Summer

INTRODUCTION

The Chamonix valley undergoes a spectacular transformation every spring. It's like switching from a black'n'white TV set to a colour one. The valley turns green, the chalets shed their snowy hats and the sun makes their wood glow. After a  six week lull between the end of skiing and the beginning of the summer season the lifts start to run again. Would you believe that Chamonix gets more vistors in summer than in winter? It's a fact! One hundred thousand per day in the summer compared to sixty thousand per day in the winter. It has to be said that many summer guests are daytrippers but still - who would have thought? The biggest attraction is of course the breathtaking panorama crowned by the highests mountain of the Alps, nevertheless, Chamonix has much more to offer than just views...
 

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

The Aiguille du Midi cablecar

 

The top station of this cablecar at the altitude of 3842 m ranks among the highest in the world. You will feel like you could touch Mont Blanc from here. The trip up inside the large cabin is an experience in itself - not only for the great height it surpasses but also for the mixed company you are likely to be travelling in. There will be everybody from serious mountain walkers to mountaineers for whom the mid-station is a great starting point for their walks and climbs to ladies in high heels and gentlemen in patent leather shoes with cameras shooting faster than an AK 47.

For more info, prices and timetables go to www.chamonix.com or www.compagniedumontblanc.com

 

Train du Montenvers

 

This picturesque train climbing from the centre of town up through the forest to the Mer de Glace glacier is one of the oldest tourist attractions with its 100 year+ history. Sadly one of the biggest impressions you will bring back from here is the evidence of how much of France's largest glacier has melted in the last one hundred years. The ice cave carved inside the glacier is fun, though, and you'll get a fair bit of exercise walking down and back up the 380 steps between the cable car station and the glacier. At least you can reward yourselves by a good lunch of local specialities in the Hotel du Montenvers.

For more info, prices and timetables go to www.chamonix.com or www.compagniedumontblanc.com

 

Tramway du Mont Blanc

 

Another tourist attraction built at the beginning of the 20th century is a cog railway going from Le Fayet/Saint-Gervais-les-Bains to the top of the Les Houches skiing area and then further up to the Nid D'Aigle - France's highest train station (alt. 2372 m). Especially in the summer you are likely to see an interesting mix of passengers inside the cars of the Tramway du Mont Blanc since it is used by middle aged tourists in beige city clothes as well as serious mountaineers setting off on their Mont Blanc climb and mud covered mountain bikers hungry for another run down the downhill track to Les Houches. Chalupa's guests can go up on the Bellevue cablecar which is a three minutes' walk from the chalet and join the Tramway at the top. From there you will have a choice of going up to Mont Lachat and Nid D'Aigle or down to Le Fayet. The ride could be extended to a daytrip by visiting the spa at Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (a 10 minute walk from the Le Fayet station) and returning back the same way. Fantastic views in both directions guaranteed!

For more info, prices and timetables go to www.chamonix.com or www.compagniedumontblanc.com

HIKING


 

The valley offers 350 kilometres of marked and secured walking trails for all levels of abilities. Even if you don't feel like doing much climbing your options will not be limited to the valley floor. The lifts - running from mid-June to mid-September - will enable you to walk on fairly flat trails at higher altitudes where you can explore apline nature and enjoy spectacular views.

Chalet Chalupa is ideally positioned for hiking. Not only are there plenty of trails starting from Les Houches but also the Bellevue cable car - which is a mere three minutes' walk from the chalet - will take you to the altitude of 1800 metres from where there are a number of hiking options - from gentle strolls to serious hiking expeditions.

 

As far as dedicated hikers and mountaneers are concerned there aren't many places in the Alps that could rival the Chamonix valley. If you are keen on doing some serious stuff, it is best to entrust yourselves in the hands of professional mountain guides. The guide HQ in Chamonix is situated in the Maison de la Montagne right in the heart of town. You will find both the Office de haute montagne de Chamonix and the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix here. Especially the latter website provides ample information on what you can do off the beaten track in Chamonix and around.

