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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

Chamonix-Mont Blanc is Très Magnifique

Chamonix-Mont Blanc is a charming alpine village and world famous ski resort situated near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy. It sits in a valley surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, including Mont Blanc, which is the highest summit in the Alps and the highest point in Europe. At 4810 meters high, Mont Blanc is always covered in snow hence the name which translates to "White Mountain". The area become more of a tourist destination after hosting the Winter Olympics in 1924 and continues to be a popular vacation spot.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Chamonix-Mont Blanc is a must-see destination for you. In the warmer months, Chamonix-Mont Blanc is a mecca for hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers and paragliders. There are hiking routes for all ability levels and many trails have alpine huts and chalets along the trails for refreshments and meals. There are also overnight accommodations if you want to continue your hiking or biking journeys over multiple days. To find the best hiking or biking trail for you in the Chamonix mountains, check out AllTrails. If you are visiting during the Winter months, of course you will want to ski at the world renowned ski resorts in the Chamonix valley. There are five different resorts offering a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders alike. Check out information about the Chamonix valley ski resorts here.

If you need a break from all the activity, or if outdoor activities are not your cup of tea, there are many other things to do in Chamonix-Mont Blanc.

  • Shopping. The picturesque village of Chamonix is filled with tourist shops, ski shops, and upscale boutiques.

  • Dining. Dining options in Chamonix range from casual cafés to traditional brasseries to fancy gourmet restaurants. We had dinner at restaurant called Joséphine that is right on the Main Street. Joséphine has a charming outdoor patio looking out at the breathtaking mountain vistas. There are blankets on each chair in case you get chilly while eating (a lot of the European cafés had these blankets matching their decor and I think it is a wonderful idea that American restaurants should incorporate!). I had a delicious bowl of French Onion Soup (which I ate too quickly so no mouthwatering photo) and a yummy Nutella crepe for dessert.

  • Take Those Insta Worthy Pictures. As you walk around the village there are amazing photo ops around every corner. From the stunning mountain peaks, vibrant flowers bursting with color (in warmer weather obviously), street art, historic architecture, and any number of other visually stimulating scenes, you will not want for pictures to remember your visit. Some of the best pictures I took from my whole trip were captured in Chamonix-Mont Blanc.

  • L'Aiguille du Midi. Take a 20 minute cable car ride from the heart of Chamonix village to L'Aiguille du Midi. From here you can get to the highest viewing terrace at 3842 meters giving an incredible 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding Alps range and looking directly at Mont Blanc. There is also a clear plexiglass viewing platform called Step Into the Void that lets visitors feel like they are floating over the mountain range (I would guess only interesting to those who do not have a fear of heights!). There is no extra charge for this, but apparently there are usually long lines. If I am lucky enough to return to Chamonix-Mont Blanc I will definitely include this excursion and can't wait to Step Into the Void.

  • Ride the Panoramic Mont Blanc Gondola. From the top of L'Aiguille du Midi, you can hop on the Telecubine Panoramique Mont Blanc Gondola. The Gondola will take you on hour long journey to Courmayeur, Italy, past Mont Blanc and over a landscape of glaciers, mountain tops and valleys.

  • Tramway Du Mont Blanc. Take a train ride on one of the highest rack railways in France. The train runs from Le Fayet and Saint-Gervais ending at Mont Blanc. If the exertion of hiking or rock climbing is not your thing, this train ride can give you the mountaineering experience by giving you panoramic views of the vistas of Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountain peaks.

  • Mer de Glace. One of the largest glaciers in Europe, Mer de Glace is just a short train ride up from the Chamonix village. Mer de Glace, which translates to "Sea of Ice", is rapidly shrinking as a result of climate change. Once you get to the top, you have the opportunity to enter the Grotte de Glace, a 100 meter long ice cave allowing visitors to have an inside view of a glacier.

There are lots of places to stay when you visit Chamonix from independently owned condos to 5-star luxury hotels. Our group stayed at Mercure Chamonix Centre which was conveniently located in the heart of the village, just a very short walk to the stores and restaurants. The included breakfast was an incredible buffet of choices, including gluten free options (which I always appreciate having two daughters with Celiac Disease). I highly recommend this hotel for its location and amenities. Find out more about rates and availability here.

So whether you want to visit Chamonix-Mont Blanc in the warmer months to hike, bike and explore or in the winter to shred the slopes, you will find a charming alpine village with spectacular views and plenty to do. I hope to get back some day to soak in more of the beauty and experience more of the local atmosphere!


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