Exciting news is breaking in Chamonix this morning, as it has been announced that a new lift connecting the Aiguille du Midi to the summit of Mont Blanc will be built in the next 10 years.
Not intent with simply viewing Mont Blanc from afar, visitors to Chamonix in the not too distant future will be able to enjoy standing on top of Mont Blanc at a new visitor centre with gift shop, set to be built at the arrival point of the lift.
We have two fantastic pieces of news for you: not only can we save you over 30% on your Mont Blanc Unlimited Early Bird lift pass this winter, but we can also save you money on airport transfers as well as ski and snowboard hire!!!
The Mont Blanc Unlimited early bird deal is an exclusive discount that is not available on line or to purchase in resort, it can only be booked directly through Mountain Lifestyle and is only available for a limited time – so don’t miss out.
This special early bird offer is valid on all Mont Blanc Unlimited lift passes, gaining you a third off all passes booked for the following periods:
From 07/01/2017 to 03/02/2017
From 04/03/2017 to 07/04/2017
It even applies to children, senior and family passes from 2 to 21 days – a family of 2 adults and up to 5 children will save over 230€ on a 6 day lift pass! You must place your order by the end of October to benefit from the discount.
The Mont Blanc Unlimited is more than just a lift pass – as well as giving access to all of the Chamonix valley ski areas it is also your ticket to the peak of the famous Aiguille du Midi at 3842m and to France’s longest glacier at the Mer de Glace. You can also take a trip on the Tramway du Mont Blanc, a historic tram ride from the spa town of Saint Gervais up to a high mountain pass with stunning views.
Fancy trying a different ski area? Head through the Mont Blanc Tunnel into Italy, where the Mont Blanc Unlimited is also valid in the charming ski resort of Courmayeur. Wonderful ski slopes, little stone chalets serving rich Italian hot chocolate and hearty bowls of pasta, excellent and accessible off-piste powder… Or visit one of our neighbouring resorts of Megeve and Saint-Gervais, where you’ll find endless pistes and chic restaurants tucked amongst the old wooden farmhouses.
For those days when you want a break from skiing you can also use your Mont Blanc Multipass to gain free entry to the sports centre, swimming complex and ice rink in the centre of Chamonix as well as local museums. It’s perfect for exploring everything that Chamonix has to offer.
We only work with our favourite ski and snowboard rental shops in Chamonix – the ones who provide the best service for the best price. Our partners are located in convenient places throughout Chamonix and some will even deliver the kit to your door and do a full boot fitting in the comfort of your chalet. The best thing of all though is that our partners offer Mountain Lifestyle clients fantastic discounts of up to 50%!
Our friends at Haute Transfer are offering an exclusive discount in conjunction with the Early Bird Lift Pass offer – any airport transfers that fall between 07th January and 3rd February 2017 or 4th March and 7th April 2017 will enjoy a 15% discount when booked through Mountain Lifestyle. Once you’ve booked your lift pass we’ll give you an exclusive discount code that can be redeemed against your airport transfers. Comfortable, reliable, door-to-door service with complimentary beers and soft drinks – what better way to start your holiday?
If you can travel outside of the peak holiday periods then you can get some great deals on accommodation – prices tend to drop off during January and March, with some of the best bargains to be found in April. The ski season doesn’t end until May and spring snow can be plentiful, with the added bonus of sunny apres-ski! Our partners at Mountain Base offer everything from budget studio apartments to luxurious ski chalets, take a look and see what we have to suit you.
This weekend marks a special tradition in Chamonix – La Fête des Guides. This annual event honours the men and women who have made the mountains their life and their livelihood; the mountain guides who keep thousands of people safe every year, whether they’re climbing Mont Blanc in summer or skiing the Vallee Blanche in winter.
Friday 12th August, Le Lavancher
The festivities begin today in the little village of Le Lavancher with a traditional bread baking session in the old wood oven. You can buy a freshly baked loaf from midday to 4:30pm, while the children take part in climbing demos and various entertainments. A special dinner will be held at 7pm, followed by music and dancing; tickets cost 15€ not including drinks.
Saturday 13th August, Les Houches
Fun and games at Les Chavants near to the Prarion lift station in Les Houches from 2pm to 7pm. The lake and climbing wall will be the venue for various activities hosted by the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix such as hiking, climbing, orientation, rope work, etc. At 6:30pm there will be a short speech by the mayor of Les Houches, followed by a sing-song with the mountain guide choir accompanied by alpine horns.
