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.
After many months of planning and construction work, the newest attraction at the Aiguille du Midi has been unveiled – The Tube.
The name might not sound very inspiring but the new structure certainly is. The Tube is a 32m viewing tunnel that circles around the central peak of the Aiguille du Midi, giving you a 360° tour of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Made mostly of steel panels and glass windows, you’ll be strolling around at over 3700m altitude, whilst taking in some of Europe’s most breathtaking views.
The Tube cost around 2.5 million euros and has taken about a year to build. The best news is that it is included in your Mont Blanc Multipass, so you don’t have to spend a single extra euro to try it out for yourself!
Your Chamonix summer lift pass includes all of the following at no extra cost:
Aiguille du Midi
Two cable cars up to the summit at 3842m
Viewing platforms looking out over some of the highest peaks in Europe
Step Into the Void – a glass cube suspended over a 1000m drop, do you dare to step into it?
L’Espace Vertical – the highest museum in the world!
The Tube – the newest visitor attraction in Chamonix
Montenvers & Mer de Glace
Montenvers Train – an historic rack and pinion train that takes you from Chamonix town up to the Mer de Glace glacier
Le Glaciorium – find out how the glacier developed and the geology of the area
Le Temple de la Nature – a quaint little natural history museum housed in an ancient stone building
Grotte de Glace – enter into the glacier itself to see the wonderful sculptures carved into the ice
Grand Hotel des Montenvers – a fine old 19th building where you can enjoy lunch on the terrace and admire the traditional Savoyard interior
Tramway du Mont Blanc
Follow in the footsteps of thousands of alpinists by taking this historic tram ride up through the forests and meadows of Les Houches to reach the Nid d’Aigle – the starting point for many a Mont Blanc summit expedition.
Luckily you don’t need ropes and crampons to get out and explore the gentle terrain at the foot of the glacier. The tram starts in Saint Gervais and there are various stops where you can access the many hiking trails that weave through this beautiful area.
You can either return to Saint Gervais by tram or take one of two cable cars directly down to the town of Les Houches, returning to Chamonix by bus or train.
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…
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. Find more details on Mont Blanc Unlimited here
The Mont Blanc Unlimited Early Bird Offer is only available until 27th November, so don’t delay! Book yours now and save big on your Chamonix lift pass this winter!
No sooner have the leaves started to change colour than we’re already hearing exciting rumours about what this winter will bring – we can’t confirm record-breaking earthshatteringly-epic amounts of powder (yet), but we can confirm the following:
New Ski Lifts at Brevent & Les Houches A new mini-funicular is being installed up at Brevent to whisk beginner skiers and snowboarders up from the top of the Planpraz gondola to the Verte 2000 green piste – this will make the Brevent slopes much more beginner-friendly and an easier option for families with small children. Les Houches has retired two of their oldest drag lifts, La Cha and Chamois, replacing them with a swish new chairlift called Les Melezes that will open up a whole new area for skiers and snowboarders. Brevent & Les Houches ski areas – find out more
New Snowparks at Les Grands Montets & Le Tour Le Tour unveils its brand spanking new snowpark – one of the biggest in Europe! 100,000m² of runs graded for all abilities, packed full of jumps and modules. Or you can relax and watch the fun from the Cool Zone – a chill-out area with sound system. Les Grands Montets has completely redesigned their snowpark to include two routes with tons of jumps, whoops and banked turns. The BMW route is 400m long with video and timer to record your run and relive the highlights afterwards, whereas the Enthusiast route is 800m and meet FIS competition standards. Les Grands Montets & Le Tour Ski areas – find out more
Bigger Ski Area with Mont Blanc Unlimited Lift Pass The Mont Blanc Unlimited just got even bigger and better with the addition of the Evasion ski area – now holders of the MBU can only only access the entire Chamonix Valley and Courmayeur in Italy, but also the wonderful ski slopes of Megeve, Saint-Gervais and Les Contamines! This not only busts open a massive natural playground but also gives us heaps more options on bad weather days. Mont Blanc Unlimited Lift Pass – find out what else is included
Better Public Transport & Night Buses Breaking news is that the winter bus timetable is to double its service, with buses running every half hour up and down the valley. Great news for party-animals is that the night bus will now run 4 times per night from 8:30pm until midnight. The Chamonix valley is fairly unique in that it consists of 4 separate ski areas, so an increase in buses is a definite bonus! Bus travel in Chamonix is free with your lift pass – get to know the different Chamonix areas here
As for the powder, the rumour mills are predicted that this winter could be THE winter… but then, they always say that!
