Chamonix is a French commune in Haute-Savoie, in the Albernia-Rhône-Alpes region. It is one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. It is connected to the municipality of Courmayur, in Italy, through the Mont Blanc Tunnel. In 2015 Courmayeur was recognized as the “Alpine City of the Year”.
The town is located at the foot of the Mont Blanc massif, in the Arve Valley.
The history of Chamonix
Chamonix, despite being in an unfavorable position – geographically and climatically – was inhabited since ancient times by the populations of the Celts, the Ligurians, the Ceutrons and the Allobrogi. Later it was conquered by the Romans. It then suffered the invasions of the Barbarians from northern Europe and was later annexed to the County of Genéve, in the Kingdom of Burgundy, today’s canton of Geneva in Switzerland. In the twelfth century the Chamonix Priory was born, from which a small village began to develop mainly dedicated to cultivation and pastoralism. The period of greatest fortune for Chamonix begins only in 1741 when two English explorers, William Windham – anthropologist – and Richard Pococke – a landowner – during one of their expeditions, visit this place and are fascinated by it. The tales of the two adventurers aroused the curiosity of many other travelers, increasing the fame of Chamonix all over the world. Frequented by an increasing number of mountain lovers, one of the first forms of mountaineering was born here and a rich nobleman from Geneva, this Horace benedict de Sassure, decided to reward the first brave who managed to reach the summit of Mont Blanc, so in 1786 two citizens of Chamonix, Michel Gabriel Paccard – doctor – and Jacques Balmat – hunter and crystal seeker – were the first to conquer the summit. Chamonix soon became one of the most loved places by the inellectuals of the time, it was frequented by Goethe and Bourrit. In 1783 the first hotel was born, owned by Madame Coutterand, the Hotel d’Angleterre. From this moment we witness a rapid growth of Chamonix, thanks to the creation of a road to Geneva and the birth of an alpine service, thanks to the Compagnie des Guides, at the beginning of 1900 the first ski lifts were built, the cable cars and the Montevers railway line. In 1942 Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympic Games.
What to see in Chamonix
At the foot of Mont Blanc, between glaciers and nature trails, Chamonix is undoubtedly one of the most famous summer and winter tourist destinations in the world. Chamonix is a true wonder, unspoiled landscapes, snow-capped peaks, sports activities … in short, it is impossible to get bored!
Church of San Michele: dating back to 1709, the Church of San Michele is one of the most important buildings in Chamonix. Inside there is a precious organ made by a craftsman from Grenoble in the 1950s.
Mer de Glace Glacier: it is the second largest glacier in the Alps, second only to that of Aletsch in Switzerland. It is located on the north side of Mont Blanc. It is made up of three small glaciers: Tacul, Talèfre and Leschaux, 12 km long and about 400 meters thick, has a total area of 40 km². Here is also the Ice Cave. The glacier can be reached from Montervers with a panoramic train.
Chamonix Alpine Museum: museum that houses permanent and temporary exhibitions dedicated to Chamonix – history, territory, traditions and folklore -. It is based in a historic building from the early 1900s.
La résidence, 89 av Michel Croz, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
Tel. 04 50552946
Every day, except Tuesdays 10 – 12 and 14 – 18
July and August, every day 10-13 and 14 – 18
Full € 5.90
Reduced € 4.70
Free for under 18s
Museum of Mineralogy: an interesting display of minerals and crystals.
615 allée du Recteur Payot
Tel.: +33(0)4 50 54 78 39
Every day 2 – 6 pm
July and August, every day, 10 am – 6 pm
Full € 5.90
Reduced € 4.70
Hotel in Chamonix
Chamonix is by far one of the most famous tourist destinations, a jewel located at the foot of Mont Blanc, in French territory, and one of the most popular destinations for winter and summer tourism. The town of Chamonix is particular and fascinating, the ski area among the best in the Alps and the many attractions. There are many winter and summer sports to devote to.
Best hotels in Chamonix:
TERMINAL NEIGE REFUGE DU MONTEURS: splendid hotel inspired by 19th century mountain huts, at 1913 meters above sea level, it can only be accessed by train, via the Montevers-Mer de Glace railway line. The rooms are furnished in the classic mountain style, with wooden finishes. At guests’ disposal restaurant and bar.
HOTEL LE CASTEL: in the splendid setting of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, this hotel has rooms with panoramic views of Mont Blanc, furnished in a classic style, elegant and comfortable, and a restaurant is also available for guests.
HOTEL MONT-BLANC CHAMONIX: historic Chamonix hotel with panoramic views of Mont Blanc. 5-star hotel housed in an ancient property from the early 1800s. Guests have access to various types of rooms – suites, junior suites, prestige rooms, superior rooms and standard rooms – a restaurant and a lounge bar, and a Spa – relaxation area, gym, massage and treatment area, swimming pool -.
LE FAUCIGNY – HOTEL DE CHARME: in the center of Chamonix, a small hotel just 5 minutes walk from the Savoy ski lift for the Brévent ski area. The hotel has 28 cozy and comfortable rooms in white wood, and a spa with sauna, jacuzzi, and area for treatments and massages.
QUARTZ MONT-BLANC: Elegant residence in Chamonix with luxurious apartments with panoramic views of Mont Blanc. All apartments – available in sizes from 50m² to 175m², have balconies with panoramic views.
We are in Haute-Savoie, the cuisine is traditional mountain cuisine with delicious French influences, above all Savoyard cuisine. Traditional dishes are based on cheeses, meats, soups and polenta. Chamonix does not have its own culinary tradition but its food and wine is a wonderful set of culinary traditions from the whole region, including the traditional dishes Fondue, Raclette, Tartiflette and Pèla. There are many restaurants in Chamonix and around the city where you can taste the dishes of the local traction.
Best restaurants in Chamonix:
HIBOU DELI: 416 Rue Joseph Vallot, 74400 Chamonix – +33 450966513
LE VERT HOTEL RESTAURANT: 964 Route des Gaillands, 74400 Chamonix – +33 450531358
LA FINE BOUCHE : 80 Place du Poilu, 74400 Chamonix – +33 450211063
BIGHORN BISTRO & BAKERY : 77Place Edmond Desailloud, 74400 Chamonix – +33 457446284
AIGUILLE DU MIDI – LE 3842 : Sommet de l’Aiguille di Midi – Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi, 74400 Chamonix – +33 450558223
LA REMISE : 1124 Route d’Argentiere, 74400 Chamonix – +33 450340696
RESTAURANT ALBERT 1er : 38 Route du Bouchet, Hameau Albert 1er, 74400 Chamonix – +33 450530509
BEURRE NOISETTE : 11 Rue Whymper, 74400 Chamonix – +33450533325
LE PANIER DES 4 SAISONS : 262 Rue du Docteur Paccard, 74400 Chamonix – +33 450539877
LE FER A CHEVAL : 25 Place du Poilu, 7400 Chamonix – +33 450538020