Sunday 14th August, Argentiere
Argentiere hosts its own Fête des Guides today with entertainments and activities in the town from 9am to 12:30pm for children and adults. There will be a display of the beautiful crystals that have been found in the mountains and make sure you don’t miss the traditional ceremony at 5:30pm when all the guides turn out in their official uniforms. From 8pm there will be a party with live music, bar and snack stalls.
Sunday 14th August, Chamonix
The main celebrations take place on Sunday at Les Gaillands in Chamonix, starting at 5pm with activities such as climbing and slacklining to try your hand at. The PGHM will be doing a helicopter rescue demo at 5:30pm and you can learn all about the stars in the planetarium. Tombolas, live music, beer tents, snack stalls and plenty of entertainment make this a great afternoon for everyone of all ages. The grande finale is the sound and light show; a fascinating and usually quite surreal spectacle enacted by the guides themselves on the sheer stage of the climbing crag, followed by a firework display over the lake.
Monday 15th August, Chamonix
The official ceremony takes place this morning in the centre of Chamonix from 10am to 2pm. All the members of the Compagnie des Guides will gather in the Place du Triangle de l’amitié, dressed in their traditional uniforms for the blessing of their ropes and axes. New guides will be welcomed to the company and everyone will pay their respects to former guides, with a homage to those who have lost their lives in the mountains and a medal presentation for long-serving guides. The square will be lined with stalls, displays and refreshments.
All profits from the Fete des Guides are donated to the Caisse de Secours, which supports guides who have been injured in the mountains and the families of deceased guides. Many of the events are free to enter, with the option to buy food and drinks. Entry to the festival at Les Gaillands on Sunday evening is 15€ per adult, and 5€ per child under the age of 12, entry is free for children under 5 years old. Please note that the programme may change according to the weather forecast.
Chamonix Mountain Guides
The mountain guides of Chamonix enable us to explore the massive playground that is on our doorstep. Chamonix and the Mont Blanc massif is an amazing place to hike, climb, ski, run, ride and fly but the risks should never be underestimated. The beautiful wilderness of the mountains and particularly the glaciers are best discovered with a qualified mountain guide who will not only keep you safe but will also share their wealth of knowledge and experience with you. Contact us directly or visit our website if you would like to find out more about mountain guides in Chamonix.
Lac Blanc is one of the iconic Chamonix hiking destinations. From the top of the Flegere cable car you follow the signposts high above the Chamonix valley, along rocky paths and through high altitude meadows to a crystal clear lake surrounded by towering mountains. There are two routes, either directly from the cable car or from the top of the Index chairlift. Both are only moderately strenuous and take around an hour and a half to reach the lake. The name “Lac Blanc” comes from the white snowy peaks that are reflected in its mirror-like waters. From the banks of the lake you have a panoramic view of the Mont Blanc massif on the opposite side of the valley. Those who are brave enough can dabble their toes in the icy water, extremely refreshing on a hot day! Lac Blanc is within the Aiguille Rouges nature reserve and is a common place to spot alpine wildlife such as bouquetin and marmots in their natural habitat. If you have the energy then you can hike across to Brevent-Planpraz along the Grand Balcon Sud and take the gondola back down to Chamonix. The Flegere cable car, Index chairlift and Planpraz gondola are all included in the Mont Blanc Multipass – buy it online here
Grand Balcon Nord
This stunning hike not only takes in sweeping views of the entire length of the Chamonix valley but also includes two of our favourite sightseeing attractions, Aiguille du Midi and Mer de Glace. The hike itself only takes around 2-3 hours but we highly recommend setting aside a full day, so that you can fully explore everything that the two sites have to offer. Starting from the Aiguille du Midi cable car, you should ride all the way to the summit at 3842m and take a walk round the various viewing platforms before taking a deep breath and stepping into the void – a glass cube suspended thousands of feet above the glaciers and crevasses of the world famous Vallee Blanche. Once you’ve taken in the jaw-dropping 360° views you can come back down to the mid-station at Plan de l’Aiguille and follow the hiking signs along the Grand Balcon Nord towards Montenvers Mer de Glace. The trail undulates gently along the mountainside, just above the treeline so that you have uninterrupted views of the whole of the Chamonix valley. The towering rocks above you and the pine forests below you make a beautiful contrast to the high altitude meadows that the paths winds its way through. Once at the Mer de Glace you can take a gondola lift down to the ice caves of the glacier, or visit the glaciorium to learn more about the fascinating geology of the area. The historic Grand Hotel Montenvers will welcome you for lunch or a refreshing drink on their terrace before you ride the little rack and pinion train back down to Chamonix centre. The Aiguille du Midi cable cars and Montenvers train are both included in the Mont Blanc Multipass – buy it online here
