Chamonix is widely regarded as the skiing capital of the world, attracting the most advanced and adventurous skiers with its unrivalled off-piste terrain whilst maintaining its reputation as a luxurious alpine getaway.
No other skiing resort can match Chamonix’s skiing, however, for those who prefer to take life at a slower pace, Chamonix offers a range of more leisurely pursuits.
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The Birthplace of Modern Mountaineering & Skiing Capital of the World
Located at the base of Mont Blanc, Chamonix has a long mountaineering history and the charm and character of the area has attracted alpine thrill-seekers for centuries. In 1786, Jacques Balmet and Dr Michel-Gabriel Paccard made the first ascent of the 4,810 meter high Mount Blanc, and their success established the Chamonix Valley as the birthplace of modern mountaineering. Pioneering visitors have been entranced by the breathtaking beauty of Chamonix’s snow-capped mountains and crystallised glaciers since the 1740s, and following the early ascents of Mont Blanc, the attractive town quickly became a must-see destination for wealthy Victorians.
Located in the Haute-Savoie region of France and bordered by Italy and Switzerland, Chamonix is in a prime location for cultural exploration, close to the historic Swiss town of Martigny and only one hour from Geneva.No other skiing resort can match Chamonix’s skiing, however, for those who prefer to take life at a slower pace, Chamonix offers a range of more leisurely pursuits. Chamonix hosted the inaugural Winter Olympic Games in 1924, and has since been renowned as a centre for world-class sporting events including the Kandahar leg of the Ski World Cup, the Marathon du Mont Blanc and the Freeride World Tour.
Chamonix is famous for its extreme off-piste skiing, where vertical descents amidst breathtaking high-alpine scenery present advanced level skiers with unlimited challenges. The Grands Montets area offers the most demanding off-piste terrain, and the fourteen-mile-long Valée Blanc is one of the greatest off-piste ski routes in the mountains for intermediate skiers, with steeper lines such as the Rognon variant or the Envers du Plan possible for experts.
To truly appreciate the beauty of the surrounding scenery and the sheer scale of Mont Blanc without having to ski, Europe’s highest cable car ascends the Aiguille du Midi, climbing to the dizzying height of almost 4,000 metres. Once you have acclimatised to the high altitude, the viewing platforms offer awe-inspiring panoramic views of the peaks of Mont Blanc massif and the Chamonix Valley below. If you prefer your feet to stay firmly on the ground, the charming town of Chamonix is full of museums, art galleries and shops to browse. The Crystal Gallery is a particularly fascinating museum, exhibiting an impressive collection of crystals and minerals, mostly from the mountains of Chamonix, but some from mountainous locations worldwide.
Invigorating Night Time Activities
In Chamonix, excitement is not only reserved for the slopes; a range of energetic bars and nightclubs provide visitors with a selection of invigorating night time activities. Le Privilège is a chic bar which attracts a sophisticated crowd with an extensive choice of champagne and cocktails. The combination of French and African furnishings and a modern glass bar forms a stylish interior in which to enjoy regular live music sets renowned for creating the best atmosphere in town.
Chamonix’s latest nightspot is White Hub; an underground club located beneath the Hotel Alpina with access from the popular Rue de Moulins. With a capacity of five hundred people and a closing time of 07:00, White Hub is a new favourite for an eclectic mix of fun-loving visitors, notorious as the liveliest place to party into the early hours.
Savoyard Cuisine with Alpine Views
Chamonix specialises in providing traditional Savoyard cuisine and the finest contemporary French gastronomy with unforgettable mountain views. Inspired by the Savoie region, the Albert 1er gourmet restaurant specialises in modern cuisine made from the finest local produce. The elegant dining room is a juxtaposition of contemporary architecture and natural materials, and the menu boasts a fabulous selection of cheeses, deserts and wines.
Auberge du Bois Prin is set against the spectacular backdrop of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley, and the south-facing terrace is a particularly romantic place to dine. Nestled high in the mountains, Auberge du Bois Prin is a hidden gem, serving fresh, creative cuisine in a beautiful setting.
Located just outside of Chamonix, La Cabane des Praz offers contemporary French cuisine in relaxed and welcoming surroundings with magnificent views of Mount Blanc. Blending a traditional wooden lodge with modern interior design, the sunny terrace is a picturesque setting in which to enjoy a spot of lunch or a celebratory evening meal.
At Le Bistrot, Chef Mickey Bourdillat provides simple but inventive cooking with a focus on taste and taste alone. The talent, creativity and attention to detail which is presented in each dish ensure that every combination of seasonal ingredients is delicious and surprising.
Luxurious Mountain Living
Top hotels in Chamonix invite discerning individuals to experience the most luxurious Alpine mountain living. Le Hameau Albert 1er caters to all tastes of luxury by offering guests a choice of rooms in the main building of the hotel or in chalets set in the substantial grounds. Whilst the interior decoration of each room differs, every room offers exceptional standards of warmth and comfort. La Ferme is characterised by traditional wooden features with modern touches and Le Chalet Grepon embodies a minimalist and contemporary interior, yet both styles exude a classic alpine ambience. With indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a wellness centre and two excellent restaurants in a secluded setting, Le Hameau Albert 1er is the ultimate mountain hideaway.