Under the motto “a picture speaks more than a thousand words” I start this article about Chamonix- Mont Blanc (Haute-Savoie, French Alps) with a picture.
I can’t help but falling in love with this place every single time. My first visit to Chamonix-Mont Blanc was on the age of 15, and about 20 visits later it feels like a home away from home.
To my opinion the Mt. Blanc mountain range is the most beautiful and spectacular place in the Alps. I have visited other places like Zermatt, Zell am See, Sankt Moritz and they are amazing as well but the valley of Chamonix is just very unique.
The forces of nature have made a true masterpiece here with majestic peaks – most covered with eternal snow – deep cliffs, waterfalls and glaciers.
I’ve always had a soft spot for glaciers – they are so fascinating to look at but unfortunately slowly but surely disappearing because of climate change.
Up in the mountains
I like a good hike now and then but if you’re not up for it, just take one of the many cable cars to the top of the mountains and enjoy the view!
My favorite cable car rides, hiking trails and more:
1. Plan de L’aiguille + L’aiguille du Midi + Helbronner (from Chamonix)
Upon arrival at L’Aiguille du Midi – situated in the heart of the Mont Blanc Massif – you don’t know where to look first. Watch the mountaineers climbing the surrounding peaks, or take the lift up and ‘step into the void’ – a viewing box with glass panels and a breathtaking void beneath your feet.
For the full experience take the smaller cable cars to Helbronner – on the border with Italy. The view you have from here is indescribably beautiful!
2. Plan de Lognan (from Argentière)
From Plan de Lognan starts my favorite hiking trail in the valley which is the one to Point de Vue at the Argentière glacier. Here you can sometimes see large pieces of ice breaking from the ice seracs!
3. La Flégère + L’Index (from Les Praz)
From L’Index you have a magnificent view over the Mont Blanc Massif – and a total of 4 glaciers. From here starts the hiking trail to Lac Blanc which is my second favorite hiking trail.
4. Train ride to Montenvers – Mer de Glace
Take the iconic (electric) train from the city center of Chamonix to Montenvers where you can’t just admire the glacier Mer de Glace but also visit an ice cave and learn more about glaciology.
5. A helicopter flight (30 mins) above the Mont Blanc mountain range
This is probably one of the coolest things I have done and a must-do if you visit Chamonix.
In winter Chamonix is a very popular spot for skiing & snowboarding and the scenery is magical!
In the Valley
In the Mont Blanc Valley is so much to do and see that you can easily spend a few weeks up here.
Chamonix is a vibrant place – with an international flair and world-famous for alpinism.
In the streets of Chamonix you find some really nice boutiques, souvenir shops as also an array of tasty restaurants & trendy bars.
If you wish to explore the valley, take the Mont Blanc Express (train with panoramic views) to one of the surrounding villages.
Furthermore you can play golf and tennis with a spectacular view or schedule a day of wellness.
If you like real adventure, go rafting on the river L’Arve or take climbing lessons.
One of my favorite things to do in the Chamonix valley is a walk from Argentière to Chamonix through the forest – make a stop at Paradis des Praz for a picnic.
Let’s get practical
How to get in Chamonix?
Chamonix is easy to get to by car – there is a dual roadway into the Mt. Blanc valley – and then it’s only a few kilometer to Chamonix.
If you are visiting from outside Europe, take the plane to Geneva, Switzerland. From Geneva airport you can take a bus or taxi (about 60-75 min) to Chamonix.
Where to stay?
There is plenty of choice from high end hotels to cozy chalets – and everything in between.
Some great places to stay are:
- Heliopic Hotel & Spa
- Le Cristal de Jade – Suites & Appartements
- Chalets of Hip Chalets
- Grand Hotel des Alpes
- Les Rives d’Argentière
- Hotel Le Hameau Albert 1er
Where to eat & drink?
If you like fine dining, I suggest you go to:
- Le Rosebud in Jeu de Paume Hotel – inventive, gourmet cuisine
- Akashon in Heliopic Hotel & Spa– gourmet experience with traditional dishes
- Le Matafan in Mont Blanc Hotel – French cuisine with some Italian influences
- Albert 1er in Le Hameau Albert 1er Hotel – 1 Star Michelin restaurant
Other lovely dining places:
- Le Caphorn – French cuisine with international influences
- Munchie – Asian fusion restaurant
- Casa Valerio – Italian delicasies
- Le Sérac – local Savoyard cuisine
Go-to-places for veggie/vegan food & drinks:
- Sesame Restaurant & Café
- Arctic Juice & Café
For a good drink go to:
Moo Bar & Restaurant, L’M Brasserie & Terrace or Micro Brasserie de Chamonix
Go to Aux Petits Gourmands or Chalet 4810 for a pastry & a hot drink in their Salon de thé. In need for some more sweets? Buy some chocolates or macarons to enjoy in your hotel or chalet.
Where to shop?
- Shop beautiful clothing at Polo Ralph Lauren, Peak Performance and Lacoste
- For some sparkling jewelry and decorations, go to Swarovski
- If in need for a new ski outfit, visit the Moncler store
- I love the mountain photography and – prints of Mario Colonel Gallery
- Every time I’m in Chamonix I visit concept store Rêves d’hiver – they offer clothing, jewelry, home décor and other beautiful items
- Buy a beautiful souvenir at the L’Aiguille du Midi cable car stations
You can never go wrong with a holiday in Chamonix-Mont Blanc so why not start planning now?