The third most visited natural place in the world, Chamonix has the distinction of hosting the worlds first winter Olympics. Chamonix is a commune in the Rhone-Alpes region in south-eastern France. Also known as Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Chamonix is popular among skiers and mountain enthusiasts. Chamonix is renowned as the skiing and climbing capital of the world. Chamonix is not just a sporting commune; it offers spectacular scenic beauty and a cosmopolitan town for visitors.
Mont Blanc, the majestic mountain is the highest mountain in Europe. Chamonix-Mont-Blanc stands majestically at a height of 4,810 meters. Apart from skiing, the spectacular glaciers, soaring Aiguilles, one of Europe's highest cable cars the Aiguille du Midi at 3842m the Mer De Glace and a beautiful alpine town await visitors from across the world. The Chamonix valley stretches between Servoz and the Swiss border and includes the towns of Argentiere, Chamonix, Les Praz, Servoz, Les Houches, and Vallorcine.
Chamonix offers the best slopes and a multitude of slopes for all levels of skiers. Each ski area has its own unique features and skiing here is an experience by itself. Skiing through the trees and long slopes can truly be an experience for new skiers. Chamonix has an enviable snow record, a long season from December to May. Chamonix does not offer summer skiing. Chamonix offers the most magnificent, challenging and invigorating skiing and boarding experience.
Popular ski areas in Chamonix
La Brevent and la Flegere: These slopes can accommodate all kinds of skiers (beginners to experts). These slopes can be easily reached from the center of the town. Both these ski areas are linked through a cable car and offer a picture-perfect panoramic view of the Alps. Skiers can walk to the ski lift at le Brevent, or take a shuttle from the numerous drop points.
The Grand Montets: These slopes have the highest altitude and are spread over three mountainsides namely the Argentière glacier, Lognan and the Pendant. This slope is accessible from the town of Argentiere.
Le Domaine de Balme: These slopes offer access to two distinct mountain sides. From the slopes heading towards Charamillon, skiers can enjoy the entire Chamonix valley and on the slopes heading towards Vallorcine side, skiers can experience the slopes leading to the borders of Switzerland.
Vallée Blanche (White Valley): Can be reached via the Aiguille du Midi cable car, it takes one full day of travel to reach this place. Expert skiers can ski to this place; however they should be accompanied by a local guide.
Les Houches: These slopes offer endless delight for all skiers and snow riders. Les Houches is the best family resort, and also offers the best low-altitude conditions. It is the only ski area with slopes below the tree line.
Le Tour: These slopes are located at the far end of the valley towards Martigny. It is a perfect skiing slope for beginners as it has many skiing slopes.
Low valley ski areas
These ski areas are ideal for beginners. These skiing areas are located close to the city and are easily accessible.
Le Savoy: An ideal start for beginners, it is located in the heart of Chamonix. Artificial snow and ski kindergarten are also available.
La Vormaine: Located at the foot of Charamillon on the Balme ski area, these sunny slopes are good for beginners and for kids.
Les Planards: Located very close to the center of town, this large ski area is perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers. It has a restaurant, sun terrace and free parking.
Les Chosalets: Another skiing area for beginners and children, this place is situated at the entrance to Argentiere.
The crisp alpine air refreshes the tried soul; Chamonix attracts tourists with its awe-inspiring Mont Blanc and tumbling glaciers. Even before skiing became a prominent activity at the Alps, scores of visitors have come to this beautiful town to watch the panoramic views and pristine mountain environment.
The Aiguille du Midi cable car: This cable car takes the visitor from the valley floor to a dizzying height of 3842m on the Aiguille du Midi. En-route the visitor can take breathtaking views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alps.
Helbronner lift: During summer, the Helbronner lift that is suspended high above the glacier, will take the visitor across the Italian side for an Italian hot chocolate or lunch.
