Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Travel Guide

  • Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
    by simonemurari
  • Mont Blanc, view from the terrace
    Mont Blanc, view from the terrace
    by Martinewezel
  • View of the Mont Blanc massif from Bel Lachat
    View of the Mont Blanc massif from Bel...
    by firechick

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Highlights

  • Pro
    kiwi profile photo

    kiwi says…

     The mountains, the snow, the cable car, the skiing... 

  • Con
    firechick profile photo

    firechick says…

     Unpredictable weather, crowded in town in 'high season' 

  • In a nutshell
    Martinewezel profile photo

    Martinewezel says…

     Simply the best place with the best walks and excursions in the French Alps 

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Things to Do

  • Aiguille Du Midi

    This is the highest peak which can be reached by Areal Tramway. Because of the perpetual snow and the sheer walls, a normal tourist can't reach this point hiking. Take the elevator at the last tramway stop to the view point on top. If it's raining in the valley, you'll be "over the clouds" (litteraly) and in the sun, but in freezing...

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  • Mer de Glace & Montenvers

    It's quite an experience, using the mechanical means to go up and down the mountain, and to walk several meters inside the glacier (with the advantage of being the shortest of the three rides locally offered). Standing for the family photo is mandatory, and, though in a worry not to get frozen kids, we had time enough to appreciate the effects of...

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  • Hiking

    Yes, I know that Chamonix is a winter station, but Fernanda can't support cold, so, we've been there only in summer. Anyway, plenty of snow everywhere, and the colours of the sunny streets made, even Fernanda, appreciate the visit. Yes, it was warm!

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Hotels

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Restaurants

  • Savoyarde (ie Regional / Traditional)

    Before you order this much hyped local dish, note what it is exactly: A bowl of melted cheese, accompanied by dry bread crumbs !! 22 Euro per person. - no meat - no vegetables - no salad - nothing else. We sat 5 minutes waiting for the other fondue items to arrive, before realising this was it !! The sauce is good, but without anything else it...

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  • Budget

    This tip is for those who visit Chamonix in the summer, because the place I am recommending has no space for tables indoors, so during the winter it operates only as a take-away. If you walk in the centre of Chamonix in a fine weather you will notice that there are really many restaurants and cafes with outdoors tables. You will notice also that...

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  • Haute Cuisine / Eclectic

    If you are searching for more traditionally 'French' food (or what Americans normally think of as French food) then the Auberge will suit you. You will find Savoyarde cheese on the menu, but you will also find many other dishes that you can't find at the tourist restaurants in town, which serve mainly Alps style fondus, raclette and other heavy...

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Nightlife

  • Nightclubs / Bars

    The Clubhouse opened in 2005 with much fanfare. They do not seem to get too busy but somehow are getting by year after year. It appeals to city based adults who want to come out to the mountains but stay in touch with their metro roots. They are a private club but anyone can come in and buy drinks when they are not crowded (which is most nights)....

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  • Priviledged British Hotspot

    The Clubhouse opened in 2005 with much fanfare. They do not seem to get too busy but somehow are getting by year after year. It appeals to city based adults who want to come out to the mountains but stay in touch with their metro roots. They are a private club but anyone can come in and buy drinks when they are not crowded (which is most nights)....

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  • Swedish Apres Ski

    Chambre 9 (Chambre Neuf - pronounched 'chambruh nerf' is a friendly apres ski spot popular with seasonaires and locals. The bar is comfy and the people are friendly. It's a good place to hang and talk with buddies after skiing. Special nights will have guest DJs or live musicians playing. The bar is part of the Hotel Gustavia, and is Swedish owned...

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Transportation

  • Getting There

    The easiest (or at least the most fun) way of getting to Chamonix is by train. Regular trains run from St Gervais-les-Bains to Martigny, Switzerland via Chamonix (Note: Many trains terminate on the French-Swiss border at Châtelard-Frontière, but it's an easy walk across the platform for the continuing train). From Paris, you can take a TGV to...

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  • Getting Around in the Chamonix Valley

    See my other tip for getting 'to' Chamonix from the Geneva airport. Once in town be sure to get a 'Carte d'Hôte' from the tourist office or from your hotel or host, which gives you the right to free public transport in the whole valley. There is a small 'Mulet' mini bus that travels around Chamonix town center. This is good if you leave your car...

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  • Touristic Trains/Cable Cars Etc

    The slopes in Chamonix now offer 4 hour passes, which are good starting at any time (ie no more 'half day' passes where you must wait until noon to start using them). The clock counts down from the time you first go through a turnstyle, and from then you have 4 hours of skiing. If you are a beginner or intermediate who is still wobbly on red runs,...

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Shopping

  • Ski Hire/Buy ski essentials

    Before leaving for Chamonix I had a look on the internet at prices for rentals and buying ski clothes and equipment. I found the prices for ski hire varied and could not figure out the reasons as to why some places charge more for the same thing?As I anticipated that I would be on the bunny slopes for most of the time I decided to go with the...

