Chamonix is a unique resort which has been a leader in Alpine adventure since 1760, when a Genevois scientist offered a prize for the first ascent of its famous local mountain – Mont Blanc, 4,807m, the highest in Europe. The resort hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924 and has re-emerged on the freeride wave as the capital of all-mountain skiing.
It’s a mecca for ski instructors and mountain guides and every dedicated skier and snowboarder has its challenges on their bucket list. But there are also nursery slopes and blue runs for those skiers just getting started. It’s most famous un is the stunningly scenic 20km Vallée Blanche off-piste descent which is doable by confident intermediates as well as experts.
With a resort height of 1,035m and a top lift at 3,842m, the range at Chamonix is exceptional and versatile – long runs below the tree line offer good options in bad weather, and big glacier runs at high altitude are at their best in April.
Chamonix resort itself is a busy town of 9,000 permanent residents at the foot of Mont Blanc, just below the French entrance to the Mont Blanc road tunnel. Chamonix’s setting beneath the cliffs and tumbling glaciers of the Mont Blanc massif is tremendous.
Chamonix’s smaller villages offer the same top-quality slopes but a quieter place to stay. Les Houches, Argentière and half a dozen smaller places along the valley are all covered by the extensive Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass.
The main town is traffic-free and offers pleasant strolling, with cafés and a wealth of interesting shops – galleries, bookshops and speciality food, as well as souvenirs and the latest technical snow-sports clothing and hardware.
Foodies won’t be disappointed with the level of restaurant offerings here. Not only a good choice at all budget levels but a mix of stylishly contemporary and topnotch traditional types too.
For Franco-Japanese-Scandinavian fusion food! Sounds interesting and this food has been delighting diners since 1997.
The Folie Douce Hotel
For great entertainment and a lively vibe the Folie Douce Hotel has recently opened its doors in Chamonix and has instantly drawn crowds for apres and dinner.
Near Chamonix station on the Route du Bouchet (the road out of town towards Switzerland) Albert Premier offers elegant hotel dining and is one of the world’s best ski resort restaurants (two Michelin stars). Dress up, eat up, pay up. The cellar is full of treasure, not all of it exorbitantly priced.