Chamonix Valley is one of the most famous ski areas in France. Located about an hour drive from Geneva, it is easily accessible whether by train, plane or car. The Valley comprises five different places: Les Houches, Chamonix, Argentière, Servoz and Vallorcine. They are all easily accessible and interconnected with regular trains and buses.
The history of Chamonix Valley goes back to 1741 when two English aristocrats discovered what was then called “the Valley of Chamouny”. They were amazed by the scenery and soon enough, the recital of their journey spread across Europe. Everyone wants to see the wonders of Chamonix Valley such as the mysterious Mer de glace.
In 1786, two local men were the first to climb the legendary Mont Blanc. The main developments were made between the 19th century and the mid-20th century.
Step by step, the valley became more attractive with the construction of guest houses, inns, luxury hotels and other infrastructure.
In 1924, Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympic Games; the 20th century marks the beginning of the democratisation of ski and other winter sports in the area.
Nowadays, not only is Chamonix known for its amazing winter season but it is also very much appreciated during the summer as the mountains offer a large set of activities and sights to see.
WINTER IN THE VALLEY
Enjoy a fantastic ski area!
Skiing in the Chamonix Valley is a blessing whether you are a beginner or a confident skier or snowboarder. Every resort will offer a set of slopes to suit any profile. Taking lifts towards the top of the mountains you will slowly see the pine trees disappear. Also not to be missed for the most adventurous and qualified skiers is La Vallée Blanche for an amazing off-piste session (a guide is highly advised/recommended even if you are a confident skier).
Chamonix is the main town in the Valley. The town offers a large number of facilities, shops, restaurant and bars and the centre is bustling during the season. You can also enjoy a safe stroll in the pedestrian streets located in the town centre. There are lots of activities that can suit any profile whether you are a confirmed sportive, a nature lover or more interested in the arts. One sure thing is you will never get bored in Chamonix.
Our tips for eating and drinking:
Le Fer à Cheval for its great French food and extensive wine list. The Monkey Bar is great for its apres-ski ambiance with live music, happy hours, ping pong and great food.
Les Houches is another town located in the Chamonix Valley. It’s about a 15 minutes’ drive from Chamonix and half an hour if you take the public transport. Les Houches is more of a family resort where you will find the real spirit of mountain Holidays. Walking down the streets, you will come across old bread oven, chapels and other symbols of its history.
Our tips for eating and drinking:
La Taniere s a hidden gem ski-in ski-out restaurant with stunning mountain views and a welcoming atmosphere. Enjoy rum and karoake apres-ski at the Pull Up Bar.
DON’T REALLY FANCY SKIING?
If you are not that much of a skier or snowboarder, don’t worry. There are plenty of other activities to do in the Valley. There are about 50km of cross-country skiing slopes, snowshoe itineraries, hiking, icefall climbing, ice skating, swimming pool, sledging, and of course visits of the museums and cultural sights.
EVENTS IN CHAMONIX VALLEY
There are many various events throughout the year such as concerts, sports competitions and festivals. Some of them are quite famous like the Chamonix unlimited festival or the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. Events are also organised on certain occasions like the Carnival, the New Year or La fête de la Musique.
- In the Chamonix Valley you will find the highest peak in Western Europe, Le Mont-Blanc at 4 808m high!
- Just a 15 minutes’drive from Chamonix you will find yourself at the Mont-Blanc Tunnel which will lead you directly through the border between France and Italy.
- Famous attractions to do in Chamonix: Take the Aiguille du Midi cable car and get to the top at 3 842m and enjoy a breath-taking view of the Valley. For the most courageous the Step into the Void is a cabin made out of transparent glass and suspended in the void. Take the Montenvers train to go find visit the Ice Cave and see the amazing Mer de Glace.
SUMMER IN THE VALLEY
When the snow is gone and the winter has ended you might think that the fun is over. Well, it is not! There are lots of summer activities to enjoy in the Valley. From rock climbing and long hikes in the mountains to relaxed afternoons by the lake or the swimming pool, everything is there for you to enjoy a perfect summer in the middle of the French Alps. And if you miss the snow just look up or take a ride on the Aiguille du midi cable car which will take you up to 3 842m where you will be able to see wide areas of immaculate snow.
Getting to Chamonix Valley is pretty easy whether you are going there by car, plane or train. Therefore it is a great location for a short weekend trip or a longer stay.
- If your flight lands in Lyon or Chambery there are trains and buses that can take you to Chamonix the travel time may change depending on your day and hour of arrival. We wouldn’t recommend taking the train as it can be unreliable.
- Calais to Chamonix is an 8h drive by car if you take the motorway.
- From Geneva airport there are many buses. It will usually take you about 1h -1h30 to get to Chamonix. This is probably the best way to get there.