Chamonix. Skiing. Those two words are pretty much synonymous, aren't they? Actually there are probably a few dozen towns in Europe for which we could start off with those lines, but most of those are not humbled by the Mont Blanc and - let's turn on our sense of extreme understatement - slightly imposing Aiguille du Midi (3,842m or 12,605ft) looming over them.
Indeed, this little village in France's Haute-Savoie really does equal skiing. Its entire skiing area is huge and comprises of four separate parts: Brevant/Flegere (the only one you can access from Chamonix itself), Le Domaine, Grand Montets and Les Houches. Whenever we review ski resorts we like to throw some stats at our readers to prove our point, so here goes: The longest slope is 21km, the total length of the slopes is 170km, there are 49 lifts of which 13 gondolas, and the longest drop is nearly 3km. The ski resort has a skew towards the advanced skier with nearly 50% being suitable for only advanced or expert level skiers, a remarkably high figure. A good part of those are unprepared off-piste and freeride areas.
Obviously there are plenty of blue, green and red slopes as well, but if you are looking for a somewhat less intimidating place to start, Chamonix may not be it. Besides skiing, the après in town is some of the best and most varied of its kind, offering everything from ski boots on the table craziness to more laid back hangouts.
Not to say that if you come here in the summer months, when all major lifts - such as the one at Brevent, or the cable car up Aiguille du Midi or the Mont Blanc itself - are up and running, you won't have an excellent time. The views then are just as great though a little less blistering white, there is excellent hiking going on and you will have to share the mountain with less people. Not only that, but we actually like this atmospheric town best when it quiets down a little bit. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Chamonix here.
- Chamonix is a city in France's region of Rhone-Alpes. It has a population of 9,514, is situated at an altitude of 3399ft and the best airport to fly into is GVA (Geneve Cointrin, Geneva)
- The main spoken language here is French, and the average English skill is intermediate
- The currency used in France is the Euro (EUR)
Other cities in the region (Rhone-Alpes, France)
Historical average maximum temperature per month (℉):
Historical average rainfall per month (inches):
More Chamonix travel resources
The Chamonix Lonely Planet article is short, so you may want to skip it (why did I just link that?) Meanwhile, Wikitravel does a somewhat better job, but articles like these in the Guardian are probably better reads. A website called Chamonix.net obviously cannot be omitted, while some info on the nightlife is always welcome too. Go here to see the status of the various lifts.
Chamonix Attractions (Foursquare)
Browse: Most Similar Cities (Travelindicator algorithm)
Browse: Nearest Destinations (6mi-45mi)
Other travel destinations in France (by popularity)
Ajaccio, Nice, Paris, Annecy, Albi, Mont Blanc, Mont Saint-Michel, Bordeaux, Cahors, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Alsace, Courchevel, Lyon, Auvergne, Briançon, Marseille, Cannes, Chamonix, Colmar, Loire Valley, Gordes, Joyeuse, Vallon Pont d'Arc, Versailles, La Rochelle, Toulouse, Giverny, Dijon, Guethary, Val Thorens, Avignon, Brest [Browse all]