Welcome to Chamonix - the No.1 alpine & ski capital!
Without a doubt, the world-class ski resort of Chamonix offers something special. With spectacular views of the Mont Blanc summit (the highest in the Alps and Western Europe at 4,809m,) Chamonix boasts a rich sporting pedigree to match (Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 and is also considered the birthplace of modern mountaineering). One of the top 3 most-visited natural sites in the world, Chamonix in the Haute-Savoie region of France boasts a wide range of year-round outdoor activities to accompany the breath-taking natural beauty. With no less than 5 ski resorts to enjoy too (Grands Montets, Les Houches, Le Tour/Balme, La Flegere and Le Brevent) Chamonix Mont-Blanc is a world-class ski and winter sport destination.
Here is our helpful guide to visiting this famous namesake resort, the local beauty spots and the best-loved resort villages which make up the vast 55km Chamonix valley-
With the Mont Blanc glacier serving as a timeless back drop, Chamonix town provides the perfect scenic ski resort. All ages and levels are welcome here; from beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders to expert off-piste enthusiasts. A truly year-round resort, Chamonix also offers much more besides; from swimming, spa days, paintball, yoga and golf, to horse riding, hiking, dog sledding, cycling and hiking. The vibrant retail shops and buzzing nightlife complement the traditional array of highlights, cultural attractions, adventure centres and nature parks. Well-serviced, accessible to all, Chamonix offers a truly captivating stay.
Argentière/ Les Grands Montets (1250-3300m)
The second largest after Chamonix (9.2km away), Argentière is located at the foot of Les Grands Montets. Home to a ski school, beginner’s slopes and intermediate-advanced level slopes and some of the best off-piste glacier runs in the world, the resort is as popular as ever. Serviced by a welcoming range of bars, restaurants, holiday chalets, a train station and the kid-friendly Panda Club, the resort is ideal for skiers, boarders and families alike.
Situated 16.1km from Chamonix town, this picturesque village is built on an ancient lake and provides a super setting for enjoying a scenic gorge walk.
Les Houches (1010m)
An established destination for those looking to ascend Mont Blanc, Les Houches boasts its own unique charms, as well as its own dedicated lift-system. The low altitude ski area is ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers. The runs offer great visibility too, thanks to the long, wide tree runs. So, if there’s lots of high cloud cover elsewhere, you know where to ski for the day! When weather conditions are favourable, the village also plays host to the annual Le Kandahar World Cup ski race (on the ‘La Verte’ piste).
Les Bossons (1000m)
Famous in the Alpinism world as one of the early base-camps for ascending Mont Blanc, Les Bossons is a firm favourite with climbers. Its serene and picturesque quality complements the charming enclave of chalets here; which enjoy views up to the magnificent Glacier du Bossons and the Taconnaz Glacier.
Les Praz (1050m)
Nestled next to some very pleasant woodland paths and hiking routes; Les Praz is the perfect destination for nature fans, walkers, skiers and golfers. Les Praz is home to the Chamonix Golf Club and the La Flégère cable-car; which leads up to the ski slopes and the Les Aiguilles Rouges nature reserve.
La Flégère (1877m)
Offering beautiful views of the spectacular ‘Mer de Glace’ (Sea of Ice) and the Mont Blanc Massif, this sunny area offers a thrilling assortment of off-piste routes. The La Flégère chair lift takes you to an altitude of 2,595m. Ideal for both beginner and intermediate level skiers, it is within easy driving distance from the ski-friendly amenities of Chamonix town, 3.1km away.
Les Brévents (2525m)
Linked together with La Flégère, Les Brévents can be reached on foot from Chamonix town. It offers a scenic gondala ride up to the sunny mountainside. From the top, a very photogenic setting awaits; with views of the beautiful Mont Blanc summit to take in, just opposite. The ski-runs and off-piste routes here make it suitable for all abilities.
Aiguille du Midi (3800m)
Aiguille du Midi is famed for having one of the highest cable cars in the world. Indeed, the spectacular views from the top of the Mont Blanc summit are as good as they get! The ‘sky train’ leads from the town to the uttermost central peak (3842m). The uppermost glass floor terrace promises an unforgettable ‘step into the void’ experience. Aiguille du Midi is also the starting point for the 20km Vallée Blanche route. Winter sport fans flock here for the intermediate-level ski and board runs, as well as for the advance-level off-piste routes.
Le Tour/ Domaine du Balme and Vallorcine (1450m)
Situated at the top of the sunny valley, Le Tour village happens to be one of the highest snowfall sites in France. To the wooded Swiss border side, Le Tour offers picturesque tree runs and off-piste bowls. The wide west facing slopes are ideal for both beginner and intermediate Skiers. Visitors can also reach the Col de Balme pass (2,186m) from the Le Tour village, as well as the gondala from Vallorcine.
They say that no stay in Chamonix is complete without a day trip to this authentic Italian ski resort! Located 20 minutes’ drive from the Mont Blanc tunnel, Courmayeur is home to gentle, tree-lined slopes and varied off-piste routes. The runs are serviced by a new lift which link to the wide, open bowls of the Helbronner sides of Mont Blanc. A wide selection of restaurants also promises some classic Italian hospitality whilst you’re here!
Megève /St Gervais
Located 40 minutes’ drive from Chamonix, the timeless village of Megève offers lower altitude slopes and a great range of intermediate slopes. These can be accessed from the St Gervais ski area (with the gondala parking situated along the road, between St Gervais and Megève).