Lift to Le Brevent: On the opposite side of the valley, a lift takes the visitor to the top of Le Brevent. From here the visitor can enjoy the panoramic view of Mont Blanc Massif.
Montenvers funicular railway: For visitors not keen on taking heights, the Montenvers funicular railway can take them to the impressive Mer de Glace glacier and its ice caves.
Day trips to Swiss and Italy: Chamonix is situated on the borders of both Switzerland and Italy thus giving every visitor an opportunity to visit both these countries.
A wide range of accommodation is available at Chamonix Mont-Blanc. Hotels, chalets, apartments, gites, bed and breakfasts or campsites are all available. Picturesque chalets are ideal for a relaxed holiday in Chamonix.
Although skiing is the major activity at Chamonix, it has a lot more to offer. Cross country skiing, ice rink, paragliding, sledding, guided snowshoeing, museum, casino and the weekly markets are also equally interesting.
Mountain biking: Chamonix has numerous dedicated bike trails. Catch a lift up the valley sides or a train up the valley and then cycle downhill.
Hiking: From valley floor strolls, from mid mountain balcony walks and multi day high mountain hikes, choose an activity of your convenience.
Mountaineering/climbing: Chamonix offers numerous mountaineering opportunities for tourists.
Paragliding: Strong thermals make Chamonix a spectacular setting for paragliding. The height difference between Chamonix town and its surrounding peaks make Chamonix an ideal place for paragliding.
Golf: Chamonix is a golfer's paradise. An ideal place for golfing, every golfer carries home a unique golfing experience.
Rafting, canyoning: Icy snow melt waters, deep gorges and fast flowing rivers offer a great canyoning experience for adventure lovers. Rafting is equally fun on the rivers of Arve through Chamonix, or Dranse River in Morzine and the Dora Baltea in Italy.
- Clear from the snow, summer in Chamonix is an ideal time for plenty of outdoor activities. Mountain bikers, walkers and climbers flood the place during summer.
- Balcony walks, downhill bike tracks are also equally popular.
- The lifts promise the best view of the mountains and the Montenvers tramway takes you through the pine forests. Mer de Glace is the most visited place during the summer.
- Aiguille du Midi cable car is another interesting trip; as you can catch glimpses of France, Italy and Switzerland from the heights.
Travel to Chamonix
By air: Chamonix Mont-Blanc is located 88km from Geneva-Cointrin International airport; 171 km from Turin-Caselle International airport and 220km from Lyon-St-Exupery International airport. Geneva is the most convenient and accessible airport for tourists traveling to Chamonix. Local transportation is available from and to these airports.
By road: French route Nationale 205, RN 205, nicknamed as Rout Blanche or white route connects the town of Chamonix to European motorway network. Chamonix Mont-Blanc is located 16kms from Switzerland via Col des Montets and is at 15 km from Italy via the Mont-Blanc Tunnel. Regular bus services are available and taxis too can be hired. Travel within Chamonix is free on production of the guest card. This free travel is allowed in the day services of buses and on train travel between Servoz and Vallorcine. Local bus services the entire Chamonix Valley. The guest card is provided by the people who accommodate the traveler.
By rail: Chamonix is serviced by the meter-gauge St Gervais-Vallorcine Line. The line holds the record for the steepest gradient on any normal railway service.
Cable cars: Chamonix has one of the highest cable cars in the world. It links the town to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi at 3842 m. on the other side of the valley the cable car connects Chamonix to the viewpoint of Planpraz. There are few other cable cars covering the other areas too. These cable cars are extensively used by tourists and locals.
Geneva Chamonix travel
Chamonix can be reached from Geneva by road. The distance between the two places is 88 km. located at the southeast of Geneva; Chamonix can be reached in an hour's time via the Autoroute Blanche (A40) motorway. Geneva is the most convenient and accessible airport for tourists traveling to Chamonix. Mini bus transportation is also available. Shuttle services and chauffeur driven services are also available all through the year.