Aiguillettes des Houches
This vertiginous ridge walk looks out beyond Chamonix into the gorges and mountain ranges of the surrounding valleys. You get a strong sense of the incredible landscape and the massive scale of the Alps from this breathtaking vantage point. Starting from the centre of Chamonix you take the gondola up to Planpraz, followed by the cable car to the summit of Brevent at 2525m. From here you can pick up signposts for Aiguillette des Houches, but be sure to make the small diversion to the serenely beautiful Lac du Brevent. You can either take a picnic to enjoy at the lake, or stop off at the Bellachat mountain refuge for a traditional Savoyard lunch of cheese omelette and homemade myrtille tart. The trail takes you along a stunning high altitude ridge with carpets of wildflowers and berries stretching out on either side, past the ancient stone shepherds’ huts at Chalets de Chailloux. Once you’ve reached the pinnacle of the ridge the path drops down through the forest, past Parc de Merlet and back down to Les Gaillands, from where you can take the train or bus back to Chamonix centre. Public transport in Chamonix is free of charge with your carte d’hote, issued to you by Mountain Lifestyle. The Planpraz gondola and Brevent cable car are both included in the Mont Blanc Multipass – buy it online here
Alpage de la Charme, Les Houches
A short walk from the Prarion gondola brings you to the aptly named alpine pastures of La Charme in Les Houches. This short ramble is perfect for families and those who prefer a gentle stroll to a strenuous hike. Picturesque views and a multitude of picnic spots make this a lovely day out, especially if you call in at the goat farm for a taste of locally produced cheese. To turn it into a full day out you can take the train from Chamonix to Saint-Gervais and ride the Tramway du Mont Blanc up to Nid d’Aigle at the foot of the Bionnassay glacier in Les Houches. Once you’ve admired the majestic view you can ride the tram back down to Col de Voza and follow the hiking signs from here to La Charme, taking the Prarion gondola back down at the end of the afternoon and hopping on the bus back to Chamonix. The Prarion gondola and Tramway du Mont Blanc are both included in the Mont Blanc Multipass – buy it online here
Aiguillette des Posettes, Vallorcine & Le Tour
Make the most of the free public transport in Chamonix and hop on the train to Vallorcine, the train station is right beside the gondola lift that will whisk you up into the pastures of the Domaine de la Balme, right on the edge of the Franco-Swiss border. From here you can hike up to the pinnacle of the Aiguillette des Posettes at 2201m, a stunning viewpoint surrounded by high peaks in all directions. The steep descent will bring you back down to the gentle rolling meadows of Charamillon, where the clinking of cow bells fills the air. You can either hike down to Le Tour car park on a narrow twisting trail or save your knees and take the gondola. From the car park you can pick up the bus back to Chamonix, or walk ten minutes down the road to Montroc train station.
The Vallorcine and Charamillon gondolas are both included in the Mont Blanc Multipass – buy it online here
All of the above hikes can be done simply by following the hiking signs. If you’d like to go farther afield or venture out onto the glaciers then we recommend booking a guided hike to fully appreciate the experience.
School holidays are here and there are enough exciting family activities in Chamonix to keep everyone happy! We’ve picked out a handful of our favourite Chamonix children’s activities, all of which are fun for the whole family.
Rafting & Canyoning
Cool off your over-excited youngsters with a splash in the river! The gentle rapids of the River Arve are perfect for younger children, providing just enough excitement as you bob and bounce along the valley from Chamonix to Les Houches. If you want a wilder ride then older teens and adults will love the white water rapids over in Italy, this is a real adrenaline buzz! Other adventures include canyoning and hydrospeed; canyoning involves wading through streams, jumping into plunge pools and sliding down waterfalls while hydrospeed is a hilarious ride along the river on a body board. There is something to suit everyone from 7 to 77 years old and everyone always has a fantastic time – this is one of our favourite activities!
