondola ticket costs EUR 10, but a combination ticket of train and gondola is EUR 21.
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