Renting & riding bikes in Chamonix

Chamonix has a great network of mountain bike trails, which are easily accessible and suitable for beginners and families, to downhill and riders who are more fond of technical, rocky trails.

Chamonix tourist office have produced a handy pocket sized map outlining around 20 dedicated MTB trails, from Vallorcine all the way to Servoz. It includes information on the mountain biking code of conduct, emergency phone numbers and information on trails and how they are graded. In simple terms the trails are graded like pistes – green for easy, blue for intermediate, red for more difficult trails and black, the hardest level.

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There are a number of liaison trails that you can follow too, linking one part of the valley to the other, or across into Switzerland. You can also use the local trains to get around with your bike. Each carriage allows a maximum of 5 bikes and travel is free with your “carte d’hote” or guest card, which we give to all our guests on arrival. In July & August there are also special bike buses laid on – look for V1 and V2 on the Chamonix bus timetables. These are also free with the guest card.


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Where can you rent a bike in Chamonix?

We work with a number of local suppliers who rent all kinds of bikes; bikes for children, downhill bikes, cross country or enduro bikes, town bikes, road bikes and electric mountain bikes. Check out their websites below for prices and how to book.

Sanglard – E-bikes for adults & children

Legend CHX – All mountain, road bikes, enduro, E-bikes, downhill, fatbikes, children’s bikes

Slash Chamonix – All mountain, road bikes, E-bikes, bike trailers

Intersport Chamonix – Children’s bikes, hard tails, fatbikes, enduro, E-bikes, road bikes

Zero G – Mountain bikes, E-bikes, children’s bikes


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Good sources of local MTB information

Check in on some really in depth information from local riders on all the best places to ride, and some secret trails that aren’t included on the trail map from the tourist office!

Chamonix Bike Blog

Chamonix MTB reports

Facebook groups to join – CHX Bike / Chamonix descent mountain biking


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Where to get your mountain bike fixed / serviced?

OK you may not have destroyed your bike like Kerry McGarry did at Redbull Rampage, but if you need a service, some parts replaced or some good advice on what to do, here are a few of the local bike maintenance shops we use:

Double D bikes– Les Praz

Slash Chamonix– Chamonix centre

Happy riding!


 

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Autumn in Chamonix : Activities & Things to Do

Now that the excitement of the UTMB and the last big event of the summer is behind us, you might be thinking that Chamonix is starting to shut up shop for the autumn – but you’d be surprised…

September and October are wonderful months to visit Chamonix; the bustling crowds have dwindled, the sweltering heat has mellowed to a pleasant temperature, queueing for lifts and buses is non-existent, you can get a seat outside your favourite bar – life is good!

cropped-2014-10-26-autumn-mountains1.jpgThe majority of the lifts in the Chamonix valley remain open until 20th September*, making it a fantastic time of year for hiking and mountain biking, with fewer people on the trails than even just a week ago. You see a real change in the seasons out here and summer green quickly turns to autumn gold – the colours in the mountains are just incredible. Quieter trails increase your chances of spotting some local wildlife such as deer and ibex, you may even see marmots making their last preparations before they hibernate for the winter!

Mer de Glace ChamonixThe Aiguille du Midi cable car and Montenvers train remain open throughout the autumn until 18th December, giving you the opportunity to rope up and explore the glaciers with a guided tour of the Vallée Blanche or the Mer de Glace – a unique and unforgettable trip that requires no mountaineering experience.

Paragliding in Chamonix parapenteAirspace over the Aiguille du Midi also opens up to paragliders after the end of August – you can take off either from the halfway point at Plan de l’Aiguille, or go for the full James Bond effect and launch from the summit at 3842m – almost level with the top of Mont Blanc! Together with a tandem pilot, you’ll soar over the glaciers, drifting amongst the towering peaks of the Massif du Mont Blanc before floating down to land in the centre of Chamonix.

With cheaper flights and low-season prices on accommodation, autumn really is a great time to visit Chamonix. All of the above lifts are included in the Mont Blanc Multipass, as well as the Tramway du Mont Blanc.

