Chamonix Valley

Resorts in the chamonix valley


The capital of the Chamonix valley

Place Balmat, Chamonix - Photo : Salome Abrial
Chamonix is probably best known as the skiing and alpine capital of the world. As a destination it has a reputation for the extreme and this, whilst undoubtedly true, can mask a wide array of sporting and leisure activities (particularly in summer), peace and quiet, great nightlife, and superb scenery that can be enjoyed at whichever pace suits you. Chamonix is the perfect place to come for a weekend break or a week's holiday. In fact there is so much to do out here many people decide not to go back! The town is at the foot of Mont-Blanc and following introduction of skiing in the early 1900s Chamonix hosted the first winter Olympic Games in 1924.


An authentic Savoyard village

Télécabine de Vallorcine, Vallorcine - Photo : Unknown source

Vallorcine is the last village in the Chamonix Valley, just before you get to the Swiss border. It is composed of traditional stone houses and large old farms but also has some modern apartments. There is a primary school, a library, a tourist office, a church, a small grocery store and some great places to eat and drink (Le Café Comptoir is one of the best restaurants in the whole Valley). The peaceful village has direct access to the Balme/Le Tour ski area, there is a cross country ski area and in the summer there are plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore. Property prices here are generally lower than anywhere else in the valley, which makes great potential for capital growth.

What is also unique about this exciting area is it’s proximity to the piste and telecabine. A new chair-lift from Vallorcine to Le Tour has truly introduced Vallorcine to the rest of the Valley. It has also helped by adding an extra 4 or 5 runs, not to mention the off piste opportunities. There is an idyllic off piste run through the trees right down to the train station at Vallorcine. Vallorcine has a few nice bars and restaurants near the station, which are perfect for an aprés-ski drink or dinner.

Les Houches

A family resort

Le Prarion, Les Houches - Photo : Pierre Raphoz
The village resort of Les Houches is under a ten minute drive from Chamonix. Situated at an altitude of 1000 metres and sitting at the foot of Mont-Blanc (4807m), Les Houches offers an exceptional panorama of the peaks surrounding Chamonix. The village is made up of a number of hamlets, with oratories, chapels, farms and good scope for renovation projects. The resort has an expansive ski area with a wide range of tree-lined runs served by 2 main lifts at Bellevue and Prarion. It has a good beginners' area with snow tubing and snowpark, plenty of blues and reds and is home to the legendary Kandahar run. Snow shoeing and cross-country ski-ing are also on offer. Les Houches has a good choice of hotels and restaurants, sports shops, 2 supermarkets, cinema, indoor climbing wall, church, school and its own ice-rink. In summer, there is a lake, outdoor climbing wall, tennis courts and children's playpark. Beautiful walks are accessible both from the village and from the cable cars as is rack and pinion Tramway du Mont Blanc.


Ski in the shadow of Mont Blanc, all year round

Les Grands Montets, Argentiere - Photo : McPix Photography

Argentière is situated at 1,250 metres and is 8km north of Chamonix. The village is the home of the infamous Grands Montets ski area and is nestled below the peaks of the Drus and Aiguille Verte and between the Mer de Glace and Glacier d'Argentière. Argentière has retained its French charm and offers a slower pace of life as it has been less affected by wealthy tourists and ex-patriots from various countries who have chosen to move to the valley.

The village features a lovely baroque church and 19th century chapel which completes the attractive high street panorama. For those who love a good pâtisserie and boulangerie, you’ll find a good selection here.

Argentière is well placed for both winter activities including cross-country skiing and paret and for summer activities such as hiking and mountain biking. The village is well connected to Chamonix via train and bus for other attractions and facilities such as the Aiguille du Midi, Mer de Glace, sport center and a cinema which shows films in English.

About Grands Montets

Grands Montets is renowned in the Chamonix Valley for its off-piste terrain but don’t let that put you off - this ski area is accessible for all level of skier and snowboarder. Situated in the village of Argentière, which has direct bus and train, links, with Chamonix town, the resort has a total of 28km of piste and 17 lifts.

If you are completely new to snowsports and staying in Argentière its best to start on the Chosalets nursery slopes at the lower end of the village. At Grands Montets itself beginners can practice on the gentle blue pistes accessed from the Plan Joran and Tabé lifts. Intermediate will enjoy the long top to bottom reds from the Herse and Bochard lifts. For advanced skiers and boarders there are several challenging black runs from the top of the Grands Montets cable car as well as from the Herse and Bochard lifts. If you are a fan of off-piste, the open terrain at this resort offers numerous possibilities - you’ll just need to get up early enough to ensure fresh tracks.

Ski-tourers will be pleased to know there is a dedicated skin track at Grand Montets that leads through the forest from the base of the lifts to the top of the Logan cable car.

Non-skiers who want to explore the mountain can try snowshoeing along the path from the top of the Lognan lift station to the bottom of the Retour Pendant lift.

Generally Grands Montets is open for skiing and snowboarding from early December through to the end of April / beginning of May. Please check the opening dates for the latest information.


Grands Montets Webcam


Le Lavancher