Top Things to do in Chamonix in Summer

As the ski areas close and the snow starts to melt away, Chamonix transforms into a bustling town full of visitors, who come here mostly to admire the views. But it’s not just the views that attract people here, after all Chamonix is known for being a hub for extreme sports & outdoor activities.

During the summer months there are so many things to do here. You can be as active or as relaxed as you like on a visit to Chamonix; take a trip on the cable car to the highest gourmet restaurant in town at the Aiguille du Midi, take a ride on one of two rack & pinion trains or simply enjoy people watching one of the many restaurants terraces in the valley. For the more adventurous of you, you could climb Mont Blanc, fly over glaciers in an unforgettable helicopter ride, go for a glacier hike on the longest glacier in France, try one of the via ferrata courses or you could spend days in the back-country on some of Chamonix’s iconic mountaineering routes staying at mountain refuges along the way.

Take a look through our list of the best things to do in Chamonix this summer, and if you haven’t booked your holiday yet, we’re sure there will be plenty to tempt you to do that right here… Timetables, prices and more information can be found via the links below.


Aiguille du Midi

Chamonix’s number 1 tourist attraction is the Aiguille du Midi, which you can visit on a two-stage cable car. You’ll be whisked up to 3842 metres above sea level, where you can get panoramic views of Mont Blanc from the terraces and look back on the Chamonix Valley, way down below. From here you can watch skiers and mountaineers descending the arete onto the infamous Valley Blanche or heading up to climb to the summit of Mont Blanc. At the mid-way change over for the cable cars, you can go parapenting (more on this below).

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Step into the Void

Also at the Aiguille du Midi is a thrilling experience “Step into the Void” where you can step into a glass box, suspended 1000 metres above a drop over the rock faces below. You can access this via the summit elevator at the very top of the Midi for some truly unforgettable views (if you’re brave enough!)

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Panoramic Mont Blanc Gondola

Also at the Aiguille du Midi, you can take a trip across to Italy, soaring over the glaciers on the Panoramic gondola. It’s only open in summer and if you’re looking to do something a bit different, take the up and over experience – Start on the Aiguille du Midi Cable car, head across on the Panoramic gondola to the top of Helbronner on the Italian side and descend into Courmayeur on the Skyway Monte Bianco Cable car. Then pick up a bus in Courmayeur and head back into Chamonix via the Mont Blanc tunnel.


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Montenvers Train & Mer de Glace

Experience the best views of France’s longest glacier at the Montenvers – Mer de Glace site. Take the iconic rack and pinion train from Chamonix centre all the way to the top at 1913m, from where you can descend by cable car and around 400 steps to visit the ice cave within the glacier. There are a couple of restaurants, a mountain refuge and a gift shop up here as well as a glacier exhibit and  crystal gallery. From here you can access the Mer de Glace for ice climbing, mountaineering routes, glacier walks and a number of hiking routes (more on these below).


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Tramway du Mont Blanc

Chamonix has another famous rack and pinion train line, this time down in Les Houches, connecting the town of St Gervais with this part of the Chamonix Valley. The Tramway du Mont Blanc normally opens for summer in mid June, and plenty of mountaineers use it to access one of the start points for summit attempts on Mont Blanc. It’s more popular for non-mountaineering visitors to take a ride to enjoy the fantastic views, or to access some of the many walking routes in this area.


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Climbing, Mountaineering, Bouldering & Via Ferrata

The Chamonix Valley offers climbers and alpinists of every level of skill and experience something to tackle, and it’s renowned as a place that offers some of the best climbing in the world. There are plenty of places to go bouldering, ice climbing, trad climbing and there are a couple of family friendly crags with sport climbing routes at Gaillands and down in Les Houches.  Les Houches also has an indoor climbing wall that you can access on rainy days or if you are just looking to practice indoors. There are in the region of 100 routes ranging up to 22 metres in height and from 4 to 8c in grade.

There are a couple of Via Ferrrata routes to try out too, one at Flégère and one down in Passy. You can hire harnesses and special carabiners at most sports shops in Chamonix and going with a guide is totally optional. The Climbing World Cup comes to Chamonix each summer too, with lead & speed climbing competitors battling it out to become champions – an event not to miss!


