Holidays in Chamonix
“Seldom when people arrive are they not impressed by the majesty of the mountains that are right in your face. Mont Blanc the highest Peak in Europe, and the Glaciers tumbling down the mountainsides and snow and ice contrasted against the green valley floor” Gavin Foster, co-owner
Chamonix is typically renowned for being one of the main Winter resorts as its proximity to Geneva airport, along with the range of skiing that it offers for different abilities makes it ideal for a short break.
We want it to be as renowned for being a Summer destination too, as the spectacular Mont Blanc massif dominating the scene is awesome anytime of the year. The elegant old town has a stylish, bustling atmosphere and a blend of charm genuinely varied activities and modern facilities which few other Alpine resorts can match.
Chamonix’s centre is full of atmosphere, with cobbled streets and squares, beautiful old buildings and a fast-running river, which is a magical milky colour.
The town squares and pavement cafes make wonderful vantage points for spectacular views of the mountains and glaciers all year round, being busy all day and into the early evening with sightseers and après-skiers.
The atmosphere is very French, very friendly and very Alpine. As well as the extensive choice of shops and cafés, bars and restaurants, the excellent sports facilities include a heated swimming pool, indoor and outdoor ice rinks, squash and tennis courts, a gym and a sauna.
For those energetic individuals seeking après-ski activities, there are plenty of nightclubs, bars and a casino.
Chamonix’s skiing area also includes the nearby village of Argentière at the foot of Les Grands Montets. This developing resort has a delightful old centre distinguished by traditional wooden chalets and winding streets. The village also offers plenty of lively bars and restaurants (including the infamous Office Bar) which will keep even the most inexhaustible of revellers partying into the small hours.
When is the best time to visit Chamonix?
The Alps are open for business all year round, Winter Sports and activities are during the Winter months of November through to the end of April, whilst May through to September encourages you to come outside and play, with a plethora of activities to keep you entertained.
The more Southerly latitudes mean Spring comes earlier and Autumn later to the Haute Savoire. Daily temperatures during July and August can feel like the Mediterranean, but the cool night temperatures make for easy sleeping and resting.
A little History of Chamonix
Chamonix claims, with some justification, to be the home of Alpinism. In 1741 two English men, Windham and Pococke visited the valley of ‘Chamouny‘, where they found a rural population of Alpine farmers making a subsistence living from their animals and meagre harvest of oats and rye.
Windham and Pococke explored the valley and visits the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice). The stories of their exploits, published in literary journals throughout Europe, started a craze to find out more about Chamonix, Alpinism was born. The first guest house opened in 1770 and by 1783, many celebrities of the time had visited the valley and raised its profile, Around 1500 visitors ventured t Chamonix each summer.
In 1786 two local men Paccard and Balmat, made the first ever ascent of Mt-Blanc. Since then more than 30,000 people have made an attempt to climb this breathtaking mountain. On average 200 people make the summit over the Summer season, so it can get a little crowded. Sadly many people have also lost their lives, so please ensure you are taking the climb seriously and are properly kitted out for the climb, we can advise you on all these elements.
The first luxury hotel was built in 1816 and since then every type of property has sprung up offering its guests the chance to stay in this beautiful area, of course, we are a little bias, but we think a Chalet is a great way to spend your time with friends and family, making your holiday not only very activity based but very social too.
In July 1901 the railway line that passes through the Chamonix valley was inaugurated and opened the town to Winter visitors. Between 1908 and 1910 Chamonix took on its rhythm of being both a Winter and Summer destination.