Bonjour! Hello from Chamonix, a mind-blowing destination in the heart of the French Alps, where Mont Blanc with other impressive giant mountains dominates the area. This small touristy alpine village is full of amazing outdoor adventures and attractions along with cozy restaurants serving delicious alpine food, and plenty of stylish hotels. But what’s even more important: it’s full of unforgettable views at every step.
Both of us fell in love with this place and wished we had stayed longer. But at least we have a good reason to come back soon. If you’re looking for an amazing alpine escape, Chamonix might be exactly the place you need for your next adventure. Stay with us and discover the best things to do near Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France.
Chamonix is located in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France. Town sits in a valley, at the foot of Western Europe’s highest mountain – Mont Blanc, at an altitude of 1035m a.s.l.
Chamonix is a world-renowned ski resort since the Winter Olympics in 1924 which were held there. The area offers several different ski areas suited to all levels, from beginners to extreme skiers. In addition to skiing, the town is also well known for many great hiking routes and cable car to Aiguille du Midi peak from which you can admire Mont Blanc from a very close range.
We can’t give you a different answer than YES. Thousand times yes. Believe us, you don’t want to miss this gem of the Haute-Savoie. Chamonix is totally worth a visit, no matter if it’ll be only a one-day trip, a weekend getaway, or a week or two during vacation time. Mighty mountains covered in snow, glaciers, breathtaking views on each step, countless summer and winter outdoor activities, and a possibility to stand right in front of Mont Blanc. Add Chamonix to your France bucket list, you won’t regret it.
It’s always a good time to visit Chamonix, although the best time highly depends on your personal preferences. Do you prefer skiing or hiking? Cold or warm? Snow or green grass? Generally, there are two main tourist seasons in Chamonix: winter and summer. Winter is for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. Summer is perfect for outdoor sports like hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. During spring and autumn the town slows down a little, and there are fewer crowds. So if you are looking for a more quiet and relaxing time – choose that part of the year. But remember to check the weather, and conditions on the trails before you head out.
Chamonix is a small town. It’s possible to see some of the main attractions in one day (as we did). But we would definitely recommend staying longer, at least 3 days, even closer to one week. We think this time, with good weather, would be great to slowly explore the village, top attractions, go on some hikes and even find some time to relax. Can you afford to stay even longer? That’s great! Use that opportunity, we can bet that you won’t regret it.
Uff, we answered all the most important questions so now it’s time to finally discover Chamonix France and all the best things to do near Mont Blanc. Let’s go and take a closer look.
- Chamonix, France – Best Things To Do Near Mont Blanc
- Mont Blanc
- How to get to Chamonix, France?
- Best things to do in Chamonix, France – Summary
- Restaurants, accommodations, and map
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Chamonix, France – Best Things To Do Near Mont Blanc
Chamonix Old Town Center
We’ll start exploring the area from the bottom, the Chamonix Old Town Centre, which is located in a valley, at the foot of Mont Blanc, between the peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges and Aiguille du Midi mountains. Town boasts a typical alpine charm, at times intertwined with modern buildings. Your main points of interest in Chamonix Old Town should be:
- Rue du Docteur Paccard & Place Balmat – Chamonix’s main street and square, full of outdoor sports shops, fashion boutiques, stylish traditional restaurants, and many quaint buildings
- Place de l’Eglise – featuring Paroisse Saint Bernard du Mont-Blanc, a lovely Baroque church, and a Chamonix Tourist Office
Just slowly stroll through Chamonix, and at every step enjoy this charming town and mind-blowing mountain views.
Aiguille du Midi Chamonix Cable Car
Aiguille du Midi is a 3842m tall mountain in the French Alps that can easily be accessed by cable car. In just 20 minutes, the Aiguille du Midi cable car will take you from the Chamonix center to the high mountains, to the closest point you can get near the summit of Mont Blanc without hiking. This number one Chamonix attraction gives you an incredible possibility to take a close look at Mont Blanc, by standing literally right in front of it. So if you have the chance to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, don’t hesitate, it’s totally worth every penny.
The ride from Chamonix to the Aiguille du Midi consists of two parts. The first part of the ride starts in Chamonix center and just in a few minutes reaches the Plan de l’Aiguille, at 2310m a.s.l, Then, after a short break, the ride continues right up to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi (3842m).
Aiguille du Midi
From the terraces located at the top of the Aiguille du Midi, you can enjoy a breathtaking direct view of Mont Blanc, as well as views of the surroundings: French, Swiss and Italian Alps. On the upper station, you’ll also find some educational areas, a restaurant, a gift shop, and toilets. If you are brave, you can also make a Step Into a Void and look down into a 1000m void. If you are a skier you might also want to know that the Aiguille Midi summit is a starting point for the mythical Vallée Blanche.
Return to Chamonix
You can return to Chamonix the same way – by cable car. On the way down (or up) we advise you to take a longer stop at Plan de l’Aiguille. There you can sit on a stone or grass, have a picnic, and simply enjoy the views. You can also take a quick hike to Lac Bleu, the blue lake. It’s only 1km from the Plan l’Aiguille cable car station. If you’re up to it you can also walk down to Chamonix from the middle cable car station, just follow the signs.
Interesting fact. Aiguille du Midi cable car is the highest mountain peak with an aerial lift system. It also holds the world record for the highest vertical ascent: 2807m (from 1035m to 3842m).