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Hiking / Mountain Walks

The Chamonix Valley is interlaced with lots of walking routes, from the valley floor up to higher altitude paths, taking you to stunning mountain lakes, the edge of glaciers, waterfalls and stunning ridge walks. Two of the most famous (and therefore most popular) long distance hiking itineraries to do here are the Tour du Mont Blanc, which circumnavigates Western Europe’s highest mountain, and the Haute Route, which links Chamonix to Zermatt in Switzerland. There are plenty of family friendly, less difficult walks to do too, for example taking you for a stroll along the Arve river or up to a small hillside cafe (Floria) near the valley floor.

Have a chat to one of the guide companies we work closely with to enquire about prices and availability for walking guides – Chamonix Experience / Evolution 2 Chamonix. Or simply pick up a map and trail information from the tourist office, or ask any of our team members for advice.


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Trail Running

Chamonix is a mecca for trail runners, who come here in their droves to experience high altitude trails and to compete in some of the toughest and longest races in the world. Each year the UTMB (which is actually made up of 5 different length races), The Marathon du Mont Blanc (consisting of 8 different races) and the Trail des Aiguille Rouges (2 races) bring runners here from every corner of the globe. Of course if you’re not at the level of running Ultra Marathons, you can still enjoy the many trails around the Chamonix valley at your own pace. A couple of our team are seasoned trail runners, so please ask us if you’ve got any questions.


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Bungee Jumping

If you’ve got a head for heights and want to see what it feels like to drop 90 metres into a tree-lined gorge, then head to nearby St Gervais where you can bungee jump off the viaduct. You can take the train, bus or drive to get there. (Please note if you’re taking the train you’ll have to pay the full fare from Chamonix to St Gervais, as your guest card only allows free travel to Servoz).


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Mountain Biking

Chamonix has two dedicated bike parks, one in Les Houches and one at Le Tour, plus lots of natural trails and paths, taking you into neighbouring Switzerland or to other hamlets in the Chamonix Valley like Servoz & Vallorcine. If you’re tempted to try mountain biking for the first time or are looking for family friendly trails, there are plenty of options for those too. You can hire bikes from Legend CHX, Slash, Zero G & Intersport and MTB guides with Evolution 2 Chamonix. Ask us if you’ve got any questions about Mountain Biking in Chamonix.


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Skydive

Jump out of a perfectly good helicopter over Mont Blanc at a height of around 5000 metres above sea level. Skydiving is definitely an experience you won’t forget in a hurry with the incredible mountains of the Mont Blanc massif filling your vision and you’ll get photos and/or a video to remind you of your experience.


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Road Cycling

Hire a bike from one of the many hire shops in the Chamonix Valley and explore some of the classic routes around the area. If you’re bike touring through the area, we have some great apartments for you to stay in, some of which have their own garage where you can store your bikes securely overnight.


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Horse Riding

You can actually ride horses all year round in Chamonix (although it’s obviously a lot warmer in summer) with trekking experiences available from half days up to several days long. Discover hidden corners of the Chamonix valley with friends, family or colleagues. One of our team is an experienced horse rider, so if you have any questions, please ask us!


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Rafting, Canyoning & Watersports

The river Arve that runs through the centre of Chamonix offers all kinds of water-based activities, including rafting, hydro-speeding and canoe rafting. The rafting in Chamonix is on low -level rapids, so is family friendly and not very intimidating, but if you’re looking for more high-adrenaline rapids, you can nip through the Mont Blanc Tunnel into Italy, where the Dora Baltea river and grade 4 white water awaits. Canyoning is also really popular in summer, it’s a great way to explore parts of the Chamonix valley that you may not have been to before as well as a nice way to cool off from the heat of the summer sun.


Paragliging 2Paragliding / Parapenting

See the Chamonix valley from a totally different perspective, 1000 metres above the ground on a tandem paragliding flight. After a short running take off, the wing lifts you and your pilot from the ground and you fly across the valley to enjoy some truly spectacular views. There are various take off points around the valley and different prices may apply for each location. If you’re lucky you may be allowed to take the controls..


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Glacier Walks

Summer is the time to hire a guide and head out onto one of Chamonix’s many glaciers. Explore the Mer de Glace, the Albert Premier glacier or the Valley Blanche up close and learn about glaciers in the Chamonix Valley from your guide. They can help you organise any additional equipment you might need too. Speak to our friends at Chamonix Experience or Evolution 2 for more information.


