The town of Chamonix in Haute-Savoie is a world tourist mecca. At the foot of Mont Blanc, many activities are possible such as visiting the sea of ice.
A magical destination at the foot of the summit of Europe
During a holiday in Haute-Savoie, there are two towns that you must visit: Annecy and Chamonix. At the foot of Mont Blanc, Chamonix offers year-round festivals, famous races and a unique heritage. The hotels and restaurants are renowned for the quality of their services.
Mont Blanc, which rises to 4,810m, is the third most visited natural site in the world. The Mont Blanc tunnel allows you to cross into Italy when you arrive in the Aosta region. The town invites you to stroll around with numerous fashion boutiques and tea rooms. A large part of the city centre is pedestrianised. The architecture of the hotels and palaces is reminiscent of the “Art Deco” and “Belle Époque” periods. In winter, the resort of Chamonix is a paradise for ski enthusiasts.
The best activities
The Aiguille du Midi
This mountain peak culminates at an altitude of 3,842 m. The public access is by cable car which takes you in 10 minutes to the first landing: the plan de L’Aiguille at 2 317 m. You then have to take a second cable car to reach the second station at 3,777 m. The panorama is then magnificent on the Mont-Blanc and the Vallée Blanche. For the more daring, the“Pas dans le vide” (step into the void) offers you the chance to enter a transparent cage above the void and the Bossons glacier located 1,000 m below. A tube allows you to go around the needle for 32m. Warm clothes are essential even in summer.
The Mont Blanc Tramway
This cogwheel train from Saint-Gervais takes you through sublime alpine scenery to the Nid d’Aigle at the foot of the Bionnassay glacier at 2,372m. From here you can go to the Nid d’Aigle refuge for a hot drink.
From here you can watch the brave mountaineers conquering the roof of Europe.
The Mer de Glace
The largest glacier in Europe is 7 km long and 200 m wide. You can either take a 2-hour hike from the Plan de l’Aiguille refuge or take the Montenvers rack railway for a 20-minute journey. On the spot, you can admire the great peaks of the Drus and the Grandes Jorasses. The ice cave is a unique journey into the heart of the sea of ice, which you can reach with the cable car and a few hundred steps to climb. The Glaciorium is an educational space about the formation of glaciers and the impact of global warming.
The waterfalls and lakes of Chamonix
Two waterfalls are particularly spectacular. The Dard waterfall at an altitude of 1,233 m, which is located next to the Mont Blanc tunnel car park. Andthe Bérard waterfall which is accessible in an hour of easy walking and suitable for families.
We propose you a selection of sumptuous lakes. First of all, the best known and most beautiful, the Lac Blanc, which can be reached by the Flégère cable car and a 1.5 hour walk. The Blue Lake has splendid milky blue hues. You have to walk 15 minutes after the Aiguille du Midi cable car to reach the lake.
The Merlet animal park
This animal park is located at an altitude of 1563m and is 20 minutes from Chamonix. Animals typical of the Alps: ibexes, chamois, fallow deer, marmots, mouflons evolve without cage in a semi-liberty surface of 21 hectares. Two trails: “quiet” and “fit” allow you to get closer to the animals. An ideal family outing with the Mont Blanc in the background.
Top rated hotels
Depending on your budget, we have selected five hotels in Chamonix that offer excellent value for money and receive very good reviews from guests:
Heliopic Hotel & Spa
A very nice 4 star hotel with a 500 m² spa, an indoor swimming pool, a large sauna and a tepidarium. You can rent your ski equipment. The Akashon restaurant has been awarded a Bib gourmand by the Michelin guide. The train station is a 10-minute walk away.
From € 104 per night.
La Folie Douce Hotels Chamonix
This large hotel is located next to the Savoy ski lift and a 2-minute walk from the town centre. You can use the heated outdoor swimming pool and the wellness centre with sauna, hammam and yoga room.
From € 83 per night.
Alpina Eclectic Hotel
The Alpina Eclectic Hotel is ideally located 5 minutes walk from the city centre and 950 m from the Aiguille du Midi cable car. Its restaurant is located on the 7th floor and offers a magical panoramic view of Mont Blanc. The bus station in front of the hotel serves the Brevent cable car.
From 124 € per night.
Chalet Hôtel Le Prieuré
Very well placed at 6 minutes walk from the Aiguille du Midi ski lifts, this hotel has south-facing rooms with a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. Ski equipment rental is available to equip you before a trip to the slopes.
From 92 € per night.
Hotel Le Refuge des Aiglons
A beautiful 4-star hotel that we appreciate for its location close to the city centre, for its outdoor swimming pool heated to 28°C and the quality wellness area. Its excellent restaurant “La Table du Refuge” serves contemporary and tasty cuisine.
From € 108 per night.
Visit Chamonix city centre
The town is partly pedestrianised and flat, which makes for some nice walks. Some ideas for visits:
- The Alpine Museum: traces the history ofmountaineering and the settlement of the Chamonix valley.
- The church of Saint-Michel: the building was built by Benedictine monks in 1119. The bell tower is the only vestige. The baroque church is remarkable and worth a visit. It is listed as a historical monument.
- The Musée des Cristaux: presents an exhibition on mountaineering and above all a fabulous collection of crystals found in the mountains of Haute-Savoie.
- La Maison des Artistes: is an opportunity to have a drink while listening to bands and singers. This unique place was founded by André Manoukian.
A fragile natural area
The Chamonix valley is located in an exceptional natural area. Several types of environment are mixed together: forests, mountain pastures, high altitude lakes, waterfalls, wetlands, mountain pastures and eternal snow. The local authorities in the valley quickly became aware of the importance of preserving this unique environment. Nowadays, 90% of the territory has been placed under protection by the authorities. There are three nature reserves: Aiguilles Rouges, Vallon de Bérard and Carlaveyron. Two sites are also classified in Chamonix: the Mont Blanc massif covering 26,000 hectares and the Balcon du Mont Blanc covering 470 hectares. These measures aim to protect the wild fauna and flora of the Alps.
The Tourist Office and the Compagnie des Guides
To advise you and organise excursions:
- Chamonix Tourist Office: 85 place du Triangle de l’Amitié, 74400 Chamonix. Tel: 04 50 53 00 24.
- Compagnie des Guides: Maison de la Montagne, 190 place de l’Église, 74400 Chamonix. Tel: 04 50 53 00 88.
To ski in the area
- Saint Gervais Mont Blanc ski resort
- Les Contamines Montjoie ski resort
- Ski resort of Combloux
- Ski resort of Megève