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  • Gourmet Store

    Cheese, sausage, roasted chicken, meats and regional products - this store is worth a look. A chance to try the local produce.

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  • Souvenir Lovers read this!

    A alpine souvenir shop with three levels of all sorts of stuff from dolls, toys, homeware, clothing to cuckoo clocks! A cow bell! Chamonix has a lot of souvenir shops in town and i found this one to be the cheapest.

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Local Customs

  • Local beer Mont Blanc

    I love Chamonix among others local beer - "Brasserie du Mont Blanc". It's made from glaciers water. I've never seen it somewhere else than Chamonix, so I think it's worth to try it when you're there. It isn't cheap (something about 2,5e for 33cl bottle in shop, and 4e in cafe/restaurant/pub ) but you won't regret (I didn't).

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  • The British Invasion

    In 2004 I read an article in the Sunday Telegraph about an “Anglo-French conflict” in Chamonix, due to an alleged “invasion anglaise”.The scenario it depicted was rather ugly, with the locals resenting badly because British buyers had sent house prices skyrocketing, local businesses were bought and run by Brits for Brits, restaurants or tea-rooms...

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  • Tartiflette

    What is tartiflette? This is a question my companion and I asked each other on our very first day in Chamonix. It was mentioned in a leaflet advertising celebration for the 100th anniversary of the local railway. Celebrations apparently included music, dancing and tartiflette. We soon learned more about it, because it seemed to be an essential...

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Warnings and Dangers

  • Fondue Savoyarde - beware........

    Before you order this much hyped local dish, note what it is exactly:A bowl of melted cheese, accompanied by dry bread crumbs !!22 Euro per person at Le Caleche in Chamonix centre.- no meat- no vegetables- no salad- nothing else.We sat 5 minutes waiting for the other fondue items to arrive, before realising this was it !!The sauce is good, but...

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  • Don't remain in dry river beds

    When hiking in the mountains, many falls (often they are dry) will cross your walking path. Sometimes these falls can be quite large and covered with rolling stones. Don't remain too long in these areas. There are several dams higher in the mountains. These have automatic valvels, which can open at any time. The hiker risks to get swept away in a...

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  • Electrocution

    The local train is powered with electricity, but instead of having an overhead electrical line, which is the usual way with trains, it has a third rail to supply the power. The “third rail” is a rigid conductor that runs alongside the track (as you can see in my picture) and is very common in underground trains. The Tube in London and the Metro in...

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Tourist Traps

  • Avoid Pierre & Vacance in Chamonix

    We were a big group and had a couple of apartments in the Orion complex of Pierre & Vacance. The apartments for four people were very, very small, dirty and nasty. In our apartment were some cockroaches and in the apartment of our friends was a smell that they moved to another apartment on the first day. There was mold in some apartments as...

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  • Steep restaurant prices and so-so...

    There are several restaurants in the town center that definitely price-gouge (especially when changing to the Euro) and short-change you on service or food quality (or both) - they are just there to turn a fast Euro from your tourist wallet. I would say the new Atelier Cafe (this location used to be the wonderful and sadly missed Cafe Lune, which...

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  • Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Hotels

    78 Hotels in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

    23 Reviews and Opinions

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc What to Pack

  • A holiday in the Alps

    Thermal socks keep your feet warm when you are constantly treading snow One of the best things that i bought on the trip was a thermal flask and we used it everyday filling it with tea or soup. It kept us warm and stomachs full. A small backpack to put basics supplies for a day of skiing or going up the mountains.

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  • You could also buy everything in...

    A small backpack for daytrips in the mountains or a larger backpack for longer trips. Hiking boots and trekking poles.Foresee also winter clothes in Summer. The weather is unpredictable. You can buy all the gear you need in Chamonix. But your credit card might get overheated!

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  • Gear for changing weather and outdoor...

    day pack and back pack if you plan to hike hiking boots, walking shoes, rain jacket (gore tex), wind proof jacket, gloves, hat, water bottle/bladder, thermal bottle if you are going up high available in town - first aid kit if you are doing any mountaineering or ski-mountaineering available in town lots of stuff is available to rent, but bring...

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Off The Beaten Path

  • Chamonix Valley

    Discover the oldest tramway of the valley! The little rack-train departs from the village of Le Fayet, a few kilometers West of Chamonix, for a journey of over an hour. The panorama is alternating: pine woods, villages with chalets and traditional farms... and then it opes to pastures, before getting rocky. The Nid d'Aigle is the last stop, at...

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  • Outside Chamonix Valley

    If you travel in the Alps in the Fall, keep a look-out for signs advertising "Bataille des Reines" (Battle of the Queens). These are cow fights, where naturally agressive and territorial cows (yes, cows - not bulls) are brought together to see who is the 'queen of the fields'. Late September-October is the time to look for these contests...

