10 Awesome Things to do in Chamonix

Having been born here and spending a full season living and working here, I am more than well acquainted with what this unique French valley has to offer; as someone who at one point was scrounging cents together for a pint of milk, they are more than budget friendly!

  1. Skiing and snowboarding. Obviously.

This is accessible to everyone, regardless of age.  For those who are expecting to land on their arses 90% of the time, there are the baby slopes at the bottom of the mountains; Les Planards and Le Savoy.  13101208_997124726991161_1770797853_nFor those who are feeling a little adventurous and have a bit more experience under their belt, the world is your oyster! There are 5 different mountains to go to, and you can even make your way over the Swiss or Italian border for a little day trip.

2. Ice Skating

What ski resort would be complete without a flat rink of smooth ice that you can slip around on questionably narrow blades of metal? The Olympic sized ice skating rink in Chamonix, is, in my opinion, unparalleled. 12821542_10209137172566630_4746164072065969759_n I was lucky enough to get the whole rink to myself when I went, but even with a few others, you feel like an ant in a field. Not to mention the hockey matches that take place regularly, they aren’t to be missed!

 

3. L’Aiguille du Midi

Possibly one of the most scenic attractions of the valley is taking297266_2331544697674_606076713_n the bubble up to what is nearly the same height as Mont Blanc itself.  This is absolutely stunning on a sunny day, and the inner child in me rejoices at the fact that it’s possible to literally jump back and forth over the yellow line signalling the French-Italian border in the bubble station.

On better days, you can go climbing on the outdoor wall at Les Gaillands, and even go to the indoor bouldering centre.

img_9739-24. Nightlife

Chamonix is definitely not short on its party scene.  One road called Rue du Moulins can satisfy all of your alcoholic tendencies;  it’s as easy to bar hop here as it is to down those vodka shots like there’s no tomorrow.  For those looking for a classier spot to sip your prosecco, Les Caves is the place to be.  If you’re looking for your slightly grimier pub feel that it totally makes up for in ambient atmosphere, Bard’Up is the local hangout spot.

In terms of night clubs, Chamonix is short but sweet; Amnesia, your classic club playing mainstream pop music and never fails to get the mood going. Finally, Tof, a gem hidden away in Chamonix Sud, a gay-friendly club with a pole bang smack in the middle of the floor.

And for my future seasonnaires; Tequila Tuesday- La Terrasse. Enough said.

5. Swimming/Gymming

Want to have a lad’s holiday and still get gains? You can get your daily iron fix at the gym, and although the temperatures at the swimming pool are sometimes sub-par, the slide and several different pools they have going are too good not to try.

6. Climbing Climbing Climbing

You really are not short of climbing locations here; a few friends and I decided to try out the Mont Blanc Escalade centre, somewhere I frequented when I was younger. I was not disappointed.  None of us had a freakin clue what we were doing (Kelsey and Sydney- sorry guys, it’s true) but we all pitched in for a lesson, and in no more than one hour we were basically climbing instructors ourselves! No we weren’t really, but it was more than enough to learn basic climbing techniques, knots and how to lead climb.12376838_10209410980411655_910602688893770021_n

On better days, you can go climbing on the outdoor wall at Les Gaillands, and even go to the indoor bouldering centre.

7. Parapenting

One of the most thrilling and exciting things to do, this activity may be slightly more expensive than the rest but it is still absolutely worth it.  You can take a flight from pretty much every mountain imaginable (Aiguille du Midi anyone?).

8) White Water Rafting

I can quite honestly say this was the most hilarious and exciting activities I have done in Chamonix in the summer months.  You get bunged into an inflatable dingy with a few other wetsuit-clad teammates and none of you really know what is in store for you until the instructor tells you to literally throw yourself off the side of the raft.

1959578_10152620502055990_2270586224905627925_n
A white rafting ninja

We were taught to float on our backs down the river and how to climb back on, resulting in more than a few beached whale bodies strewn across the side of the boat wriggling like salmon in an attempt to get back in.

9) Hiking

This is best done in summer and the inter-season, but the mountains you can ski on are the same ones you can hike along.  The snowy, icy mountains transform into lush, green walking paths, and on a nice day, there are some gorgeous scenic routes to take.

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10) Food!

I won’t lie, eating is one of my favourite things about France in general.  There aren’t a shortage of classic Savoyard restaurants- la Flambée, my old workplace, is never empty and serves the most delicious cheese and potato dishes.

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Oh how I miss having to memorise a different menu everyday

If you’re looking for an Italian vibe, Pizzeria des Moulins serves as many different pizzas as there are stars in the sky, and for your Japanese fix, Satsuki is a sweet little sushi restaurant in town.

 

 

 

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