Chamonix Events | Fete des Guides

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.

Rock climbing in Chamonix

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.

Fetes des Guides in Chamonix

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.

Fete des Guides in Chamonix

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.

Fete des Guides in Chamonix

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.

Fete des Guides Chamonix

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 Bureau des Guides Mural

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.

Summer of Adventure : Chamonix Summer Events & Activities

Chamonix is world-famous as a ski resort and winter sports paradise but did you know that’s it’s also an amazing place to visit in summer? Mountains, music and myriad opportunities for adventure await you in Chamonix this summer…

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Mountaineers flock to Chamonix from all around the world to challenge themselves amongst the peaks and even summit Mont Blanc. It’s not just for elite alpinists though, there is plenty of opportunity for rock climbing of all types, you can learn new skills on an alpine course, or venture out onto the mythical glaciers of the Vallee Blanche and the Mer de Glace.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Summer Events
The summer is jam-packed with events of all sorts including the Marathon du Mont Blanc, Climbing World Championships, Bastille Day, Cosmojazz, Ultratrail du Mont Blanc and more – you can find the main ones listed on our website, or keep an eye on our Facebook page for all the latest updates.
Find Chamonix accommodation for summer events

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix
Photo credit : Michel Cottin

On Your Bike
From gnarly downhillers to lithe lycra-clad road bikers, it seems that everyone in Chamonix gets about on two wheels. If you’re one of the mud-covered full-body armour types then you’ll find heaps of single-track, steep descents and challenging cross-country trails to get your teeth into, find more information on Chamonix mountain biking here. If skinny tyres and padded pants are more your thing then Chamonix is definitely the place to be this summer, with no less than 3 stages of the Tour de France taking place within pedalling distance! Get in touch if you want to be part of the action and join us at the start/finish lines.
Find out more about Chamonix lift passes in summer

Chamonix triathlon, bike ride
Photo Credit : Evergreen Endurance

Music Festivals
The big music event of the summer is Fete de la Musique, a celebration that takes place every midsummer. Free concerts, live music and DJs get the whole town dancing in the streets from midday until sunrise the following morning. Throughout the summer you’ll find live music being played almost every day – hip jazz bands at the Maison des Artistes, chilled acoustic sets on the terraces of bars and cafés, DJs spinning tunes late into the night… And if you want big names you don’t have to travel far – this year sees Elton John, Muse, ZZ Top, Amy Macdonald, Jamie Cullum and many more playing in the surrounding area. Not forgetting, of course, the annual Cosmojazz festival right here in Chamonix that keeps on getting bigger and better every year.
Find Chamonix accommodation during the festivals

Cosmojazz Chamonix

Hiking & Trail Running
Run to the hills and immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Chamonix valley is criss-crossed with miles and miles of hiking trails, from easy riverside meanders to high altitude ridges. You’ll discover alpine meadows, ancient glaciers, remote mountain refuges and hopefully spot lots of local wildlife such as marmots and bouquetin on your travels. Hiking with an IML guide makes the trip so much more rewarding as they have a wealth of knowledge about the local area, flora, fauna, etc and know the valley inside out. If you’re looking to improve your fitness or are training for a race, you can hit the trails with a qualified running coach and multiple ultra trail finisher to pick up lots of top tips and expert advice.
Find out more about Chamonix lift passes in summer


La Vie en Rose
One of the best things about life in France is enjoying the simple pleasures of a warm croissant at a café first thing in the morning, trying out the lingo and sampling local cheese at the market, dipping your toes in a crystal clear lake on a hot day, spotting a timid chamois amongst the pine trees, sipping a cold rosé whilst watching the sunset turn the mountains pink… once you come, you’ll never want to leave!
Find Chamonix accommodation this summer

Chamonix in summer with flowers and Mont Blanc

Climb Mont Blanc – Discover the Alternative Route

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps, the biggest glacier in western Europe, and at the top of many people’s bucket list of “must do” experiences.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Tramway du Mont Blanc in Les Houches, ChamonixThousands of people flock to Chamonix each summer to see this magnificent sight, hundreds are fortunate enough to reach the summit at 4809m. The classic Mont Blanc route starts with a ride up through the pastures of Les Houches on the Tramway du Mont Blanc, a night in the refuge, followed by a dawn ascent. It is an incredible experience, but often one that is shared with a lot of other people, especially during the busiest months of the summer season.

