• Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix Vallee Blanche
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix
  • Chamonix

Chamonix Luxury Chalets

Mont Blanc Region, France

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The Chamonix Valley is very different from most other ski areas in the Alps in Europe. It is a fully functional town that operates the year round with diverse infrastructure. It is not a purpose built resort, constructed purely for ski holidays. To me, this is a real strength of the Chamonix Valley - it has kept much of its original charm as the birthplace in Europe for mountaineering and alpine activities.

The logistics of the valley is such that it runs for the length of 16km's (and approx 2km wide). As a result, there are ski areas on both the southern and northern sides of the valley and one area at each end of the Valley. Therefore, it is not possible to have all the ski areas linked together.

This is a real charm of the valley as visitors have the opportunity to ski 5 different ski areas, with options to also ski the infamous back country route, the Vallee Blanche, and the brilliant Italian resort of Courmayeur. The quality, quantity and variation of skiing terrain is outstanding.

Chamonix does have a reputation for advanced skiing but this mainly comes from the very accessible back country terrain it has to offer. However, the majority of the piste skiing caters to the intermediate skier, always with an option for the beginner (either in the form of a nursery slope at its base or some easy beginner slopes on top of the mountain). Le Tour, Les Houches and Courmayeur have the best variety of terrain catering for skiers of all ability levels.

Les Grands Montets resort is known as being one of the premier off piste ski resorts not only in the Alps but worldwide - people travel from all over the globe to have the opportunity to ski this fantastic resort. Les Grands Montets offers more than 2,000m of vertical skiing terrain spread over three huge bowls, including the very picturesque Argentiere glacier.

The Vallee Blanche is also an amazing experience not to be missed. It is the world's largest lift-served vertical descent of 2,807m's. This incredible back country adventure of 22km's, takes you on a spectacular voyage of high mountain glacial discovery. To ensure your safety, a mountain guide is definitely recommended when you undertake the Vallee Blanche.

On the south facing sunny side of the valley is Le Brevent and La Flegere. Both are great ski areas for intermediates and beginner progressions. With their southern exposure, they receive lots of sunshine with the added advantage of some of the most incredible panoramic mountain landscapes you will ever see in any Alpine climate.

At either ends of the valley are Les Houches and Le Tour. Les Houches, home of the Kandahar World Cup skiing event, is a typical Savoyard resort with lots of charming mountain restaurants, that excel in keeping old traditional local architecture and cuisine. Les Houches is completely tree lined, making it a great resort for bad weather days. There is a plateau on the top of the resort, providing perfect terrain for the beginner skier.

Le Tour, at the other end of the valley, also has lovely big wide open pistes suitable for the beginner and intermediate skier. However, for those who enjoy off-piste skiing, there are also many fantastic opportunities on the Swiss facing slopes - having a fully qualified mountain guide is also highly recommended for this terrain, not only as it can be avalanche prone but also as it is very difficult terrain to find! Le Tour also offers some great tree lined pistes, making it another good area to ski in bad weather.

Located just the other side of the Mont Blanc tunnel in Italy, Courmayeur offers a great addition to your ski week in the Chamonix Valley. With a much slower pace than in Chamonix, often the most difficult challenge you might encounter for the day is to hunt down a deck chair to soak up the beautiful Aosta Valley sunshine. Courmayeur offers a good variety of big wide open pistes that cater for skiers of all ability levels and the mountain restaurants are really something else - be sure to arrive hungry! The Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass covers the Courmayeur ski area so there is no need to buy an additional ski pass.
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Chamonix is a haven of shops, bars, restaurants, non-skiing activities, and apres-ski haunts making it an unforgettable destination for all.

The ski and board-mad early evening trade starts at 5pm at bars such as the Chambre Neuf. There is no shortage of lively watering-holes along the rue du Docteur Paccard. The bars empty at about 7.30pm, when snow-users return to their chalets or apartments for dinner. From about 10.30pm the partying starts up again at pubs such as the Jekyll and Hyde, while real late-nighters end up at the BPM. Bar du Moulin, La Cantina and the Bar d’Up in Chamonix are all popular. The Garage Pub in Chamonix Sud is also well frequented, it is a large basement bar incorporating half a truck and various motorbikes and is packed until the early hours.

The best restaurants in the town include L'Eden for traditional French cuisine, the superb Restaurant Atmosphère next to the post office, and L'Impossible, just to name a few.
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