At the foot of Mont Blanc there’s Chamonix Valley - a place that will delight everyone. It’s a small mountain town in the Haute-Savoie department (Rhone-Alpes region) about which very little people knew till the nineteenth century. It was just in 1786, when two daredevils for the first time climbed the "mont audit" ("damned place"). When the highest peak of Europe was conquered, the bad fame was over and mountaineering enthusiasts, artists and scientists started to arrive in Chamonix. Today, the resort is one of the most famous ski resorts in France.
Apart from impressive Mount Blanc, there are 400 other peaks, more than 70 glaciers and seven valleys, among which Chamonix is situated. The resort was a host to the first ever Winter Olympics Games, but also the first association of mountain guides was founded here. Snow, conquering mountain peaks and the winter element - Chamonix associates with it irresistibly. Here is also the world's longest cable car, riding from the center to the top of the Aiguille du Midi. It was built in 1920. Along with the cable car at Pointe Helbronner, which is a peak in the Aosta Valley in Italy, it allows you cross the entire Mont Blanc massif by a cable.</>
The rich offer of the Chamonix-Mont Blanc Valley consists of four constituent municipalities: Chamonix, Valloraine, Les Houches and Servoz. Tourists are appealed by the attractions of six major centers – apart from Chamonix, there’s Le Brevent, Les Houches, La Flégère, Le Tou and Grands Montets. Hiking enthusiasts will find a number of mountain trails (their total length is up to 310 km). Well-organized infrastructure plays a very encouraging role.
What mostly interest skiers, are of course the pistes. There are 69 of them (8 green, 28 blue, 20 red and 10 black), of the total length of 108 km. Station Grand Montents lures with unmarked trails, a snow park and long ski pistes. Here, you can ski until the 10th of May. In turn, we have a good weather guaranteed at the station La Flérège – by the way, its colloquial name is "sunny station." Le Tour / Blame station is suitable for skiers of all skill levels, and if you love challenges Les Houches is something that will pump up your adrenaline level – here is the famous piste of "La Verte des Houches' world championships.
One of the biggest ski attractions would be skiing down the Aguille du Midi through the Valle Blanche. Those really experienced can enjoy a hardcore, few kilometers long ride from the edge of the Valle Blanche glacier to the lower part of the Mer de Glace. This is a wonderful trip and really amazing experience, but at the same time it’s very risky and therefore, it’s not for everyone. Adrenaline chasers skiing off-piste (through glaciers and steep slopes) usually can be found somewhere around Grand Montets, the top of the Argeniere glacier. On the other side of the valley (Augilles Rouges massif) you will also find a lot of great slopes, especially in the area of Index and Flegere.
The ski passes here don’t belong to the cheapest, but for example, if you buy the "Mont Blanc Unlimited" you have a free acces to the slopes in three countries (the slopes of Chamonix, French Courmayeur, and Swiss Verbier). Weekly ski pass for adults costs 299 € and 500 € for two weeks. However, if you will use the ski pass "Chamonix Le Pass" you can buy a family package for two adults and a kid, and here the second child can ski for free. Such one day package costs 154 € and weekly - 706,80 €.
Accommodation in hotels is not cheap either, however the standards here would meet’s everyone expectations. More financially favorable, although closed in winter, are campsites, which thanks to the atmosphere, so mind-blowingly spectacular views, and the efforts of the owners, attract many caravanning enthusiasts. Especially recommended is the three stars Campsite L'Ile des Barrats, which offers 49 pitches among lush greenery. Depending on the season you pay approximately 24,30 € - 28,30 € per day (2 people, a car, pitch for a caravan or a tent and the access to electricity).
However, if you choose Camping Mer de Glace, the campsite with a spectacular view of Mont Blanc, for two people, a car and a tent or caravan you will pay, depending on a season, from 20,60 € -25 € / day. There is a laundry room, a playground and the Internet access.
If you decide to go to Chamonix with a camper or caravan during winter, there will be no problem to stop at one of the car parks in the town, unfortunately there will be no facilities for camping vehicles.
Who else is lured by Chamonix?
We have to admit that Chamonix attracts mainly skiers. Here, we can meet various types of mountaineers and freeriders (the enthusiasts of extreme mountain biking), but it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing interesting for others. On the contrary - you can go to the cinema, play bridge, and even gamble in the casino. Local spa centers also have a wide offer of treatments - you can visit the beauty salon for aromatherapy or Shiatsu (needleless acupuncture).
Now you can see that there’s a small, but touristically rich resort under the Roof of Europe, where everyone will spend a unique holidays.