Helicopter flights

Helicopter Flights

Soar over Chamonix’s glaciers and see the impressive mountains of the Mont Blanc Massif from the comfort of a 6-seater helicopter. Flights of 4 different durations are available, each one taking slightly different routes around the mountains. It really is an unforgettable experience. You’ll find the CMBH helicopter base at the foot of the Grands Montets ski area where there’s also a lovely restaurant in the woods (La Cremerie du Glacier) to grab a bite to eat and a drink.


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Treetop Adventure Courses

Chamonix has three different treetop adventure courses to choose from, each with routes of varying difficulty and heights; The Accro Park in Gaillands, The Magic Forest in Les Tines and the Forest of Mont Blanc in Les Houches (Coupeau). Equipment can be hired on site and there’s also a snack restaurant next to the Gaillands park.


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Gorges de la Diosaz

One of Chamonix’s many natural wonders, the Gorges de la Diosaz are a short train ride away in the pretty village of Servoz (you get free train travel to Servoz with your carte d’hote guest card). A wooden walkway takes you deep into a natural chasm in the earth, past plunging cascades and dripping rock formations. It’s suitable for young children but not advisable with a pram or pushchair, or for those who are less mobile as there are lots of steps.


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Tennis & Squash

There are plenty of places to play tennis around the Chamonix valley. At the central sports centre there are 2 covered tennis courts, 2 squash courts and 8 clay courts. In Les Houches there are 6 outdoor tennis courts and in Servoz there are two.

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Beach Volley Ball

Also at the main Chamonix tennis centre is a Beach Volley ball court which you can play on by the hour. Find current information & prices.


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Paradis des Praz

A woodland paradise, perfect for families with small children can be found behind the golf course in Les Praz. There’s a safe paddling lake with rope swings and stepping stones, pony rides, playground, kiosk serving snacks and drinks, signposted hikes.
It’s free entry, although you are encouraged to buy refreshments from the kiosk if you want to make use of the picnic tables and toilet facilities.


Ice Hockey 2Ice Hockey Matches & Ice Skating

Watch Chamonix’s local hockey team Les Pionniers compete in an evening hockey match at the ice rink in Chamonix centre (dates in red are played in Chamonix). Tickets can be bought on the door and it makes for an alternative and fun night of entertainment. Or head out onto the ice yourselves for a skate; you can hire skates on site for a small fee and little children can borrow the balance penguins for stability. Discounts are available with your carte d’hôte travel cards.


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Dr Zhivago Horse & Carriage Rides

Take a trip around the centre of Chamonix, or further into Les Praz on ‘Dr Zhivago’s’ horse drawn carriage. This charmingly decorated carriage has become a much loved attraction in the centre of Chamonix and offers a relaxing way to explore the local area. You’ll find him parked up outside Brasserie L’M and you pay him directly for a trip.


Spa St GervaisMassage, Spas & Wellbeing

Enjoy some pampering treatments, a restorative massage or a spa day at one of Chamonix’ many hotel spas like the Aiglons, the Heliopic or the Park Hotel Suisse. Nearby you can also enjoy thermal springs and thermal baths in St Gervais and across the border in Italy, at the Pre St Didier resort.


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Alpine Coaster

The Alpine coaster in Chamonix’s leisure park is great fun for all ages and can be found next to Planards beginner ski area. At over 1300 metres long, you can go as fast as you dare on the sleds as it’s up to you when to use the brakes. Go solo or share a sled with a friend.

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Children’s Leisure Park

On the same site as the alpine coaster is a leisure park designed with kids in mind. It has slides, trampolines, mini motorobikes, a water splash, a giant swing, a loop the loop, mini diggers, a carousel and lots of outdoor games to keep the children entertained. There’s a restaurant and bar on site too.


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Outdoor Swimming Pool & Leisure Centre

Chamonix has a 50 metre outdoor swimming pool plus a 25 metre indoor swimming pool, a separate children’s pool for children of 6 months to 3 years old, water slides and massage water jets. Join a water aerobics class, come for a swim or to use the gym inside the leisure centre. Or if you’re staying with us at Apartment Beausite you’ll have access to a roof top pool that’s just for residents, with direct views of Mont Blanc. A short drive down the valley will bring you to Lake Passy, where you can paddleboard, enjoy a BBQ on the beach, sunbathe & swim. There’s a special area roped off with lifeguards at one end but the rest is for open water swimming.


