French Winter Ski Guide: Chamonix

Located in the shadow of Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, Chamonix is one of the world’s premier ski towns. It features exceptional on-piste and off-piste skiing. In the town you’ll find nightlife that is as famous as the skiing! Between the great restaurants, exciting bars, wonderful shopping and excursions, this really is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a winter escape. Read on to discover our French winter ski guide to Chamonix.


French Winter Ski Guide: Chamonix

How to Get to Chamonix

french winter ski guide how to get to chamonix

You can get to Chamonix by flying, driving, or taking a train. Flying is perhaps the most convenient option. Chamonix is just one hour and 15 minutes from the Geneva Airport via private transfer. It’s also possible to drive to Chamonix. One needs to be prepared for driving in the snow and inclement weather conditions, plus parking can be difficult. Lastly, it is possible to take a train to Chamonix. The station is just a five-minute walk from the town square, however the small train line requires changing lines. From Paris it takes on average six to seven hours to get to Chamonix by train.

What to Do in Chamonix

chamonix skiing

The Chamonix Valley features five different ski resorts that can all be accessed by a free ski bus. The slopes are suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders from beginner to advanced. Chamonix also boasts some of the best off-piste skiing (powder or backcountry skiing) in all of the Alps. The ski slopes are world renowned and include the Vallée Blanche’s 9,000-foot descent from the Aiguille du Midi back to Chamonix. Alternatively, you can take the cable to the top of the Aiguille du Midi (12,605 feet) to appreciate the spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.

If you don’t ski, no problem! There’s still plenty to do in Chamonix. Besides enjoying the shopping, arts and culture, restaurants, and bars in town there are numerous adventures to be had. Activities include ice climbing, helicopter tours and paragliding, husky sledging, trail running, fat tire biking, guided photo walks, and snowshoeing.

An Unforgettable Experience: Ski Joering

Discover Ski joering, another ancestral snow sport, in total harmony with nature. Drawn by beautiful natural horses, this original form of back-country skiing is respectful of the environment and also tremendous fun!

This activity is suitable for both adults and children eight-years-old and older, provided they can use a drag lift. A wonderful activity for the whole family!

Where to Eat in Chamonix

french winter ski guide where to eat in chamonix

After a long day on the slopes, it’s always nice to warm up with a comforting meal. Chalet-chic Le Monchu located at the base of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi features Savoyard specialties like fondue, tartiflette, raclette, and different meats cooked over a wood-burning fire. With a mix of bistro dishes and local cuisine there is sure to be something for everyone in your group. Another popular option is Le Panier des 4 Saisons which offers traditional French foods in an elegant but relaxed setting. You’ll find the restaurant on a small pedestrian side street – it’s only open for dinner so we recommend reserving in advance.

Albert 1er is known as the best restaurant in Chamonix. Founded in 1903, the restaurant serves local produce from the Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva regions and grows herbs in their own garden. Both the service and the wine list are spectacular – the wine cellar houses over 19,000 bottles!

Wine Experience From Chamonix: Art de Vivre on the Summit of Val d’Aoste in Italy

Your guide will pick up you up at your hotel in Chamonix for an unforgettable visit of Courmayeur, Italy.

You’ll be in for a day of wine tasting in Europe’s highest producing wine cellar. The passionate and expert wine specialist will explain the differences of wines produced at such a high altitude. Next, enjoy a gourmet Italian lunch served from 7,011 feet above, with incredible views of Val d’Aosta and the surrounding mountain ranges. 

After lunch, we’ll visit the highest Italian point of the Mont Blanc at 11,371 feet. The view overlooking the Mont Blanc glaciers and the mythical Dent du Géant peak will knock you off your feet!

Where to Stay in Chamonix

hotel mont blanc in chamonix
Hotel Mont-Blanc

Ideally located a few steps from the main street, the 5-star Hotel Mont-Blanc has welcomed a cosmopolitan clientele since 1849. Nature and the surroundings inspired the hotel’s recent renovations, which you will surely understand after seeing the rooms which face a beautiful panorama of mountains. After a long day on the slopes enjoy the outdoor pool, heated both in summer and winter, with a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc.

For groups of up to 12, Armancette’s Saphir Chalet is the perfect solution. This brand new and highly exclusive chalet is located just at the entrance of Chamonix with ski slopes only 300 meters away. The chalet features four bedrooms and one dormitory room with a sauna, ski room, and stunning decor throughout. One of the best places is certainly on the terrace in the Storvatt Nordic bath where you’ll fully enjoy a spectacular panorama of the Mont-Blanc Valley and Chamonix.

Armancette's Saphir Chalet
Armancette’s Saphir Chalet

We hope our French winter ski guide to Chamonix will help inspire a trip. With the winter ski season about to kick off, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to start creating your custom itinerary. We offer a whole host of itineraries based in the French Alps. Our favorite Chamonix tours include a Skiing from a Historic Hotel in Mont Blanc’s Shadow, World-Class Skiing and Partying in Chamonix, and A Week of Chamonix Skiing with the Family.

