TOP 7 UNMISSABLE THINGS TO DO IN CHAMONIX - OUR SELECTION
What to do in Chamonix ? Mythical town in Haute-Savoie, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc welcomes you for skiing, alpinism, sightseeing, or simply to marvel at the beauty of its exceptional nature. Commonly called Chamonix, or Cham', the town in nestled in a valley framed by the Mont-Blanc Massif on one side and the Aiguilles Rouges on the other. Savoie Hélicoptères has designed for you a selection of the best activities to do there: on your own, with family or as a couple, enjoy your time in a mountain town renowned for its charm, its unbeatable views, and its rich cultural heritage.
What to do in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc : visit of the historical village
Chamonix (Pronounce it Chamoni without saying the X) is a true place of tradition and heritage in Haute-Savoie. It's located in the north-west of the French Alps and at the border with Switzerland and Italy.
This lovely village is vibrant and dynamic all year long. Take a moment for a stroll and notice the blend of architectural styles that have shaped the town throughout the years, with an influence of the religious heritage from the XVII, XVIII and XIX centuries. The baroque Church of Saint Michel, dated back to the XII and XIX's centuries, is worth the visit.
While on your walk in the historical village of Chamonix, you'll be amazed by the astonishing views of the surrounding mountains and the grandiosity of nature.
Chamonix is a cosmopolitan and lively city. It's the hub of alpinism and ski, yet it also attracts visitors eager to experience its warm atmosphere and to explore its numerous boutiques and stores. Liven up this afternoon outing by having a drink on a pub's patio, sipping a tea in a congenial tea room, or taking a break in any other relaxing place.
Chamonix is a village steeped in the history of Haute-Savoie: don't miss out on the opportunity to taste traditional "Savoyard" gastronomy.
Board the Montenvers train
Climb up the mountain sides overlooking the valley of Chamonix with the Montenvers railway and reach the Mer de Glace. Inaugurated in 1908, this bright red small train is the region's emblem. Your travel will start from the Chamonix train station in the city center. The Montenvers railway lines haven't changed since their creation, and the train is one of the last trains running on a rack and pinion system. Join the adventure; A 5 km long railway hung to steep mountain slopes, for a 20 minute travel through time. Plunge into tunnels carved into rock, pass on viaducts overlooking the valley and on railway turns built above the dizzying heights.
From the Montenvers railway station located at an elevation of 1913 m above see level, you'll get to enjoy spectacular views of some awe-inspiring peaks and summits: Les Drus, Les Grandes Jorasses, and Aiguille du Grépon.
Originally located at the same altitude as the Mer de Glace, the train station now stands 200 meters above it, bitter consequence of the global warming which causes the glacier to melt at an incredibly fast pace.
Experience this spectacular scenery which reminds us of the grandiosity of those marvels of nature. The Mer de Glace:
7 km long
The Mer de Glace is the largest glacier in France. Dive in the heart of the glacier and immerse yourself into a blue and magical world. Unveil the secrets of the Ice cave, carved every year to get round glacial movements. Experience an uncommon journey in the life of the mountaineers from the XIX century.
Finally, head back to the valley either by hiking down the mountain, or by boarding for your return trip departing from this fantastic train station.
What to do in Chamonix: Aiguille du Midi.
Peaking at an altitude of 3842 m, Aiguille du Midi is the highest of the Chamonix peaks. To visit this outstanding spot, it's simple: go to the cable car station and embark for a wonderful ascent to the summit. The top will offer you spectacular 360° views on the Valley Blanche winding between mighty summits, as well as on Mont-Blanc, and the Aoste valley. You'll get the opportunity to sight iconic mountains: The Cervin, the Grandes Jorasses and the Dôme du Goûter.
The Aiguille du Midi offers several attractions:
The Pas dans le Vide®. (a step in the void). Amazing technical feat, this "box" composed of 5 glazed walls (and floor) offers a 3D view of the landscape. Get thrilled at the sight of the 1000 m void opening under your feet. This is totally safe.