 

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Photography & Discovery Walks

Discover hidden areas in the Chamonix valley and learn about its history with photographer and guide Teresa Kaufman. Learn some top photography tips along the way as you take interesting photos of the locals, flora and fauna.


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St Bernard Breeding Kennels 

Learn about this iconic breed of mountain dogs at their breeding kennels in Servoz, not far from the centre of Chamonix. A typical visit last an hour and there’s a souvenir shop on site so you can take home your very own furry friend.


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Merlet Animal Park

Keeping on the theme of animals, up above Les Houches is the Merlet animal park that you can visit to see lots of local wildlife. They have marmottes, ibex deer, chamois, mouflon goats, llama, roe and fallow deer. It typically opens from the beginning of May to the end of September.


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Golf

Chamonix’s golf club lies in view of Mont Blanc in the village of Les Praz. It’s an 18 hole course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr and features numerous bunkers and water hazards. We have a number of fabulous chalets not far from the golf course; Chalet Capricorne, Chalet Betaix, Chalet Amelie or Chalet Olivier.


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Paintball & Laser Game

There are a couple of places where you can lay shoot-em-ups in the forest in the Chamonix valley, at Bois du Bouchet (minimum 12 years old to take part) and Les Tines (minimum 10 years old). Laser Game is similar but instead of firing paint pellets you shoot lasers with an infrared sight gun so you get less bruises…


 

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Casino

Chamonix has its own casino where you can enjoy a mixture of traditional table games as well as electronic roulette and around 70 slot machines. It’s open all year round and contains a bar and restaurant.


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Art Galleries

Chamonix has lots of art galleries and workshops, from traditional landscape painters and photographers, to retro decorations to more modern and pop-art style work, sculptures, postcards and prints. A few of the hotels and restaurants also feature art works that you can take home as a momento of your time here. There are also occasional art classes that take place throughout the year.


 

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Markets

In the centre of Chamonix at Place Mont Blanc, there’s a regular Saturday market that takes place year round, from 07:30 to 12:30. Markets also take place in Argentiere every Sunday and every Wednesday in Les Houches in the summer months and occasionally one pops up in Chamonix Sud too.


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Wine tasting / Cocktail tasting / Whisky tasting

Cha Cha Cha” has in the region of 800 wines plus a great election of whiskey, rums and other spirits which you can buy to take home, or try before you buy on one of their popular tasting evenings. Or just pop in to enjoy a glass of wine in a relaxed atmosphere.


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Shopping

Chamonix has a great selection of outdoor clothing and gear specialists, as well as high-end clothing retailers, shoe shops, supermarkets, souvenirs and homeware. We’re not going to list them all here, but take a stroll down Chamonix’s pedestrinaised shopping area and you’re sure to find something to tempt you into a purchase or two.


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Day Trips – to other parts of France / Italy / Switzerland – Take a day trip from Chamonix to explore some of the best of the surrounding area;

France Lake PassyAnnecy, Yvoire

Italy Courmayeur, Aosta

Switzerland Verticalp funicular & railway, Martigny, Montreux, Large Hadron Collider (CERN)


 

If this has convinced you that coming to visit Chamonix in summer is a good idea (and why wouldn’t it?) take a look at our great choice of chalets and apartments, which you can book directly online for week-long stays. For short breaks and longer duration holidays, please contact us for a quote

Mountain Base Locations, Chamonix

 


 

 

Photo Credits: Chamonix Tourist Office, Lonely Planet, Chamonix Parc Loisirs, Teresa Kaufman, Evolution 2, Chamonix Experience, CMBH, Chamonix Parc Loisirs, Pre St Didier Spa, Escalade Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc skydive, Verticalp, Paint Ball Cham, Hine Ink, Merlet Animal park, Bungee Mont Blanc Elastique, Cham Aventure, Les Pionnieurs.

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Make the most of Summer 2018 with a Mont Blanc multi pass

As we wave goodbye to another winter season here in Chamonix, we seem to have missed spring all together and moved straight into summer – temperatures are already hitting over 20 degrees on a regular basis and the snow is melting fast.