But… did you know about the other route? The path less trodden? The Italian Mont Blanc route is slightly longer and more technical, with more daily ascent and no lift assistance, making it a more authentic experience for “purist” mountaineers.

Val Veny in ItalyStarting from the beautiful valley of Val Veny, you spend a night at the Rifugio Gonella, a remote mountain hut at 3071m nestled beneath the Miage and Dome glaciers. The ascent to the summit of Mont Blanc is via the Piton des Italiens route; a long but spectacular climb amongst breathtaking scenery.

The solitude of this itinerary means that you have a greater chance of seeing alpine wildlife such as ibex and chamois, as well as enjoying the tranquility of the mountains. After a full day on your feet you will reach the summit and find yourself looking out over the peaks of France, Italy and Switzerland from the highest point in the Alps.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Take a while to soak up the view and experience the emotions that come with such an achievement before beginning the descent via the Gouter refuge, back down to the classic route to Chamonix. The beauty of this trip is that you get to experience both sides of Mont Blanc!

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Training to climb Mont Blanc in ChamonixDue to the technical and physically challenging nature of the Italian route, this is best suited to experienced mountaineers with a love of authentic alpinism. However, you do not have to be an expert as our mountain guides will spend three days prior to the trip preparing you for the terrain amongst the crags and glaciers of the Chamonix valley; ensuring that you have all the necessary skills needed to use crampons, axes and ropes effectively.

If this sounds like your kind of adventure then visit our website or contact us directly for more information. Places are already booking up fast, so don’t delay!

Climb Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps


Towering above Chamonix at a height of 4808m, Mont Blanc has been inspiring climbers from all around the world since Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard made the first ascent in August 1786.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

The journey to the summit of western Europe’s highest peak starts right here in Chamonix, either from the top of the Aiguille du Midi cable car or by taking the Tramway du Mont Blanc from Saint-Gervais up to the Nid d’Aigle at Les Houches.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Each route comes with its own challenges and potential hazards, as well as spectacular views and magnificent landscapes of alpine meadows, snowfields, glacial crevasses and towering jagged peaks.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

The season for climbing Mont Blanc begins around late May or early June and continues through to the end of September. Mountain huts will be booked up long before this though, as will mountain guides, so now is the time to start planning your trip.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

You don’t need any previous mountaineering experience to climb Mont Blanc – just a good level of fitness and the ability to learn new skills.

On our 6 day Mont Blanc course you will spend the first 3 days with a fully qualified mountain guide learning how to use ropes, crampons and ice axes to traverse different types of terrain. You’ll spend a night in a mountain refuge to help your body acclimatise to the altitude and learn safety techniques that will be invaluable when picking your way amongst the crevasses and seracs of the high mountains.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

You will spend the final 3 days climbing to the summit of Mont Blanc via the Gouter route, stopping over at a mountain refuge along the way and then descending back down to Chamonix having ticked off one of the achievements of a lifetime. During the 6 days you will not only have climbed Mont Blanc but will have explored some of the most majestic peaks in the French and Italian Alps.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Seasoned mountaineers who have already claimed a few peaks and have experience of high altitude alpine terrain can summit via the more technical Trois Monts route, which takes you via the mountains of Mont-Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit along the way.

You’ll be accompanied every step of the way by a qualified and highly experienced mountain guide who will not only prioritise your safety but will teach you invaluable skills and share their passion for the mountains with you.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Mountain refuges are already taking bookings for the summer and it won’t be long before the huts on the Mont Blanc routes are all full up. Likewise, mountain guides are in high demand with their availability becoming more limited as we get closer to spring.

Contact us now to embark on your adventure into a world of ice and snow at the very highest point in the Alps.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

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.

Fete des Guides : Mountain Guide Festival in Chamonix

This weekend is the annual Fetes des Guides; a celebration in honour of the men and women who dedicate their lives to the mountains.

Fete des Guides ChamonixThere have already been events throughout the week in Lavancher, Les Houches and Argentiere but Saturday is the grand finale. The day begins with a special church service at 9:30 to remember all those guides that have lost their lives in the mountains, followed by a traditional ceremony in the centre of Chamonix to bless the ice axes and welcome all newly qualified guides to the company.

Fete des Guides ChamonixThere will be stalls, entertainments and face painting in the centre of town until 4pm when the party moves to Lac des Gaillands. There is an entry fee of 13€ for adults and 5€ for children aged 5-12 (free for under 5’s), all the proceeds of which go to Caisse de Secours – a charity fund that supports the families of deceased or injured mountain guides.