Unleash their inner David Bailey with a guided tour around Chamonix’s hidden nooks and crannies. You’ll discover charming gardens, quaint little footpaths – you might even find yourself milking a goat or picking herbs with a genuine French chef! Wherever you end up, you’ll have a story to tell afterwards and a memory card full of wonderful photos. Your guide is the lovely Theresa, who has lived in the valley for many years and knows all it’s secrets. Walks can be tailored to suit your family or you can join a group, so contact us to find out more.
Little “grimpeurs” can experience the thrill of nailing their first ascent from the age of 6 with one of our expert climbing guides. There are plenty of crags in the Chamonix valley that have a good choice of routes, ranging from very easy to rather challenging, meaning that everyone can find a route that suits them. This is a great adventure for the whole family, building teamwork as you learn to belay each other and give encouragement from the ground! Teens can test their nerves on a via ferrata route; a network of ropes and ladders suspended high above the ground. You are secured roped up and harnessed, allowing you to climb higher and further than you could otherwise venture.
Summer in the Alps is like something out of a children’s story book – drinking from mountain lakes, wild goats skipping across rocks, the sound of cow bells, picnics in remote meadows… Explore the very best spots of the Chamonix valley on a guided nature hike; you’ll discover and learn so much more with someone who knows all the secrets of the mountains! Our IML hiking guides are experts in local flora and fauna, as well as essential survival skills such as which mountain huts serve the best homemade fruit tart.
Mountain bike trails in Chamonix vary from steep gnarly descents to flat gentle paths, with plenty in between to suit everyone. There are lots of easy routes alongside the river and through the forest, with dedicated biking trails at Le Tour and Les Houches. You can hire a guide to show you round and give you a few tips, or just grab a trail map and head off on your own adventure. Mountain bikes and helmets can be hired for children and adults, starting from half a day.
To really make the most of your family holiday in Chamonix we recommend that you invest in the Mont Blanc Multipass – not only will you have unlimited access to all of the mountain lifts in the valley but it also includes:
Montenvers Train – ride the old rack and pinion train up to the glacier at Mer de Glace, explore the ice caves and visit the glaciorium.
Tramway du Mont Blanc – chug up through the meadows of Les Houches to the Glacier de Bionnassay, you’ll find lots of nice picnic spots and easy hiking trails around the Col de Voza.
Aiguille du Midi – two cable cars will whisk you up to the summit at 3842m, where you’ll be surrounded by the towering peaks of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Bring your head for heights and “Step Into the Void”, a glass cube suspended thousands of metres above the icy crevasses of the Vallee Blanche.
Les Bossons Chairlift – this cute and colourful little chairlift takes you up to the Bossons Glacier. Peer into crevasses, learn the fascinating history of the area and enjoy a snack on the terrace of the pretty little café.
Tourist Train – take a guided tour of Chamonix on the little red train that loops around the town, tickets are discounted with your Mont Blanc Multipass.
Alpine Coaster – visit the adventure park at Les Planards and get buy-one-get-one-free on the mini roller coaster ride that whizzes down through the forest.
Megeve & Saint Gervais – take a day trip over to our neighbouring resort of Megeve and Saint Gervais; the Mont Blanc Multipass now includes their lift system, which opens up a huge new area of hiking trails, picnic spots and sightseeing.
Best of all, the Mont Blanc Multipass is great value for families as you only pay for 2 adults and 1 child – all other children are included free of charge! Please visit our summer lift pass page for more information on the Mont Blanc Multipass and our summer areas page to find out where you can go with your lift pass.
Childcare & Babysitting
If you fancy a night out or a day in the mountains then don’t worry about where to find a babysitter; we work with a great team of professional, fun and reliable child carers. They have all been thoroughly checked, have excellent references and speak a variety of languages. So, just contact us directly to enquire about anything from a few hours to full days. Your little ones will have a great time and you can rest assured that they are receiving the very best care.
Summer is here and the mountains are calling… and singing! This week the Cosmojazz Music Festival brings music to the mountains from all over the world. Concerts take place in such spectacular locations as the sunny meadows of Le Tour and the natural rocky amphitheatre of Brevent. Jazz singers and musicians will be performing amongst the peaks, glaciers and forests of the Chamonix valley from 23rd to 31st July.
All of the concerts are completely free of charge, all you need to access them is a lift pass. The Mont Blanc Multipass covers all the lifts in the Chamonix valley, as well as the Mont Blanc Tramway from Saint-Gervais up to Les Houches, and the Montenvers train from Chamonix up to the glacier at Mer de Glace.
