Chamonix Mont Blanc

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Haute-Savoie (74) > Mont-Blanc > Chamonix Mont Blanc


  1. Chamonix Mont-Blanc History
  2. Off Piste Routes
    1. Grand Montets
    2. Domaine de Balme (Le Tour) Sector
  3. Travel
  4. Accomodation
  5. Restaurants and Bars
  6. Shopping
  7. Guides and Instructors
  8. Useful Information


The ski resort of Chamonix Mont Blanc is situated in the Mont-Blanc area of the Haute-Savoie department in the Northern Alps region. It is part of the Skipass Mt-Blanc ski domain. The main tourist ski passes for the Chamonix area are called 'Chamonix Le Pass' which gives access to all the lower lifts but not the Aiguille du Midi or the top station of the Grands Montets nor Les Houches, or 'Mont Blanc Unlimited' which gives access to all the lifts in the Chamonix commune as well as Les Houches and Courmayeur Italy. Unlimited season passes also now include Verbier and that entire 4 Vallées ski area in Switzerland.

The ski areas in the Chamonix valley are mainly unconnected and are Les Houches, Le Brévent, La Flégère (Brévent and Flégère are the only 2 which are connected), Les Grands Montets and the Domaine du Balme (previously known as Le Tour but now also accesible from the Vallorcine side). The Aiguille du Midi is not a ski area, but is a cable car lift which serves a large amount of high altitude mountainous glaciated terrain, completely wild and uncontrolled for avalanches, and often used for off piste skiing or touring on itineraries such as the Vallée Blanche, Toulé Glacier, Aiguille du Tacul (Periades glacier), Col d'Entreves, Mont Blanc etc.. It also accesses various extreme skiing couloirs such as the Cosmiques Couloir, one of the Poubelles (the others is in the Grandes Montets ski area), Eugster, Volger, Mallory etc..

There are also separate beginners tickets available for independent slopes at Les Planards, Le Savoy (both in Chamonix), Les Chosalets (Argentiere), La Vormaine (in Le Tour) and La Poya (in Vallorcine).

The lift served area extends from 1035 metres to 3842 metres. There are 147 km of lift served runs. There are 42 km of cross country trails.

Current lift openings, avalanche danger posted for each area, weather report and web cams of the domaines are found on the Compagnie du Mont Blanc website at

Webcam view of the Massif du Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley
Webcam view of the Massif du Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley from
  • Events

The official Chamonix tourism site at maintains a listing of all events.

  • Le Kandahar - FIS World Cup Downhill

This event comes to Les Houches (near Chamonix) every few years. The last couple managed to be rained out in January ...

  • Freeride World Tour

This event skipped Chamonix for several years, but will be back in late January 2010 at the Brévent.

  • The Boss des Bosses

This is a mainly english seasonaires event which is a bumps race between various resorts nearby including Verbier, Meribel, Zermatt, Courcheval, Val d'Isere and Chamonix and is held mid-March usually accompanied by music and an on piste BBQ.

  • Freeride Dayz

The lift company usually throws an end of the season party in May called the Freeride Dayz although it is only 1 day and no longer offers any free skiing (it used to be several days and represented the time when the top station of the Grands Montets was made free to all, rather than having to pay the old system of €3 per ride on it).

Off Piste Routes

The little blue book: Chamonix Hors Piste/Off Piste is an excellent guide to the area with great photos, maps and advice in French and English. French IGN map 3630 OT also covers the whole area at 1:25,000.

Here are some GPS KMZ files for looking at with Google Earth. Most lifts are included. Tracks shown include pistes and off-piste routes, some over challenging terrain: don't just follow them!

Aiguille du Midi Sector

Grand Montets Sector

  1. Grand Montets

Le Brévent Sector

Le Brévent to La Flégère

La Flégère Sector

Domaine de Balme (Le Tour) Sector

  1. Domaine de Balme


Nearest Airports

Road Access

  • A40 to N205 (Autoroute Blanche) from Geneva via Sallanches
  • Tunnel du Mont Blanc N205 from Italy's E25 / A5 from Aosta via Courmayeur
  • N506 from Switzerland's route 203 (via Martigny)

There is a radar at Les Houches heading down the valley (90km zone).