CYCLING

 

Road, mountain or downhill - whatever your cycling preferences are, Chamonix is ready for you. Road cyclists can test their stamina on several Tour de France climbs within the radius of 80 km, while mountain bikers will find hundreds of marked trails for trips of varying lengths and levels of ability. From a few leisurely hours riding the trails along the river Arve to the five day Tour of Mont Blanc - Chamonix has something for every man, woman or child on a bicycle. The discipline that's been developing fastest in the last few years is downhill cycling. Chamonix jumped on the bandwagon pretty fast. Of the three downhill courses that there are in the valley the local one in Les Houches is the oldest and best developed. If you are thinking of coming to Chamonix for a cycling holiday, just let us know what you would like to do and we will get local specialists to taylor make a program for you.

 

GOLF

 

Voulez vous a golf course with Mont Blanc views? Pas de problem! Come and play in Chamonix. The history of the local golf club dates back to 1934. The current 18 hole course was designed by none other than the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr. The course's setting - on both sides of the river Arve and under the massif of Les Aiguilles Rouges - and its unobstructed views of  Mont Blanc are nothing short of spectacular. If you are the kind of golfer who likes to play a different course every day, there are enough golf clubs in the area to keep you entertained for several days: Morzine, Evian, Courmayeur, Verbier, Crans Montana... Chamonix Golf Club


SPAS

Les Bains du Mont Blanc

The thermal springs of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains have been curing people of various complaints for nearly 200 years. The latest addition to the traditional looking sanatorium buildings spread over a large park are Les Bains du Mont Blanc - a modern wellness centre focused around an attractive yin-yang shaped pool with jets producing whirlpools, bubbles and streams of all sorts. Saint-Gervais-les-Bains is 17 km away from the chalet by road but the road is not the only means to get there. Other than the scenic trip by cablecar and train described above under the Tramway du Mont Blanc heading you can also hop on the little local red train called rather grandly the Mont Blanc Express which will get you to Le Fayet/ Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in just 24 minutes. Les Bains du Mont Blanc


Le Bachal Spa at Hameau Albert 1er

It makes sense that the best hotel in town should also have the best spa. Le Bachal spa in the five star Hameau Albert 1er cerainly lives up to expectations and is luckily open to non-hotel guests. The indoor/outdoor pool with a fabulous view of Mont Blanc and the range of spa treatments on offer are sure to satisfy even the most demanding customer. If you felt like giving yourselves a special treat you could combine the visit to the spa with a dinner in the hotel's restaurant - the only one in Chamonix boasting two Michelin stars. Hameau Albert 1er

 


Municipal Swimming Pool

The futuristic looking municipal sports centre in the heart of town is rather well equipped for water based activities with its 50 m outdoor and 25 m indoor pool, complemented by a children's play-pool and a paddling pool. There is also a steam bath and sauna. Centre Sportif Richard Bozon

 

 

 

 

CHAMONIX LUGE

The luge track is part of the Planards activity parc whose main winter focus is on teaching children to ski. The luge track is really a roller-coaster with cars for two running on a track. The speed will not make you scream but the 75 sec ride will provide a few  exhilarating moments. Parc de Loisirs

 

 

 

HELICOPTER TOURS

 

A shot of adrenalin and a bird's eye view of the Mont Blanc massif courtesy of Chamonix Helico. There are several tours available ranging from 10 to 30 minutes in time and 75 to 200 euros in cost. Chamonix Mont-Blanc Helico


PARAGLIDING

 

The Chamonix valley provides excellent conditions for paragliding. In ideal weather there are tens of colourful wings on strings in the sky and you are likely to get bumped into by (mostly) men dragging enormous bags into cablecars. You don't need your own wing and you don't even need to know how to do it if you want to try. Just a little bit of courage and a modest sum of money will do. There are several companies that offer tandem flights from the surounding peaks. Here are links to some of them...
Fly Chamonix
Absolute Chamonix
Les Ailles du Mont Blanc