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  • Day trip to Champex (Switzerland)

    Champex-Lac is an idyllic spot , just a bit East, over the Franco-Swiss border. Nicely located at a fabulous lake, this little charming and ultra clean town must certainly seduce everyone. There are lots of walks and hikes in the area and the underground fortress(classified "secret", until 1998) is a must see. Make sure you take Swiss francs with...

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Sports & Outdoors

  • Skiing Snowboarding

    For some people Chamonix may be considered a "not good station" for skiing, for some others, it's fabulous. Why those conflicting opinions ? It depends about how you want your ski holidays : - if you want to go directly fro your hotel to the slopes, to have an unique ski pass for the complete resort, not to have to walk or to take the bus, to be...

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  • Hiking

    Hikers who look for easy or medium-difficulty routes can find a good choice of paths, either starting from the valley or from the cable car stations at mid-height on the mountains, such as the Lognan (altitude 1972 mwtres), Flégère (m. 1877), Planpraz (2000) or Plan de l’Aiguille (2317). It is advisable to have a good map of the footpaths, such as...

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  • Rock Climbing & Mountaineering

    Lots of different possibilities: hire a guide for one or more days, or have a basic training first. "Getting acclimatised before starting" is also here a golden rule. All info at the "Maison de la Montagne", just next to the Tourism Office.

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Favorites

  • General Town Information

    Learn some basic French phrases before you go to France - it's only polite to know how to say 'hello', 'please' and 'thank you'! Please ask if someone speaks English before starting to rattle off at them in a foreign language (ie, English!!). Chamonix is in France, and oddly enough most French prefer to speak their own language rather than a...

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  • Mont Blanc Massif / Aiguilles Rouges...

    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!

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  • Aiguille du Midi

    Only for hikers in good shape: As I wrote in my "things to do", the areal tramway to l'Aiguille du Midi isn't cheap (40 euros/person in 2009). The ultimate place to hike to, is "Le Plan de l'Aiguille" (2233m). As Chamonix is 1036m, you can decide for yourself if you are ready for this adventure. Our sons made it in a bit more than 3 hours, but...

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Top 5 Skiiing Destinations: Chamonix

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Members thought it was tough to only choose one spot in Switzerland, but then came France! While the French Alps is dotted with countless great villages, Chamonix is unique in that it is more famous for mountaineering than skiing. Located at the foot of Mont Blanc, this spot attracts athletes and daredevils from all over the world, eager to attempt some experience of the 4,810 meter (15,781 ft.) mountain. From paragliding to mountaineering courses and glacier walks, visitors do not need skis to experience this majestic mountain. For those looking to watch some great athletes, Chamonix hosts the Swatch Freeride World Tour in the end of January, with skiers and snowboarders battling it out to be crowned the world's best freerider. And with adrenaline comes letting off steam, so don't miss some of Chamonix's famous après ski spots, like Monkey Bar and Le Privilege. Also, this is the second-most-starred region in the French Michelin Guide – so prepare to eat well!

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Explore Deeper into Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
Other Activities
Things to Do
River Rafting / Body Surfing
Sports & Outdoors
Paragliding
Sports & Outdoors
Endurance Trail Running
Sports & Outdoors
Mer De Glace & Montenvers
Favorites
Skiing and Boarding Tips and Ski Lessons
Favorites
Nature Reserves and Nature Education
Favorites
Café Gourmand
Restaurants
Mer de Glace
Things to Do
Valley Train
Transportation
Heat
Favorites
Cable car
Transportation
Summer colours
Things to Do
Aiguille du Midi (3842m)
Things to Do
Taking the Haute Route (trans. High Road)
Things to Do
From Geneva airport to Chamonix by Bus
Transportation
Tips for buying your ski or hiking lift pass
Transportation
Transport Options in the Valley
Transportation
The Easy Way - By Cable Car
Things to Do
Ski at Le Savoy
Things to Do
Multi pass
Transportation
Cable car to the Mer de Glace
Transportation
montenvers/mer-de-glace train
Transportation
Water adventure
Sports & Outdoors
Mountaineering and climbing
Sports & Outdoors
Skiiing, the NOT industrial way
Sports & Outdoors
Mont Blanc du Tacul
Sports & Outdoors
Provençal style food in the Alps
Restaurants
Alpine Cow Fighting! (Cows are not harmed)
Off The Beaten Path
Ski Lesson
Things to Do
Looking over French and Italian Alps
Things to Do
L'Aiguille du Midi - Best View of Mont Blanc
Things to Do
Chalet de la Floria (1337 m)
Things to Do
Le Brévent (2225 m)
Things to Do
montenvers et mer de glace
Things to Do
Local Art
Shopping
The Montenvers-Mer De Glace Train
Things to Do
Lift Passes explained
Transportation
Supermarche Casino
Shopping
Warm food and drinks are sought
Nightlife
Map of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

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