*with the exception of Flégère and Les Grands Montets, which close on September 6th and 13th respectively. Don’t forget that the Brévent lift reopens for a week in October during the half-term break of 17/10/15 to 01/11/15 – find more information on lifts and mountain areas on our website.

Music in the Mountains : Chamonix Cosmojazz Festival

One of our favourite events of the year starts this weekend – Cosmojazz! 8 days of live music in Chamonix, in the mountains, even amongst the glaciers.

cosmojazz-03Many of the concerts are free to watch and feature amazingly talented musicians from all around the world, from Timbuktu to Rio de Janeiro. Some of the most stunning venues are up in the mountains, beside lakes or in an Alpine meadow – you’ll need a lift pass to access them but other than that, they are totally free.

If you’ve got the whole week to enjoy the festival then we’ve concocted the perfect itinerary to combine as many concerts as possible, with some of Chamonix’s best activities.

Saturday 25th July
Start the day with a scenic train ride to Chatelard and then a short bus journey to the tiny Swiss village of Trient to catch the first concert of the festival with Mohamed Abrozekry, playing the oud (an Arabic lute) from 11am to 4pm beside the glacier. Relax, listen to the tunes, enjoy a picnic lunch then follow this hiking route to Vallorcine, where you should arrive in time to catch the funky Caribbean grooves of Professor Wouassa. You can then catch the train back to Chamonix in time for the evening entertainments.

emosson-dam-01Sunday 26th July
Back over to Switzerland, this time to spend all day at the magnificent Emosson Dam. Professor Wouassa will be filling the air with tropical beats from 11am followed by Guillaume Perret & the Electric Epic playing an eclectic mix of jazz-rock and African folk music from 2pm. While you’re up there, make sure you find time to do one of the many hiking trails – the views are as epic as the music and you may even find some dinosaur footprints…

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixTuesday 28th July
After a day of rest we’re ready to hit the hills again amongst the towering crags of Le Brevent to listen to Émile Parisien on saxophone and Vincent Peirani on accordion at 11am. After the concert we recommend doing one of our favourite hiking routes along the Grand Balcon Sud to Flegere, it’s absolutely beautiful and if you’re lucky you might spot some marmots or chamois. If you want to increase your chances of sighting some mountain wildlife then think about booking a hiking guide to take you off the beaten track. From Flegere you can get the cable car back down to Les Praz and hop on the train or bus to Chamonix in time for apero-jazz with the Gangbé Brass Band in the centre of town from 4:30pm.
The Brevent and Flegere lifts are both included in your Mont Blanc Multipass

Les Houches in Summer in ChamonixWednesday 29th July
Today we’re off to Prarion at Les Houches, easier to reach by bus than train, to go on a musical voyage of Jewish, Oriental and Middle Eastern music courtesy of Yom and his clarinet at 2pm. From here you can enjoy a beautiful hike along the Col de Voza to Bellevue, making sure to call in and say hello to the goats at La Charme along the way. Take the Bellevue gondola back down to Les Houches, where you can enjoy afternoon tea and cakes at Kitsch Inn with more live music from 5pm, before picking up the bus back to Chamonix in time to catch all the great bands that will be playing in various bars and restaurants until late – you can find the full evening programme here.
The Prarion and Bellevue lifts are both included in your Mont Blanc Multipass

Thursday 30th July
Hop on the historic red train up to the Mer de Glace, established in 1908 to take the very first tourists to marvel at the glacier. Songhoy Blues will be playing African-inspired music there from 2pm, giving you plenty of time to go and visit the ice caves and enjoy lunch at the Hotel Montenvers beforehand. Afterwards you can hike the Grand Balcon Nord across to the Plan de l’Aiguille and then ride up to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi at 3842m to gaze at one of the most spectacular views in the world. The last lift back down to Chamonix is at 6pm, just in time to catch a jazz/hip-hop/funk fusion experience in the town centre by the Youngblood Brass Band, a collective of 11 young musicians from Wisconsin, USA.
The Montenvers Train and Aiguille du Midi are both included in your Mont Blanc Multipass

