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Chamonix France

One of the great ancient alpine capitals with a huge variety of attractions.

The town of Chamonix, which lies literally in the shadow of Mont Blanc, came to prominence as an alpine capital well before skiing was invented. It has long been an important mountaineering centre (many of the early pioneers in the middle of the eighteenth century were British, incidentally) and still today receives more visitors in summer than winter, though it must be said that many of these are just tourists passing through for a day or two.

Chamonix is quite unlike any of the other major French ski resorts. For a start it is not a ski-out/ski-in destination and has no slope-side accommodation to speak of. Secondly it comprises several quite separate ski areas and you need to use a car or bus service to travel between them.

Chamonix ski holidays benefit from all the advantages of the town — plenty of choice of shops, restaurants and bars and other facilities — as well as all the disadvantages — big, quite noisy and hard to get around. The very centre of the resort is now pedestrianised, which makes it much more user-friendly, although finding parking space close to the centre in high season can be tricky. However I would still say that this is one of only a very small number of ski resorts where a car is more of a help than a hindrance, since whizzing between the different ski areas with your own wheels is much easier than waiting for and using the rather complicated bus service.

Another advantage of Chamonix is that it is just one hour’s motorway drive from Geneva airport, which makes it a popular choice for weekend skiers. Indeed in recent years more and more British skiers have been buying or long-term renting chalets and apartments here, so the resort has an increasingly British flavour.

(Ski Solutions can arrange four-night long weekend breaks here at a variety of hotels outside very high season dates. For further details about Ski Solutions weekend breaks to Chamonix and other destinations please see the Short Breaks page on the website Home Page.)

Chamonix is also a convenient base from which to make day-trips through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the pretty little town and ski area of Courmayeur in Italy’s Aosta valley. Megeve is just one of several other day-trip destinations for those with a car.

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