Fete des Guides ChamonixThe celebrations carry on into the night with live music, a helicopter rescue demonstration, outdoor games, BBQ and the essential giant tartiflette. The guides themselves will star in a “grand spectacle” played out on the rock face with laser lights and sound effects – expect lots of whizzing about on zip wires and swinging off ropes. Their acrobatic skills are very impressive, even if the storyline is incomprehensible and the acting a bit dodgy… The night ends in a blaze of fireworks, set off over the lake against the night sky.

Without the expert skills of qualified mountain guides, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a fraction of what you can do in Chamonix; here are some of the fantastic things you can experience when accompanied by a mountain guide:

Mer de Glace ChamonixExplore the Glaciers
Thanks to the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Montenvers train, the glacial terrain of the Vallée Blanche and the Mer de Glace is amazingly accessible. If you want to do more than just sightsee you’ll need alpine equipment such as crampons and harnesses, as well as the knowhow to explore the crevasses and marvel at the seracs in safety. You can join a group or organise a private trip tailored to your own interests – contact us now to book your glacier hike.
Glacier Hiking in Chamonix – find out more

Hiking in ChamonixHike the Haute Route
A legendary trek from Chamonix to Zermatt, taking you from the foot of Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn via alpine forests, glaciers, meadows, mountain trails and remote refuges. See the brightest stars you’ve ever seen as you settle into your lodge for the night and work up a hearty appetite for classic dishes such as cheese fondue and saucisson. This trip can be done over 8 or 14 days, depending on the route – contact us now to plan your Haute Route hike.
Haute Route Chamonix to Zermatt – find out more

Rock climbing in Chamonix
Photo Credit : Chamex

Rock & Ice Climbing
Thanks to its high altitude terrain, you can find superb mixed climbing routes even in summer – huge granite crags leading to spectacular ridges high amongst the snow covered peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif. From one day ascents to multi-day expeditions, we offer a range of options to suit all levels – contact us now to find out more.
Alpine Climbing in Chamonix – find out more

Mont Blanc ChamonixClimb Mont Blanc
Summit the highest mountain in the Alps, venturing amongst the glaciers and seracs to reach the pinnacle at 4807m. Setting off from Chamonix you’ll traverse high ridges, sleep over in mountain refuges and see the sunrise over the mountains as you set out for the summit. This is a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget – contact us now to plan your Mont Blanc expedition.
Mont Blanc – find out more

Chamonix Events : 6 Great Reasons to be in Chamonix this Spring!

Spring is in the air! Longer days, more sunshine and the usual flurries of snow that arrive during March and April are on the way.

Those of us that live in Chamonix year round love this time of year – the bitter cold of January is behind us, the February holiday mayhem is over and the lighter evenings mean that we can enjoy a bit of the apres-ski atmosphere after we’ve finished work! Life definitely chills out a bit once March is underway, leaving us more time to have fun when we’re on the slopes or in the office.

Chamonix is nothing if not diverse and there are some great events lined up over the next couple of months – film festivals, mountaineering awards, music concerts and ski races… this is a great time of year to visit if you want to experience a bit of Chamonix culture!

chamonix cross-country skiing competitionFriday 13th to Sunday 15th of March : Coupe d’Europe Ski de Fond
The best cross-country ski racers in Europe gather in Chamonix for 3 days of competition for the European Cup – races are free to watch and usually take place around the Desert Blanc area in Les Praz. If you’re  inspired and want to give cross-country skiing a try then take a look at our cross-country ski lessons, perfect for learning the basics or brushing up your technique!

Saturday 21th March to Friday 27th March : Spring Music Festival
The hills are alive with the sound of… chamber music, orchestras, piano recitals, choirs, string quartets and just about every other kind of classical music you can think of. Chamonix welcomes musicians from all around the world to play intimate concerts in churches and other small venues. The full programme is not yet confirmed but details can be picked up in the tourist office in Chamonix.

Wednesday 25th – Saturday 28th March : Chamonix Adventure Film Festival
4 days packed with exploration, adrenaline, adventure and imagination. Inspirational film screenings and photo exhibitions as well as your chance to get involved in innovative workshops and courses. A must for all mountain enthusiasts! You can find more information and the programme of events on the Chamonix Adventure Film Festival website

Friday 3rd to Monday 6th of April : Jour Blanc
A long weekend of non-stop partying with music in the mountains during the day and down in the town at night! The Jour Blanc Unlimited Festival brings the best electronic music acts to breathtaking stages all over the Mont-Blanc range. All the events are accessible with the special Unlimited Festival pass that also works as your lift pass to all the Chamonix ski areas. Book your lift pass online and we’ll collect it for you in time for your arrival – no waiting at the resort office or queuing at the lift station on your first morning!