The Mont Blanc Multipass is great value for anyone wanting to experience everything that the Chamonix valley has to offer. It opens up a multitude of hiking paths, mountain bike trails, climbing routes and sightseeing opportunities. There are special offers for families and if you book more than 3 days in advance, you can benefit from an extra day for free.
The Cosmojazz Festival is a non-stop celebration of music with concerts taking place not only in the mountains but also in Chamonix town centre, in the bars and hotels, and in the gardens of Parc Couttet and the Maison des Artistes jazz club. Musicians and singers gather in Chamonix from all over the world bringing influences from such diverse places as Morocco, Albania and Japan.
In between concerts, there are endless opportunities for adventure and excitement in Chamonix from paragliding over the peaks, to rafting the rapids. Find your inspiration for summer activities in Chamonix for all ages.
Now that summer is underway and the school holidays are not far off, we’ve been getting lots of enquiries for children’s activities. There are tons of things to keep kids of all ages entertained in summer, here are our favourite family activities in Chamonix:
Chamonix Parc Each summer Les Planards ski area is transformed into a mini-fairground with rides and games for children as young as one year old and upwards. The star attraction is the Alpine Coaster, a 1300m toboggan ride that twists and turns as it whizzes through the trees. Best of all, you can get a free ride on the Alpine Coaster with your Mont Blanc Multipass.
Rafting & Canyoning The Chamonix rapids are perfect for families who are looking for thrills and adventure that they can enjoy together. Children from 10 years can go rafting from the centre of Chamonix, while the tamer waters of Passy are ideal for youngsters of 7 years and over. If you’ve never tried canyoning before, then you’ve missed a treat! Plunging into rock pools, splashing through waterfalls and abseiling across rivers will be the highlight of your holiday. In both activities you’ll get wet anyway, so they are great options for days when the weather isn’t great. Watersports in Chamonix
Trams & Trains All kids love a train ride and Chamonix has two fantastic ones. The Montenvers train has been chugging up to the Mer de Glace since 1909 and is still a great day out. As well as France’s longest glacier, you’ll also be able to see the sculptures carved into the ice caves, the treasures of the crystal gallery, and find out more about the fascinating alpine fauna and geology at the museums up there. At the other end of the valley is the Tramway du Mont Blanc, which sets off from Saint-Gervais and trundles up through the meadows and pine forests of Les Houches to the foot of the Bionnassay glacier. Little explorers will find it very exciting to see all the mountaineers using the tram to start their ascent of Mont Blanc. There are various places en route where you can get off the tram to go for a hike, have a picnic or to visit the goats at La Charme. Both the Montenvers train and the Tramway du Mont Blanc are included in your Mont Blanc Multipass.
Climbing There is lots of choice in the Chamonix valley with everything from rope bridges through the trees to bolted rock climbing routes on rugged crags. Our expert rock climbing guides will teach your children the essential skills to have them scampering about the mountains in safety and with confidence. You can also learn as a family, taking it in turns to belay each other and give encouragement from the ground. Little “grimpeurs” can experience the thrill of nailing their first ascent from the age of 6 with one of our expert climbing guides. Chamonix Climbing
Mountain Biking With trails marked in the same way as ski pistes from green (easy) to black (hard), you’ll find something to suit everyone in the Chamonix valley. You can either hire bikes and helmets and set off on your own adventure, or book a mountain bike guide to show you the best trails and share a few tips on hammering down them like a pro. If you don’t fancy the thought of cycling uphill, then you’ll be pleased to hear that most of the trails can be accessed by the lift system and are included in your Mont Blanc Multipass, so you don’t even need to be super fit to enjoy them! Chamonix Mountain Biking
Teen Adventures As well as all of the above there are plenty of options that older children will love – scrambling high above the valley on a via ferrata route, learning how to use ice axes and crampons on a glacier hike, paragliding over the mountains, hydrospeeding down the river… All these activities are great fun and a real adventure for anyone aged 12 years and over.
The Mont Blanc Multipass has a family option, which is worthwhile looking into for any families with two or more children. You only pay for two adults and one child, then all other children are included free of charge (with a maximum limit of 5 children in total). The pass includes all the lifts in the Chamonix valley including the Aiguille du Midi cable car, the Montenvers train and the Tramway du Mont Blanc as well as free entry and/or discounts on lots of other attractions. A family of 5 would save over 200€ on a 6 day pass, contact us now to find out more.