There is a new radar when leaving the airport at Geneva before reaching Annemasse on the way to Chamonix


Connections from St Gervais France or Martigny Switzerland to the local line, which runs from Vallorcine to St Gervais

Stops in the Chamonix commune: (Those within walking distance to ski lifts indicated with **):

  • Les Bossons
  • Les Pelerins
  • Les Moussoux
  • Aiguille du Midi** (Aiguille du Midi)
  • Chamonix (center)** (Le Brévent, Aiguille du Midi, Les Planards)
  • Les Praz** (La Flégère)
  • Les Tines
  • La Joux
  • Argentiere** (Les Grandes Montets, Les Chosalets)
  • Montroc
  • Le Buet** (La Poya)
  • Vallorcine** (Le Tour - now called 'Domaine de Balme')


Airport Transfers

  • Alpybus is the lowest cost transfer company serving the Chamonix valley from Geneva. It has been established for several years now and runs a frequent scheduled service throughout summer and winter seasons.
  • Chamonix Valley Transfers is a booking agency which will find you the most convenient pick-up time from the local transfer companies and at the best price


Bellevue Alpine Lodge

Traditional gite style hotel situated in beautiful Vallorcine, in the Chamonix valley, 20 minutes drive from the resort. The lodge is one of the most charming hotels in Vallorcine and consists of 5 bedrooms and four bathrooms, accommodating up to 15 people. Half board and B&B options.Bellevue Alpine Lodge

Prime Accommodation Chamonix

Self-catering apartments in Chamonix Mont Blanc. Fabulous alpine surroundings. Easy access to ski lifts and mountain railway. Sleeps 2-4. Ideal accommodation for couples, small families and groups of friends.

Chamonix Rentals

Offers a spacious, luxury, one bedroom, apartment available for private rental in the heart of Chamonix Mont Blanc - Chamonix Rental

Maison de L'Argoat

Recently renovated to a high and modern standard this traditional mountain villa contains three luxurious apartments providing splendid accommodation for a memorable holiday.

Arctic Beaver Holidays

Arctic Beaver have a large selection of both catered and self catered chalets and apartments for your holiday in Chamonix Catered Chalets in Chamonix - catered & self-catered chalets, studios & apartments

Mountain Base offer a range of independently owned apartments and chalets throughout the Chamonix Valley. Catered or self-catered, from Les Houches, through Chamonix itself, to Argentière and le Tour, we have the property for you. Please take a look for yourself on

Mont-Blanc Retreats

Catered or self actered we have everything you need to make the most of your break. We take the hard work out of planning your holiday so you can put all your efforts into having a good time! Come and see us at:

Ventoria has a wide selection of self-catered apartments and chalets in Chamonix town centre and the surrounding villages. For best views and hospitality check out our Chamonix accommodation.

Alpine Ski Holidays

If you are looking for accommodation in chamonix, the please see the following link where you can find a whole host of ski holidays in Chamonix. We've also reviewed skiing in Chamonix for beginner, intermediate and advanced. We've also got a number of chamonix web cam giving views from Mont Blanc, Aiguille du Midi and one of Chamonix town centre. Enjoy


Private 2 bedroom apartment in downtown Chamonix:

Self Catered Chalets

Beautiful chalet in Les Praz, Chamonix, sleeps ten or twelve, walking distance to the Flegere lift: Chalet La Foret


  • Auberge du Bois Prin, 69 chem Hermine. The chic and trendy place to stay and to eat in Chamonix.
  • La Savoyarde, 28 rte Moussoux. Traditional Chamonix chalet under the Brevent with spendid views of le Mont Blanc.

Cheap Places

There is also the ski lodge by the Brevent lifts - it is around 10 quid a night but you do get what you pay for :-).


  • Holiday Rentals site lists many apartments for rent by the week in Chamonix and other French ski resorts. Well designed site, easy to use with loads of information and pictures of the properties.

Mountain Sanctuary

Restaurants and Bars

Here is a list of some of the bars to visit (and some to avoid):

Bars and Pubs

  • MBC - Micro Brasserie de Chamonix Chamonix Micro-Brewery. Also serves great north american style bar food, reservations recommended to get a table for dinner. Very very popular apres ski with occaisional bands and DJs, great mix of French locals, tourists, ex-pats and seasonaires. Only good beer in town.
  • The Jekyll - bit of a seasonaire spot but you get a few stars we saw Pierce Brosnan in here while he was filming 007. Also has food.
  • Le Derapage - hidden away in the center of town, quiet early in the night, can get crowded later. Plain old bar owned by Brits.
  • Le Terrasse - art nouveau building, sometimes has live music, snacks available
  • South Bar - Cham Sud Swedish hangout
  • Chambre Neuf - great apres ski bar near the Chamonix train station, Swedish owned, appeals to seasonaires.
  • Le Choucas - mixed crowd of French/English-speakers music with a postage stamp dance 'space', a lot of tables, packed in season
  • Bar'd Up - the last old survivor of the once vibrant Rue du Moulin, raucus, noisy, Aussie style surf bar with DJ