Aiguille du Midi practical information:
- Bring warm clothes, sunglasses and sun cream
- Be aware of the possibility of altitude sickness
- The visit is forbidden for children under 3 years old and not recommended for children under 5 years old
- Dogs are not allowed
- Drones are not allowed
- The visit lasts on average about 3 hours
Aiguille du Midi Chamonix tickets
You need to pay to get to Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix by cable car. Round trip costs €73 for adults, and €62.1 for children and seniors (November 2022). One way trip costs €54 for adults, and €45.9 for children and seniors. You can easily buy your ticket online at the montblancnaturalresort.com website.
The Aiguille du Midi is open most of the year. It’s only closed due to bad weather conditions and for annual maintenance, which happens in Autumn. Times and frequency of departures vary on the time of year. Check the current opening hours at the montblancnaturalresort.com website.
Mont Blanc Multipass
If you want to see more than only Aiguille du Midi you can take advantage of Mont Blanc Multipass and save a lot of money. Remember that you need to purchase Mont Blanc Multipass at least 3 days in advance. You can choose One Day Pass for €68.40 (adults) and/or €58,10 (children&seniors) to get access to two sites: Aiguille du Midi + 1 other area or domain (September 2022).
If you plan to stay longer choose Long Stay Multipass. You can choose from 2-9 days or even the whole season. With it, you’ll be able to discover all available areas and excursion sites. To learn more about prices visit the montblancnaturalresort.com website.
Glacier Mer de Glace
Mer de Glace, right after the Aiguille du Midi, is the second most popular attraction in Chamonix. The glacier was discovered in the 19th century. Its name can be translated to “Sea of ice”, which is a very accurate name as the glacier is 7 km long, and 200m deep. Mer de Glace is the largest and longest glacier in France, and one of the largest in Europe.
The easiest way to get there is by taking the Montenvers railway, an old-fashioned red train on steroids. To be able to climb bigger than usual slopes it has a special mechanism built in and it requires a third, toothed rail. Train departs from Chamonix and in 20 minutes reaches Mer de Glace. On site, you can also visit the Ice Cave and Glaciarium exhibition for free. The whole visit, trip + exhibitions last about 2-3 hours.
You can buy train tickets separately or use Mont Blanc Multipass. Single tickets cost €35.5 for an adult and €30.2 for children and seniors (November 2022). To learn more visit the montblancnaturalresort.com website.
Winter activities in Chamonix
Chamonix is an amazing winter destination. Chamonix ski area is famous for its challenging ski slopes, especially for the legendary 20km Valle Blanche, and the spectacular views provided during the ride. But don’t worry, it’s not only a place for experienced skiers. In Chamonix ski area, which is spread across five mountains (Grands Montets, L’Aiguille du Midi, Le Brévent, La Flégère, Le Tour) everyone will find a suitable slope for himself. Along 120km of runs, 15% are beginners runs, 36% are intermediate runs, 35% are advanced runs, and 13% are expert runs. The longest run, Vallee Blanche, is 18km long, and starts at 3777m and ends at 1050m, so it has a vertical descent of 2700m.
Other winter activities in Chamonix include snowboarding, paragliding, winter mountaineering, ice climbing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding.
Let’s not forget about the elephant in Chamonix’s room and learn something more about it.
Mont Blanc, the White Mountain, with an altitude of 4810m a.s.l. is the highest peak in Western Europe. Mountain, which is always covered in snow, was first climbed in 1786 by local mountaineers, Michel Paccard and Jacques Balmat. Climbing Mont Blanc is a challenging experience, but nevertheless, the mountain attracts many climbers from all over the world ready to stand on its top.
If you’re up for a challenge please prepare yourself and find all the important information on websites specializing in this topic.
Tour du Mont Blanc
What would you say about a long walk around Mont Blanc? Tour du Mont Blanc, also known as TMB, is one of the most popular long-distance walks in Europe. The entire trekking path has 170km with 10km of ascent/descent, and typically it takes 7-14 days (walking time is about 55h), depending on fitness level and personal preferences. During those days you’ll be circling the Mont Blanc massif at its lower parts, using the paths that link the seven main valleys surrounding the mountain. The highest point on the TMB is 2532m. Traditionally Tour du Mont Blanc starts in Chamonix and transverses three countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland.
How to get to Chamonix, France?
Where to park in Chamonix?
There are a few parking lots available in Chamonix, mostly paid ones, but it’s possible to leave your car for free, especially if you arrive really early in the morning. We left our car in this parking lot, just about a 10min walk to the entrance to Aiguille du Midi cable car.
Airports near Chamonix, France
The closest airports to Chamonix are in Geneva, Switzerland (100km away), Turin, Italy (170km away), and Lyon (220km away). All airports offer bus and train connections with Chamonix. Check the connections you are interested in on rome2rio.com website.
To Chamonix by train
France is well connected by trains. For example, the journey from Paris to Chamonix lasts about 6.5h and costs €94-131. From Geneva, Switzerland it’s 3h for €12-29; from Annecy it’s 3h for €16-43. To learn more about train connections that interest you visit rome2rio.com website.
To Chamonix by bus
You can also get to Chamonix by bus. For example, the journey from Annecy will take about 1.5h and will cost €8-12. From Geneva, the journey takes about 1h for €7-10, and 10h from Paris for only €19-40. To learn more about bus connections that interest you visit rome2rio.com website.
Camping in Chamonix, France
If you’re traveling by camper you’ll probably be glad to know that there are a few camping sites near Chamonix. Here are some of them (all cost a bit):
Best things to do in Chamonix, France – Summary
All right, so now you know what are the best things to do in Chamonix. Whether it would be for one day only, a couple of days or longer, now you know what you should definitely see near mighty Mont Blanc.
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Chamonix?
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