Chris Bonington © Piolets d'Or
Chris Bonington © Piolets d’Or

Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th of April : Piolets d’Or
The Piolets d’Or is an awards ceremony with a difference, it doesn’t celebrate the “winner” as such, but the people who show the most passion and embrace the true spirit of exploration. Credit is given for first ascents and descents, but emphasis is laid more firmly on team spirit, innovation, imagination and respect for the mountains. There will be exhibitions, lectures, debates, film screenings and awards in both Chamonix and Courmayeur – with this year’s coveted lifetime achievement award going to British mountaineer Chris Bonington. You can find out more on the Piolets d’Or website. Explore the mountains for yourself with a mountain guide – spring conditions are perfect for mixed ice and rock climbing, glacier hiking and ski touring.

Friday 17 to Sunday 19 of April 2015 Corsican Festival La Corse à Cham
For 3 days the streets of Chamonix will be drenched in the sounds, sights, flavours, and hopefully sunshine of Corsica! We’ll be treated to music concerts, dancing, market stalls, cookery classes and Corsican culture. Just take a stroll around town to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy some free entertainment.

Chamonix chaletWe have some great last minute accommodation deals during March and April, keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest deals or have a browse at our self-catered chalets and apartments and contact us to request our best offer!

Chamonix Summer Hiking : Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail!

With a week of heavy snow on the weather forecast it may seem like a strange time to be thinking about summer but we’re already planning ahead!

Mountain biking in ChamonixThere’s a bit of a cliché about Chamonix that people “come for the winter but stay for the summer” and then there’s no going back! It’s true that once you’ve seen Chamonix in summer you’ll be blown away – it’s just gorgeous. Ask any year-round residents which season they prefer and they’ll be hard pressed to give you an answer, even the hardcore snow addicts.

There are so many fantastic things to do – many of them you can also do in winter, such as paragliding over the mountains or ice climbing up frozen waterfalls but summer for us though is all about the fantastic mountain biking trails and wonderful hiking routes.

Hiking in ChamonixOne of the highlights of summer is going on a multiday route such as the Tour des Fiz or the Tour du Mont Blanc – hiking incredible Alpine trails all day, stopping for lunch in a meadow or beside a lake, staying overnight in a remote mountain hut! It’s certainly not too early to start planning as the more popular huts get booked up months in advance – you may find that if you leave it until spring, it’ll be too late.

Hiking in ChamonixWe offer all the classic Chamonix hikes, as well as some of our personal favourites, guided by fully qualified IMLs (International Mountain Leaders). We take care of all the organisation such as booking huts, route planning, transport, first aid, back-up plans in case of adverse weather, and so on.

Hiking with an IML carries many advantages beyond logistics; they know the area like the back of their hands and often have their own favourite spots or insider tips, they are mines of information about flowers, plants, and wildlife… and they ALWAYS carry an essential supply of chocolate.

Climbing Mont BlancIf the majestic sight of Mont Blanc gives you an itch to get to the top of it, then hire a guide and do one of our 2-3 day guided ascents. You can combine it with a pre-summit course if you like, to learn the essential climbing and rope skills to make a safe ascent. We also offer fully guided trips to other iconic peaks such as Eiger, Gran Paradiso and the Matterhorn – just get in touch to find out more.

Hiking in ChamonixIf you’d rather stay based in Chamonix and explore the gazillions of day hikes, think about timing your trip to coincide with one of the big summer events – you can search for Chamonix accommodation here.

Events in ChamonixThis year is the 150th anniversary of the “Golden Age of Alpinism” – 1865 was the year that mountaineering reached it’s peak (ahem, so to speak) with 65 first ascents across the Alps, 7 of them here in the Mont Blanc Massif. Many celebrations and special exhibitions are planned to mark the anniversary, as well as the usual highlights of the Marathon du Mont Blanc, World Climbing Championships, Bastille Day, Fete de la Musique, Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and many more. To be honest, you’ll struggle to find a week when there isn’t something going on but have a look at our Chamonix events guide to get an idea of what the summer lineup looks like.

Until then, we’re off to play in the snow – it’s still coming down thick and heavy outside!