French Winter Ski Guide: Val d’Isère

Val d’Isère is a perfect winter destination for both beginner and advanced skiers. You’ll find over 300 kilometers of ski runs in this winter paradise, which are best explored with a private guide. Besides skiing, Val d’Isère is home to great nightlife, dining, and wonderful hotels. Don’t miss this charming Alpine town with its baroque church along with stone and wood chalets. Read on to discover our French winter ski guide featuring Val d’Isère.


French Winter Ski Guide: Val d’Isère

How to Get to Val d’Isère

val d'isère ski guide

You can get to Val d’Isère by either plane, train, or automobile. Because of unpredictable winter weather, we recommend either flying into a neighboring airport or taking the train and letting us arrange a private transfer for you. There are four international airports near Val d’Isère: Geneva and Lyon, which are a three hour drive, and Chambéry and Grenoble, which are a two hour drive.

You can also take a high speed train (either TGV, Eurostar, or Thalys) to the Bourg-Saint-Maurice station, which is a 45 minute drive to Val d’Isère.

What to Do in Val d’Isère

val d'isere what to do

Val d’Isère is known for skiing. To make the most of your experience, we recommend getting a three-day ski pass and booking a private ski instructor. Skiers of all styles and levels will enjoy the fabulous slopes, including beginners and kids. There are also plenty of other winter activities besides skiing including ice skating, fat tire biking, sledding, hand skiing, ice driving, ice climbing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and paragliding.

After you’ve finished skiing, be sure to partake in a favorite French pastime, the après-ski. Whether you want to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine or have a refreshing glass of Champagne or beer, you’re sure to find plenty of people enjoying themselves. There are famous restaurants on the mountain like La Folie Douce or charming places in the center of the village where you can partake in the fun.

Children can enjoy ice skating, the bowling alley, the movie theater, or the Aquasportif Center.

val d'isere

Val d’Isère Private Ski Guide

Discover the best snow and the best restaurants without having to look at the piste map with an official ski Guide! We can arrange a private ski guide to accompany you daily. Our Ski Guides know the ski areas inside out as well as where the snow conditions are best. They’ll be sure to take you to slopes best matched for your experience. Another bonus is whenever you’re with an official ski guide, you get lift queue priority!

Where to Eat in Val d’Isère

where to eat in val d'isere

You’ll find a wide range of restaurants in Val d’Isère from gastronomic options to casual brasseries, mountainside restaurants and more.

When in the French Alps, we always recommend trying the local Savoyard cuisine. Cheese and potatoes are the stars of many of the dishes including raclette, a melted cheese scraped off from the wheel and typically served with potatoes and meats, tartiflette, a gratin-like dish made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, onions, and lardons, and fondue, a melted mix of Comté, Beaufort, and other local cheeses that you dip bread into using a fondue skewer. In Val d’Isère, two great places to try the local Savoyard cuisine are La Corniche and Le Barillon.

La Table de l’Ours is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the area. This Michelin-starred restaurant offers fine dining in a warm, inviting chalet atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to warm up by the fire after a long day of skiing.

For wonderful views, don’t miss the mountaintop café La Tête de Solaise.

Where to Stay in Val d’Isère

hotel les barmes de l'ours

In Val d’Isère, our favorite hotel is the Hôtel les Barmes de l’Ours. The 5-star hotel is set just at the base of the celebrated Face de Bellevarde run, which was immortalized during the 1992 Olympics. Guests will be able to enjoy meals at several restaurants in the hotel, including the Michelin-starred La Table de l’Ours, La Rôtisserie for meat lovers, and Colin Savoyard which specializes in the regional cuisine.

There are plenty areas within the hotel for the whole family to enjoy including a kids club, bowling alley, game room, swimming pool, spa, cigar cellar, and Sofa Bar which features a lovely fireplace. You’ll find everything you need to hit the slopes at the hotel’s own ProShop. For repeat guests, the hotel can even store your skis between seasons.

christmas in val d'isere

An Enchanted Christmas in Val d’Isère

Being on the mountains is always magical, but especially during Christmastime. Each year, Val d’Isère offers a special week of events and activities all centered around the Magic of Christmas. You might see Père Noël on the slopes or parading through town in his sleigh. It’s a memorable highlight for both young and old!


We hope our French winter ski guide to Val d’Isère will help inspire a trip. With the winter ski season upon us, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to start creating your custom itinerary. We offer a whole host of itineraries based in the French Alps including a Ski Trip in Luxurious Courchevel and the Three Valleys, World-Class Skiing and Partying in Chamonix, and A Week of Chamonix Skiing with the Family

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