Parapente ChamonixFriday 31st July
15 years of road tripping have given Moriarty plenty of tall tales and unusual encounters to influence their bluesy-folky style. They’ll be playing up at Les Grands Montets from 1pm; take the cable car up to Lognan and do the short but rewarding hike to see the Argentiere glacier, then chill out in the sunshine with a glass of something chilled and enjoy the music. If you want to see the glacier in all its glory then treat yourself to a parapente flight – an unforgettable ride past the dramatic peak of the Drus, above the Mer de Glace, with majestic views of the Grand Jorasses and the Italian border. You’ll be back in Chamonix just in time to catch Minor Sing at the Maison des Artistes, a beautifully restored old house in the centre of Chamonix that has recently become a very hip jazz club.
The Grands Montets cable car is included in your Mont Blanc Multipass

Lac du BreventSaturday 1st August
Today we’re back up at Brevent for two concerts at Planpraz, so pack a picnic and make a day of it. The three brothers that make up Trio Joubran will be playing melodic sounds influenced by their Palestinian heritage from 11am and then Violons Barbares (the barbarian violins!) will be plucking an usual selection of strings from 2pm. Try to find time during the day to take the second cable car to the summit and walk to Lac de Brevent – a beautiful mountain lake with one of the most stunning backdrops in the valley. The intriguingly-named Guts will be rocking out with a lively mix of rap, jazz, soul and hip-hop from 6pm in the centre of Chamonix, followed by plenty more concerts in various restaurants, bars and clubs until late.
The Brevent lifts are both included in your Mont Blanc Multipass

mountain-biking-chamonix-01Sunday 2nd August
The last day of the festival takes us to Le Tour for two concerts in the beautiful alpage at Charamillon, Dan Tepfer at 11am and Yaron Herman at 2pm. Le Tour is one of the best mountain biking areas in the valley with a network of trails and plenty of descent. Alternatively you could take the train to Vallorcine and get on the gondola to hike across the Col de Balme to Le Tour; it’s one of the most typically “Alpine” trails in the valley with fantastic views both along the Chamonix valley and over the other direction into Switzerland. If you’re feeling particularly energetic there are plenty of variations, including trails up to the Aiguille des Posettes and the Albert 1er refuge, if you want to explore the valley properly then you can always join a guided hike from just 25€ per person. To end the Cosmojazz festival in style there will be a concert in the centre of Chamonix at 6pm by renowned jazz musician and festival organiser André Manoukian, followed by a jam session at the Hotel Alpina until the small hours.
The Vallorcine and Le Tour lifts are both included in your Mont Blanc Unlimited Multipass

All the concert details and the full programme can be found on the Cosmojazz website, with events taking place the length and breadth of the valley – don’t forget that public transport within the valley is completely free of charge with your Carte d’Hote guest card, given to you when you check in to your accommodation.

Summer of Adventure : Our Top 5 Adrenaline Highs in Chamonix

Summer in the Alps isn’t all cow bells, accordions and stinky cheese – sometimes it can also be about thrills, spills and ice axes. Here’s our guide on how to get your kicks in the mountains.

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White Water Rafting
For an introduction to rafting the River Arve that runs through Chamonix is ideal. But for a full-on wild ride through some intense rapids we’ll take you through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the Dorea Balta in Italy for 30km of fast and furious adventure. You must be over 15 years old and a competent swimmer to take part.
Rafting in Chamonix – find out more

Skydive chamonixSky Diving
On a sunny day you can guarantee that the skies over Chamonix will always be filled with brightly coloured parapente wings, floating serenely past the snow-capped peaks, twisting and twirling with the thermals. But what if you want something a bit faster? How about taking to the skies in a helicopter, flying high above the valley until conditions are just right to lean out of the door and… jump! Strapped to an experienced and fully qualified skydive pilot, you will plummet for a few heart-stopping seconds before deploying your parachute and taking a huge breath of relief as you drift back down to earth.
Sky Diving in Chamonix – find out more

