I spent a few days on the Le Savoy slopes learning to ski for the very first time. The ski lesson I had with Ecole Du Ski Francais was at Le Savoy using the magic carpet.
Le Savoy is walking distance from the town centre and at the bottom of the Le Brevent lifts. Whilst I learnt to ski my partner was up at Le Brevent Snowboarding so the area was perfect for the both of us to do our own things.
Le Savoy to me felt cramped with ski school toddlers and parents scattered at the bottom (a pain sometimes when you are not 100% confident with skiing). There is a magic carpet that takes you up a small incline and this is where I concurred my first snow plough. There are also two drag lifts taking you further up the hill.
The highest slope on the Le Savoy area was always crowded and as there was a second entrance from the road, people would gather and use the entrance to get down to the town centre. Being a first time skier I did find this a bit unnerving with people coming out of the road part however you learn quickly how to ski with other people on the slope.
If you want an easy hike to beging your stay in Chamonix, I'd advice this one.
A climb of 301m in 45 min, (10 min flat balcony included) under the pine trees.
Just at the moment we thought we could use an ice and ice cold drink... we arrived at the chalet.
Sitting at one of the cosy little tables under the red parasols and surrounded by the most beautiful flowers, we had a stunning view over the snow capped peaks.
Our way back down to Chamonix took us only 20 minustes.
Facing the Mont Blanc, this high peak has attracted many painters since the beginning of the 19th century. The panorama over the Mont Blanc range is indeed wonderful at this place.
It can be reached by taking 2 gondolas. The' first takes you to Planpraz (1999m), where you have to switch and take the other to "Le Brévent".
... or go on foot (stiff hike).
We took the gondola up and hiked back down, which was a terrible ordeal for our calfs.
Make sure you take a sweater with you. It can be chilly on top.
Multi-day hiking adventures on the famous Tour du Mont Blanc trail can start from Chamonix or nearby Les Houches. This trail is over 165km (100 miles) long and holds many breathtaking mountain views as it circumnavigates the Mont Blanc massif, and passes through three countries - France, Italy and Switzerland.
If you do not have time to do the full tour, you can walk (in either direction) to Courmayeur Italy (1/2 way) and take a bus back through the Mt Blanc Tunnel, or take the lift from Entreves to Pt Helbronner, and across to the Aiguille du Midi and back down to Chamonix for a more breathtaking finish to the journey.
You can find out more information about this route on many web sites such as starting with this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tour_du_Mont_Blanc and this one http://www.walkingthetmb.com/
The main season for doing the Tour du Mont Blanc is late June until early September. Before and after this time, the huts will be closing. Always check ahead to find out which huts will be open when you are planning to do the trip. Peak time on the trail is July and August. Snow can be found on the trail in June and September, depending upon weather conditions, and be prepared with enough layers in your backpack for cold wet weather or even snow on the high cols at any time of the year.
The easiest way to get there is by taking the gondola in Les Praz to La Flégère and then a chair lift to l'Index (2385m).
Follow the pink stips on the rocks eastward to le Lac Blanc. Take out 1 hour over small and sometimes very rocky paths and stairs.
The scenery is breathtaking and there is also a lot of wildlife. For instance, we saw a chamois family and marmots.
The lake area at the mountain refuge was a little crowded,
The second lake, hidden behind the first one was a lot wilder and there wasn't a living soul to be seen.
I included photos of this lake in different weather types
On a wet or even a very hot day, there is nothing more exhilarating or fun for a family than ice skating. We went as a family of four to the Richard Bozon "patinoire" It cost about 25 euro including use of skates for the whole afternoon 3 hours. It also gave the locals, who appear to have been born with ice skates on, a lot of amusement, to see 4 Irish bulls crashing around on the ice. A great way to meet French people, they were very friendly and gave us tips for better skating. All in all a fun thing to do!
I just came back from the French Alps a few weeks ago and we rented two citroen 2 CV ! What an amazing ride in the most popular car ever made in France !!! We went to Annecy, Chamonix and Aix-les-Bains by some of the most scenic routes we have ever seen in our lives... The name of the company is Route des Souvenirs and they are just great to deal with. They are based in Chambery.... They give you the inside scoops on where to go, what to see, where to eat in the Alps.... I really recommend renting these cars, its the perfect way to discover the French Alps... Really old school !! Check out the website: www.route-des-souvenirs.com
The town of Chamonix has a nice feel to it: nestled in a valley between two formidable mountain ranges, there are plenty of interesting buildings and shops, not to mention a small but nevertheless roaring river full running right through the center of town. Although most of the shops are real expensive, Chamonix makes a nice spot to relax, have a bite to eat, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
This nice area is a ski run with a chair lift in wintertime. In Summertime it's an attraction park for everyone, with a mega jump trampoline, a nautic jet, sky dive, an adventure track between the trees and much more...
The attractions in the parc operate with coins.
Especially the summer luge is fun! (highly recommended)
But... expensive! 5euros/ ride.
At the other hand, the entrance fee to the park and the parking lot is free.
No matter where you stand, as soon as someone points out Mont Blanc (if you cant see it yourself) you will be awed!
At first it does not seem that high but as soon as you realise how high you are above sea level, you will be shocked!
A MUST SEE!
What a wonderful day trip!!!!! Mont Blanc was worth every bit of the pricey ticket to get to the top. Even if you're not a skier, you will love it here. Get the more expensive ticket and check out the ice cave/glaciar. You won't be disappointed. Besides, how many of you can say you've been inside an ice cave? I can!!!!
History about Chamonix (the groth of the town, the Winter Olympics, ...), the Alpes in general and climbing the Mont Blanc.
If you're not interrested in history it's still a nice thing to do on a rainy day.
Opening hours: 14h-19h (10h-12h during school holidays).
Some must see links about Chamonix :
All have a french and an english version
The official resort's site
The high mountain office
The mountain guides company and lifts site :
The weather :
At the base of the Mont-Blanc. the town village is close to train station, post office, tourist centre, many shops, restaurants and affordable hotels. It's good to relax in this pretty village after a day of hiking.
We didn't get a chance to do it, but we understand that you can catch a ride with a professional paraglider. The views are supposed to be fabulous. We spoke to someone who did this in the Swiss Alps and they felt it was worth every franc!