You can keep up to date with weather forecasts, snow conditions and lift openings on our Chamonix Snow & Weather page.
The snow dances have paid off, prayers have been answered and bizarre weather rituals have been rewarded – it’s snowed!!!
Just as the Compagnie du Mont Blanc was surely starting to get a bit twitchy about this weekend’s scheduled lift openings, the clouds thickened and the skies whitened. Granted, it’s been a bit wet down in the valley but the mountains are now covered with a lovely blanket of crisp fresh snow – just in time! Have a quick peek at the webcams to see what conditions are like right now.
Lift openings have been confirmed for tomorrow, but with some open for pedestrians only. Les Grands Montets and Flegere will definitely be open to skiers and snowboarders – see here for details of where to go.
It’s starting to feel a lot more like winter now and to get right into the festive mood we’ll be popping along to the Chambelles Christmas Concert tonight. The lovely ladies will be leading us in song at La Lucarne (next to the ice rink) for an evening of dinner and drinks, carols and cheer.
Dinner is served from 7pm with a 2 course set menu for just 12€, or you can choose “à la carte” – visit the Chambelles website for more details on menu and reservations. The concert is due to start at 8:30pm, followed by (and most likely preceded by) drinks and merriment. The concert part of the evening is free, but donations on the door are very welcome and will be given to Community Action Nepal.
Also coming up this week is the Christmas Market, also at La Lucarne, on Saturday and Sunday. Local artisans and traders will have lots of goodies to tempt you with, perfect for last-minute Christmas shopping (or just for treating yourself…).
The big man himself will be in town on Tuesday, just to check we’ve all been good before he does the rounds on Christmas Eve. The arrival will begin with something a bit different – a giant mechanical figure striding the streets and leading a parade from Place Balmat (by the post office) to Place Mont Blanc (by the Galerie Alpina). There will be entertainment from 5pm to 6pm, culminating in the arrival of Father Christmas!
Remember, if you’re visiting Chamonix for Christmas or New Year there is plenty to do to make your holiday special. From ice climbing, to paragliding, to husky dog sledding – just drop us a line or visit our website to find out more. It’s also one of our busiest times of year though, so don’t hang about!
Have a fantastic Christmas and, if you see him, remember to ask Santa for some more snow x
Apparently patience is a virtue. If that’s true then our stockings will be chock-full of goodies from Santa this year after all the patience we’ve shown waiting for the ski season to open. Hopes were high earlier this week after some fresh snowfall and temperatures have definitely dropped but, alas, there’ll be no lifts open this weekend.
You can keep an eye on upcoming weather forecasts on our new Snow & Weather page, as well as checking lift openings and webcams for the latest real-time information.
So, the snow may not be here yet but Santa is! He’s set up his Christmas workshop beside the Mer de Glace and you can find him there every weekend from 2pm to 4pm in the run-up to Christmas. Entry to his workshop is included in your Montenvers train ticket.
Chamonix is getting very festive this weekend; the Christmas lights go on this evening at 5pm in the centre of town. There’ll be carolling and hot drinks to warm your cockles, as well as entertainment for the children.
Tomorrow evening the Chamonix ice skating club are putting on a free display at the ice rink, just turn up at 6:30pm and enjoy the show.
