Chamonix, Information & Area Guide

Chamonix or more formally known as Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a famous ski resort which is an idyllic winter wonderland located close to the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy. It is one of the oldest ski resorts in France with unbelievable picturesque views of mountain ranges of natural beauty. Sat at the foot of Mont Blanc which is the highest summit in the Alps at 4810m there are year round cable cars that take visitors to the nearby peaks of Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner on the Italian border. Avid skiers flock here as do gliding and climbing enthusiasts and around 5 million tourists visit each and every year, the area is 245.5 km² of stunning vistas which again proves popular with everyone. Chamonix glaciers have been explored by mountaineers for over 150 years and have been a popular ski resort since the early 1900s.

Located in the Haute-Savoie region in the east of France it’s close to the beautiful city of Geneva which is only a 75-minute transfer away which makes Chamonix a very popular destination for short trips and weekends. Italy is only a 15 minute drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel and you can catch the train to Switzerland, Chamonix is an ideal location if you fancy visiting all three countries in one trip.

Chamonix offers a multitude of slopes for all levels, each ski area having its own merit and with four mountains to choose from you will be spoilt for choice. It has 152km of piste ski runs but as it is part of the Ski Pass Mont Blanc area it has access to 952km of downhill skiing with 490 pistes served by 248 ski lifts. The other Ski Pass Mont Blanc resorts here are Argentière, Combloux, Cordon, Le Tour, Les Contamines, Les Houches, Megève, Passy Plaine Joux and St Gervais Mont-Blanc making skiing and snowboarding a certainty throughout the season due to the pistes being above 2500m.

The ski area at Chamonix offers 12 black pistes over 34km, 25 red pistes over 70km, 27 blue pistes over 46km and 16 green pistes over 5km. There are 152km of downhill pistes with 43km of cross country served by 49 ski lifts. As if this is not enough with the Ski Pass Mont Blanc ski area you then have the choice of 65 black pistes, 183 red, 154 blue and 88 green with 942 downhill pistes served by 248 ski lifts. Chamonix resort is at 1040m altitude with the lowest piste at 1040m, the highest lift at 3840m and the maximum verticle at 2800m.

There is an amazing array of other activites during the summer and winter including, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, mountain biking, climbing, trails, golf, swimming pool, ice rink, white water sport, tennis, paint ball, laser games, sledding, helicopter sightseeing tour, nature reserves to watch the wildlife, waterfalls or take a raft down the river, adventure park, theme parks, ice climbing and fitness bodybuilding. There is also a 10 pin bowling alley, a three screen cinema, a bridge club, slot machines and a casino for your enjoyment.

Throughout the year there are music events including the jazz festival, sporting competitions, races and classic car tours. One of the new attractions is the “step into the void” which is a glass sided box with stunning views of Mont Blanc and a 1000m drop under your feet. The streets are pedestrianised and have a wonderful selection of shops including sports, fashion, jewellery, bags, antiques, books and local produce shops for when you opt to eat at home.

Après ski in Chamonix is lively there is a wonderful mix of international visitors and the vibe is upbeat. There is a great choice of bars, cafes and restaurants, discos and nightclubs and you can party until dawn if you want to. Due to its influx of international visitors the choice of cuisine reflects this on their menus. Apart from traditional French favourites of fondue and raclette, you can opt for Indian, English and American, Scandinavian or Chinese delights as there is plenty of choice of restaurants not only in the valley but an excellent selection on the mountain offering superb views.

Nightlife is whatever you want from laid-back jazz nights, musical festivals or film nights to dancing the night away in a club or to live bands at trendy bars or enjoying the odd ski party or two. Chamonix is a delightful ski resort suitable for families, couples, and groups wanting fun in the snow and great nightlife.

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