Chamonix climbingExtreme Rock Climbing
There are countless rock climbing sites in Chamonix, many of them super-accessible and therefore very popular. Get away from the crowds by going up high; you can kit up with crampons and axes to go ice climbing at the Mer de Glace, or step out onto the Cosmiques Arret – a stunning ridge of rock and ice at almost 4000m high. Accompanied by a mountain guide, you’ll see Chamonix from a whole new perspective once you’ve scaled it’s highest peaks.
Rock climbing in Chamonix – find out more

mountain-bike-01Downhill Mountain Biking
Get kitted up like Streethawk and take to the trails on a full suspension downhill mountain bike, with a guide who will show you the very best trails in the Chamonix valley. Most of the lifts are bike-accessible, meaning that you spend less time slogging uphill and more time tearing downhill. See those great big mountains? Pretty much anything that is skiable in winter, is bikeable in summer on excellent trails that snake down from the high peaks through pine forests back to the valley. If you’re really up for a challenge then how does biking the Tour de Mont Blanc sound? 200km over 5 days of thigh busting climbs and gnarly descents through three countries…
Mountain biking in Chamonix – find out more

mont-blanc-01Climb Mont Blanc
You don’t have to be Sir Ranulph Fiennes to summit the highest mountain in the Alps, you just need a decent level of fitness and a qualified mountain guide. The ascent takes 2-3 days, depending on weather conditions, with nights spent in a remote mountain refuge. If you want to build your confidence before you strike out for the summit then join one of our 5 day courses that will teach you invaluable skills that you’ll use every time you go into the mountains.
Climbing Mont Blanc – find out more

Summer Lift Openings & Discounted Lift Passes in Chamonix

Summer is officially here! The sun might have been getting in plenty of practise over the last couple of weeks but now the real fun begins, when the lift system starts up again for another season of hiking, mountain biking, trail running, paragliding, rock climbing… the possibilities are endless.

Make the most of your time in Chamonix with an extra day on your lift pass for free! For example, book a 6 day pass and only pay for 5 days. This special offer is available on all lift passes of 6 to 9 days, children and family passes included.
Contact us directly to purchase your reduced rate summer lift pass

The following lifts are scheduled to open at 9am tomorrow morning:

Hiking in ChamonixLe Brevent
Looming over the centre of Chamonix, this sunny mountain is one of the most popular spots for paragliding. A gondola lift takes you up to the midway point at 2000m and then a cable car will whisk you all the way to the top at 2525m. There are hiking trails galore, one of the most beautiful being the Aiguillette des Houches via Lac du Brevent.
Paragliding in Chamonix – find out more 

Lac Blanc at Flegere ChamonixLa Flegere
Rising up from the pretty little village of Les Praz is the Flegere cable car, taking you high above the golf course to an Alpine paradise. Fantastic views of Mont Blanc and the Argentiere glacier are reflected in the glassy waters of Lac Blanc. Hiking the trail across from Brevent to Flegere is an absolute must – keeps your eyes open for marmots! There are lots of lakes, mountain huts and remote trails in this area; consider a guided hike to make the most of your stay.
Hiking in Chamonix – find out more

Les Houches SummerLes Houches
You can reach Les Houches in 3 ways; the Bellevue cable car, the Prarion gondola or the Tramway du Mont Blanc. The first two options are the most convenient but the tram is a real experience, starting in Saint-Gervais and gently chugging up the mountainside to the highest point at Nid d’Aigle beside the snout of the Bionassay glacier; this is where many a Mont Blanc expedition starts from. The Les Houches area is a tranquil haven of goat pastures, wildflower meadows, gentle hiking trails and cross-country mountain bike tracks. Make sure you pop in to the goat farm at La Charme to taste some genuine local cheese!
Climbing Mont Blanc – find out more

summer-chamonix-le-tour-03Le Tour & Vallorcine
Right on the Swiss border, these rolling hills and sweeping trails are a mecca for hikers and mountain bikers. A large network of dedicated trails and bike routes make it easy to explore the alpages. There are also a couple of mountain restaurants with sunny terraces looking out over panoramic views of the Chamonix valley.
Mountain biking in Chamonix – find out more

The Aiguille du Midi cable car and Montenvers-Mer de Glace train are open year round, with the new attraction Step Into the Void scheduled to open soon. Les Grands Montets is scheduled to reopen on the 27th June.

Please visit our Chamonix Summer Activities page for more inspiration on what to do during your visit.