Le Panoramic Mont-Blanc. A unique and cross-border journey above the glaciers stretching between the Aiguille du Midi and the Helbronner peak in Italy.
Discover the Mont-Blanc massif
Still wondering how to spend your time in Chamonix? Don't miss out on the extraordinary Mont-Blanc massif. Whether you're planning on visiting Chamonix in summer or in winter doesn't matter: you'll always have access to a great deal of routes and landscapes. Compulsory pilgrimage for experienced alpinists, the Mont-Blanc massif can be explored on foot, with skis, snowhoes, or even by tramway.
The Mont-Blanc tramway, a cogwheel train, gives you the opportunity to reach the Nid d'Aigle mountain hut in summer. This mountain hut is the trailhead of Roof of Europe's ascent. In winter, you can reach the Bellevue plateau culminating at nearly 1800 m of elevation, and the ski field of Prarion.
The Mont-Blanc massif is a remarkable playground to practice hiking, to travel on glaciers with mountain guides, try skydiving, paragliding, or flying on a helicopter.
What to do in Chamonix: Planpraz - le Brévent
Discover the mountain sides standing south to Chamonix. A cable car will take you to Planpraz (2000 m asl) and another one will take you to the Brévent (2523 m asl). You'll be bewitched by the incredible scenic views this side of the valley offers of the Mont-Blanc massif.
Planpraz. Starting point, in summer, of a large array of hikes. Hike towards Lake Cornu or the Grand Balcon Sud (great south balcony) and admire the paragliding takeoff area.
Brévent. From the Brévent, enjoy impressive views of Mont-Blanc. A trail will take you from the top of the Brévent to the Aiguillette des Houches. On your way, you'll hike past the Bel-Lachat mountain hut.
Passionate about climbing? Brévent's rock faces are a renowned climbing spot offering amazing views of Mont-Blanc and reachable in a few minutes only from the cable car station.
Educational outing : Merlet Wildlife Park
Located at an elevation of 1563 m asl, this wildlife park overlooks the village of Les Houches in the Aiguilles Rouges massif. It stretches over 22 hectares and allows incredible encounters with alpine ibexes, chamois, mouflons, deers, stags, llamas and marmots in their natural environment.
In order to protect the wildlife, you'll be asked to respect a minimum distance of 10 meters between you an the animals, and to stay on marked trails.
The visit is free and takes 2 to 3 hours.
The easy tour (marked in green) takes 1h. It's a good way to observe most of the animals and the trail is accessible to strollers.
The "expert" tour (marked in blue) takes 2 hours. It goes through the whole park and is designed for people who've already had some hiking experiences. The trail is not accessible to strollers.
You can walk freely in the park, and organize your visit however you want to. You can mix both tours and take your time to enjoy this unique setting. If you have children, you'll be happy to learn that the visit includes fun educational entertainment all along the trails.
What to do in Chamonix: helicopter flight
Why not adding a helicopter flight ontop of this enchanting program? Savoie Hélicoptères takes you to the discovery of magical Mont-Blanc for a 50 minute getaway!
Together, we'll soar over the Aravis range, Lake Bénit, Lake Lessy, and the famous summit of Aiguille Verte. We'll cruise over the Aiguilles Rouges massif that stretches from the Col (pass) des Montets to the Brévent, and faces the spectacular Chamonix peaks and the expansive glaciers shaping the Mont-Blanc massif.
And there's more! We'll then head towards the Glacier d'Argentière overhung by iconic summits such as Mont Dolent and Aiguille du Chardonnet. An amazing ride through the Alpine world, on a comfortable seat aboard a helicopter of our fleet.
Our helicopter pilot will also introduce you to the Glacier du Géant and the Aiguille du Midi. He'll take you over Tête Rousse mountain hut, the Aiguille du Goûter and its prestigious mountain hut, the pristine summit of Dômes de Miages, and, key of the helicopter flight: Mont-Blanc.
We'll brush past the Aiguilles de Warens towering above the Arve valley before ending this helicopter flight.
In a matter of minutes, you'll have crossed several mountain ranges and valleys and lived an unforgettable experience aboard one of our airline's aircraft.