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
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
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
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!
Photography Experience in Chamonix: Private Guided Photo Walk
Your private guide is an experienced photographer based in the Chamonix region. Together you’ll embark on a photo walk designed to develop your photographic eye while also discovering the character of the valley’s hamlets in their unique settings. The theme of the walk can be set baed on your personal wishes. Themes include architecture, gastronomy, and nature.
You can also have a photoshoot with your professional photographer and guide to mark your time in Chamonix.
Where to Stay in Chamonix
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.
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, A 5-star Ski Vacation to Chamonix and the Mont-Blanc Valley, and A Family Summer Vacation in Chamonix.