Bars and Pubs we love to hate - the new ominous trend

  • Le Privilege - Hate the name, hate the concept. Doesn't allow dogs (how unfrench can you get) and advertises in writing for 'Girls only' to apply for work there - sexist as well as illegal hiring practices. Hmm - run by same people who own Le Garage with it's famous 'lingerie shows'. Ugh.
  • No Escape - the name could not be more fitting. Chamonix now has No Escape from snotty city bred tossers who want to turn the town into a place only for the wealthy out to impress with attitude rather than cojones. Decor truly un-alpine and un eco friendly plastic and glitz. Sticks out like a sore thumb. Go here if you miss Paris or London and don't ski so the rest of us can avoid you. Replaces the old Wild Wallabies in location but certainly not in spirit. Where did all the fun go?
  • The Clubhouse - Wealthy Londoners and Parisians who want to feel special will certainly enjoy themselves here. However snobby, it is still more realistically gay friendly than the 'gay bar' Le Tof and does actually have good DJs come in and spin on occaision. Anyone is allowed in on non-event nights, otherwise at times is 'members only' on crowded nights such as New Years. Sneak in pretending you are a member in the daytime and use their laptops to surf the internet for free.


The club scene here truly sucks the past two seasons. This is what exists. It changes often as places go out of business quickly it seems. Think tiny, smokey, impossible to breath and hot. Think Very Bad Music. Then think how much more skiing you will get in if you just go home after visiting the pub for a few beers, and do not attempt to go out dancing . . . yes, you will feel much much better if you just go to sleep and get up early to hit the lifts . . .

  • La Cantina - town center, downstairs from the restaurant, goes late at night - Impossibly small, very smokey, packed, sweaty, and impossible to breathe. Go here when really drunk only so you don't need to stand 4 deep at the bar for a drink. Music is the best of the lot.
  • Le Garage - young crowd, pick up club with DJ musc, open late, classy things like 'lingerie shows'. Cham Sud avenue Aiguille du Midi
  • Le Tof - Cham sud, Chamonix's only gay club. Nothing much starts until very late after other bars close.
  • Le Mix - town center on rue du Moulin, DJ nights. Trendy 60s style furnishings, small. Relatively new to the scene.

Dead Clubs List

Chamonix has suffered big turnover/losses in places to party and dance over the past 2 seasons due to fires and sales and is sadly losing all apres ski fun - no good large clubs exist anymore.

  • Dick's T Bar - the one and only (did it avoid the great fire?). No - it did not. Closed.
  • Along with Cybar, Queen Vic and Bar du Moulin as additional fire victims, sadly missed. (Watch the Cybar Fire video )
  • Also closed this season is L'Expedition due to lawsuit filed against them by the apartment building they were in for noise (they lost). Very sad to see them go.
  • Also closed is L'Arbate which was the largest club in town and host to many season opening/losing parties - now being converted into yet another block of flats. Was the only place that decent bands ever had room to play in town.
  • Another goner for 06/07 is the popular Goophys restaurant/bar
  • Multiple goners in Cham Sud - all the new bars that opened in Cham Sud last season such as Bar74 (05/06) have closed down . . .
  • Moveable parties - due to nazi like city council pressures and lack of affordable housing for seasonaires and high rental prices for busineses, truly fun events such as the Cham Jam and the monthly special parties importing DJs from Ibiza, London, Paris etc to clubs such as the Arbate no longer take place. Youth culture on the downward slide in Chamonix. Long live the rich old boring snobs from Paris and London.


  • Midnight Express, 23 r Doct Paccard, great for stop outs who get the munchies on the way back from a session
  • Mojo's, town center. Healthy sandwiches, internet access.
  • Beluga - town center. Hot, cheap.
  • Poco Loco - quick hot sandwiches and fries on rue Docteur Paccard, near Midnight Express. Some indoor seating.


  • la Bergerie - 232 av Michel Croz, excellent, try the Fondu au Morilles washed down with a Mondeuse or Chignin
  • La Cremerie du Glacier - rustic restaurant in the Argentiere woods, near the Pierre a Ric piste at the Grandes Montets and not at all owned by the horrid overpriced Compagnie du Mont Blanc food service nazis - ski in and ski out for lunch, snowshoe up or 4x4 up for dinner. Owned by the local Ravanel family since the WWII era. Fantastic fondus and croutes. Speaking french is best when you order, not english! Reservations advised in season even for lunch. 04 50 54 07 52.
  • Casa Valerio - Rue du Lyret. Italian owned, wood fired pizza, many other Italian dishes, salads.
  • Le Caveau - Rue du Dr Paccard, hidden downstairs. Cheap, good varied menu with pizza, savoyarde, american and including much better versions of tex mex dishes than you would find at the La Cantina restaurant (who somehow thinks chinese egg rolls are substitutes for burritos).
  • Satsuki - Alpine sushi! Yes! Japanese owned restaurant with sushi, many soups, grilled beef and salmon and various other specialties. 286 Rue Joseph Vallot.
  • Le Panier des Quatre Saisons - Rue du Dr Paccard, hidden in a mini mall entrance, great traditional savoyarde food with a gourmande flair. Hidden gem.