Once the ski areas have closed, the lift operator switches over to summer multi-pass sales, which you will be able to buy from 2nd May to 30th November 2018 inclusive.

Validity Areas

Activity map for the Mont Blanc Multi-pass
Areas covered by the Summer Multi-pass in Chamonix Mont Blanc

The multi-pass is a great way to access the mountains and various visitor attractions in the Chamonix Valley.  The areas that the multi-pass covers are as follows:

  • Brévent / Flégère
  • Grands Montets
  • Balme – Le Tour / Vallorcine
  • Aiguille du Midi & Step into the Void
  • *Montenvers Mer de Glace (train and site access)
  • *Tramway du Mont-Blanc
  • Les Houches
  • Les Bossons Chairlift
  • St Gervais (Evasion Mont Blanc area)
  • Megève (Evasion Mont Blanc area)

*The Panoramic Mont Blanc gondola at the Aiguille du Midi will be closed for the whole summer to undergo repairs.

*The Tramway du Mont Blanc will not stop at the Nid d’Aigle stop due to ongoing construction work.

*The ice cave at the Mer de Glace will be closed on selected dates – see timetables below for more info).

Take a look at the various timetables and operating hours for these areas to help plan your days out.

Added Extras

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Not only does your Chamonix summer pass give you access to all of the above, but you’ll also benefit from:

You’ll also get access to the Chamonix valley bus service for free (timetables).

2018 Multi-Pass Prices & Special Offers

Summer prices multi-pass

Family passes allow 2 adults &  children a discount of up to 20% from the public rates if you buy them online (passes must be bought at least 3 days in advance of your arrival and be for a minimum of 1 or 2 consecutive days or 3 non consecutive days). Extra children up to a maximum of 3 can be added on for free.

There are also special online rates for the Aiguille du Midi and Montevers Mer de Glace (between 1st May & 16th June 2018) and for mountain bikers and parapenters all summer. Contact us for more information on these.

Note that passes are hands-free and cost 3 euros each. They are non-refundable but you can re-charge them for subsequent summer or winter visits.

Use our online form to order your Chamonix summer lift passes

Mountain Base Summer Top Tips

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  • Buying a multi-pass in advance through us means that you don’t have to queue at the ticket offices each day you want to use the lifts. We’ll have your hands-free passes ready for when you arrive at your accommodation, so when you’re ready to use them you go straight to the turnstile or gate to access the lifts.
  • If you’re visiting in July or August, we’d highly recommend you book in advance for the Aiguille du Midi or the Tramway du Mont Blanc. You can do this at any of the cash desks or online (once the tickets go on sale) and if you already have your Mont Blanc Multi-pass it’s free (pay 2 euros if not).
  • For ultimate flexibility we’d suggest you buy the non-consecutive day passes, especially if you’re here for longer than a week.
  • Our team includes keen trail runners, cyclists, hikers and mountain bikers, so if you’ve got any questions about activities and things to do in Chamonix in Summer, get in touch and we’d be happy to share more top tips and answer any more questions that you may have.

Book Your Accommodation

We pride ourselves on offering a high standard of properties around the Chamonix valley. Each apartment or chalet has its own parking, free WiFi and one hairdryer per bathroom. All linen and towels are included in the price, as well as an end of stay clean.

We’ve got live prices and availability on our website, so it’s easy for you to see what your options are based on your dates of travel and the size of your group. You can book a one week stay directly through the site, or for shorter stays (minimum 4 nights) or longer duration holidays, please contact us directly for a quote.

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See you soon!

Autumn Lift Openings & Things to Do in Chamonix this Week

No sooner have we had our first dusting of snow than the lifts are open again for the autumn half-term holidays! Brevent gondola and cable car open tomorrow morning at 9am – here are our favourite things to do in Chamonix, both on and off the mountain.