You’ll also find Santa in Servoz this Sunday (don’t know how he’s finding time to make all those toys) at the annual Christmas Fair. There will be Christmas trees on sale, mulled wine, cakes, various stands and the all important visit from Santa himself at 15.30pm. Excellent prizes will up for grabs in the raffle, tickets are 2€ each or 6 for 10€ and all proceeds are in aid of the local school.
To round off the weekend the lovely Chambelles ladies choir will be holding a carol concert at the Protestant church near to the train station on Sunday evening. Entry is free with donations being welcomed for Restos du Coeur, an excellent charity that provides food for those who can’t afford it. Starting from 6pm with mulled wine afterwards, everyone’s welcome to come and join in – get there early if you want a seat, Chambelles concerts are always packed out!
If you’re coming to Chamonix for the festive season then make it extra special with one of our fantastic family activities – fly over the snowy peaks on a parapente, drive your own team of huskies, or sledge down the slopes after dark on a paret ride. All great fun but don’t leave it too long as they’re booking up fast! Take a look at our Winter Activities page or contact us for more information.
So, no surprises here but it has been announced that all of the lifts will be opening next weekend (13th December). It had been hoped that Les Grands Montets and Les Houches would open tomorrow but until we get some more of the fluffy white stuff we’re going to have to wait it out. The new Aiguille du Midi cable car and Les Grands Montets gondola are all primed and ready to leap into action as soon as the weather changes. Snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow though, so keep those fingers (and toes, and whatever else you’ve got) crossed that it keeps on coming.
The ski season might not be in full swing yet but the apres-ski season is well underway! La Terrasse flings its doors open tonight after a refurb, under new management and with a new team behind the bar. Get there early for Happy Hour deals from 4pm until 7pm, then specials all night on shots and Jager Bombs. Live music with The Elements from 10pm and Desperado on tap – it’s probably a blessing in disguise that the lifts aren’t opening tomorrow, to be honest.
One of our favourite restaurants reopens tonight. L’Impossible is something a bit out of the ordinary – organic, local, seasonal produce beautifully prepared with a strong emphasis on healthy eating. You’ll find lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options (although there is plenty to satisfy meat-lovers as well). Run by a family of effusively warm and friendly Italians, the food is delicious and the wine list is excellent – we’ve had many a fine night there.
Anyone suffering withdrawal from tempura squid and duck teriyaki will be relieved to hear that Munchies reopens again tonight, with all the usual favourites on the menu as well as some new additions with ingredients that sound so exotic that it’s always a bit of a mystery what you’re actually ordering – nasu dengaku anyone? Whatever you get, it’s always good.
There are a few changes in the air this winter, our little birds tell us that what was the Mix Bar on the Rue des Moulins will be transformed into a sushi restaurant and cocktail bar. They reopen next week on Friday 12th December with a new name (classified information so far) and a brand new look – will it be as good as Satsuki? There’s only one way to find out… pass the chopsticks please!
The tiny pizzeria on Rue des Moulins only opened last year and quickly gained a loyal following for their deliciously thin and crispy freshly-baked pizzas. Given that the restaurant was smaller than your average ski locker, they’ve expanded this season to provide seating for up to 30 hungry gannets. No word on if they’re licensed yet but they were always happy for you to BYO.
There are also mutterings of the old No Escape bar being turned into a swanky new restaurant, along the lines of l’Atmosphere – watch this space for further details.
Despite the lack of snow the Nordic Monster Test is still planning to go ahead as scheduled tomorrow at the Foyer de Fond opposite the MBC. This is your chance to borrow some top-of-the-range kit and have a go at cross-country skiing with the guys from Ravanel Sports. Even if the tracks aren’t going to be up to scratch there is always a fun atmosphere with mulled wine, cakes and cool stuff to be won! Pop along if you’re interested in signing up for lessons this winter or in joining the ski de fond club, they’re a very friendly bunch.
We’ll let you know as soon as we have any more information on snow conditions or ski area openings – keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest updates.