Chamonix is the St Tropez of the Alps. Full of surf shops, babes in bikinis, guys in baggies and cafes... well that is in the spring when the days get longer. In winter, the fashion is a lot more 'skint ski bum' versus 'rich tosser with no clue'. Take a look at Sport Extreme, a big ski supermarket that sells many of its own brand at keen prices (then keep walking ??). For casual clothes there are Quicksilver, O’Neil and Esprit. New chain stores have opened in Chamonix. Please avoid them except when they offer things at 70% off - the North Face, Columbia, Lacoste, Chanel, Peak Performance and Patagonia all have over priced shops in town. More independent and worth your support are the local sports stores who have banded together under the 'Cham 3S' logo, including Snell Sports .

Falline Bootfitters in town center, Jules at Sangalard sports at the main roundabout and the new SOLE (ex Footworks staff who abdicated to start their own place) in Cham Sud near the Aiguille du Midi lift station are 'the best' places to go for custom fitted ski boots or boot problems and each has a bootfitter of high repute who have fitted race teams. Snell Sports (grand daddy of Chamonix sports stores on Rue Dr Paccard) also does custom boot fittings. Otavalo Sports (on Rue Joseph Vallot just past Super U) is known for their attention to the telemark crowd. In general you will find more fat and off piste all mountain skis and dedicated touring gear stocked in Chamonix than in most other French ski resorts, and far fewer on piste carving and race style performance skis. 'Cause Chamonix doesn't do pistes very well, that much is true.

For cheap ski gear - towards the end of the season check out all the local stores for the best deals on last year's skis, and check out paper signs posted for season end ski swaps in places such as Cham Sud- sponsored skiers often sell off unused freebie gear at these swaps and check the notice board on the back of the Mairie building in the center of town for skis for sale, as well as look for notices posted at Mojo's and the MBCs for people selling off their extra gear before heading home at season's end. Also across the tunnel, Courmayeur's season tends to end before Chamonix and stores go into reduction pricing a bit before the Cham stores.

Guides and Instructors

The Office de Haute Montagne is probably your first port of call if looking for a guide.

Robbie Fenlon

Also worth mentioning is Robbie Fenlon, an Irish mountain guide who, as well as doing all the usual guides' stuff, organises backcountry courses in conjunction with ski-instructor Derek Tate of BASS Chamonix. These courses offer a very useful and enjoyable introduction to the world of backcountry skiing, with Derek working on off-piste technique while Robbie covers route-planning, avalanche awareness, glacier travel and all the other elements essential to safe enjoyment of the mountains.

Evolution 2

Evolution 2 is a French owned independent ski school with a more customer oriented approach to teaching and guiding than the traditional ESF. Employs mountain guides for glaciated off piste touring and ski mountaineering as well as top level French and British qualified instructors and stagieres for lessons on or off piste.

Association Internationale des Guides du Mont Blanc

Association Internationale des Guides du Mont Blanc is a well respected French owned independent guides association with 35 full time and 30 part time mountain guides from France, England, Germany and Italy. Their office on the Rue du Moulins was ruined in the recent large fire that took out most of the businesses on one side of the street. But they have moved to a temporary site just across the street from the old office, while their offices are being repaired.

La Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix

La Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix is said to be the oldest guiding company in the world, founded in 1821 and currently employees over 200 guides and accompagnateurs and so is both the 'original' and largest guiding company in Chamonix. At one point in the past, they only allowed people born in Chamonix to join their company, but times have now changed.

Mountain Guide Adventure

Mountain Guide Adventure : A Mountain Guide team in Chamonix providing around the Alps : heliskiing, ski touring, off piste skiing, avalanche training, ice climbing, mountaineering, alpine rock climbing and Worldwide Expeditions

Neil Hitchings

I provide a flexible and personalised private guiding service, tailored to each client's abilities and aspirations. While I put a great deal of emphasis on safety, my main motivation for working and living in the mountains is to have fun. I offer a broad range of summer and winter mountain activities for all abilities including Ice climbing, Off-piste skiing, Ski touring & Mountaineering.

Useful Information

Unofficial websites about Chamonix

Category: Ski Areas

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