Photography in Chamonix, guided walking toursDiscovery Photo Walk
Take a guided tour with a difference and find all the hidden corners and secluded backstreets of Chamonix. Teresa has lived in the valley for long enough to know all its secrets and you’ll see whole different aspect with her as your guide. You can either enjoy the walk for its own sake or bring along your camera for some expert tips on getting some great shots – Teresa is also a professional photographer. This Thursday she is visiting the historic Hotel Mont Blanc and meeting their Michelin starred chef, as he invites you into his kitchen to see him at work. For 50€ you will also enjoy a gourmet lunch at the 5* hotel.
Discovery Photo Walks in Chamonix – find out more

Paragliding in Chamonix parapenteParagliding
With two paragliding sites open in the valley this week there are plenty of flight options! You can either take off from the grassy plateaux of Brevent and soar along the valley right opposite Mont Blanc, or take to the skies from Aiguille du Midi and drift over the glaciers of the Vallée Blanche. Either way, you’ll enjoy amazing views and be able to see exactly where the snow has fallen in the past few days.
Paragliding in Chamonix – find out more

Mer de Glace ChamonixGlacier Hike
The Aiguille du Midi cable car and Montenvers train are both open until the end of November, giving access to the Vallée Blanche and the Mer de Glace glaciers. What could put you in the mood for winter more than exploring the icy wonderland that lies between the seracs and crevasses of the Mont Blanc valley? Roped up and accompanied by a guide, you’ll learn how to move safely across the ice using crampons and ice axes to discover another world.
Glacier Hikes in Chamonix – find out more

Lac du BreventLakes & Mountains
Brevent is a great area to explore with a network of hiking trails that lead to a number of beautiful alpine lakes. Now that winter is almost upon us many animals are starting to prepare for hibernation and you’re likely to see marmots bumbling around on the rocks and chamois coming down from the higher terrain to be closer to the forest. You can either grab a trail map and find your own way, or go on a guided hike with an IML who can show you all the very best sights and point out local flora and fauna.
Mountain Hiking in Chamonix – find out more

Hiking, Flying & Climbing in Chamonix : Autumn Activities

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Chamonix. Yes, summer is glorious and winter is magical, but the golden glow and tranquillity of autumn can’t be beaten.

Autumn in Chamonix

You see a real difference in the seasons here in the Alps – each one is distinct and comes with its own colour palette. At the moment the leaves in Chamonix are ranging from fiery red to deep green, while the mountains are carpeted with a thick bed of purple and orange heather that will soon become covered over with snow.
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Autumn in Chamonix Le BuetOne of the best things about autumn is how peaceful it is; you can hike for hours and barely see another soul, which means that you are far more likely to spot alpine wildlife such as chamois, bouquetin and marmots.

The lifts may be closed but there are plenty of wonderful hiking trails lower down in the valley; you can hike the Petit Balcons between Chamonix and Argentiere, or ramble around the lovely old stone chalets in Vallorcine. The trail from Le Buet to the Refuge de Bérard is stunning at this time of year and if you don’t mind a bit of uphill then the rolling alpages of Le Tour and Les Houches are definitely worth the effort.
Hiking in Chamonix

Autumn in Chamonix hiking, biking and climbing

There may be an autumnal nip in the air but it’s not too cold (yet) to go rock climbing. The Chamonix valley is full of low, middle and high altitude crags that get the sun on them at different times of day so there’s always somewhere to go. If you’re new to the area or a beginner to climbing, then consider hiring a climbing guide for the day. They’ll take you to all the best spots and give you invaluable tips on improving your technique. And, at this time of year, you’ll never find yourself having to wait for a route at the foot of a busy crag.
Climbing in Chamonix

Autumn activities in Chamonix climbing

The only lifts that remain open at the moment are the Aiguille du Midi and Montenvers; you can get a return lift pass that covers both and the hike from Plan de l’Aiguille across to Montenvers is one of our all-time favourites. Parapenting is a fantastic way to see the Chamonix valley in all its glory – floating past high peaks and over glaciers as you drift back down to earth. At this time of year you can still fly from the Plan de l’Aiguille at 2317m, or from the summit of Aiguille du Midi at 3842m.
Paragliding in Chamonix

Paragliding in Chamonix parapente

The Brevent lift will soon be reopening for the All Saint’s holiday (half-term for many schools) at the end of October (17/10/15-06/11/15), opening up more hiking trails, rock climbing crags and parapente take-off sites.
Lifts in Chamonix

Autumn in Chamonix Le TourYou can find great last minute deals and low season rates on accommodation in Chamonix at this time of year, so come and see what all the fuss is about!
Accommodation in Chamonix

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 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.