Day 1: Getting your bearings

Chamonix is a collection of villages, strung along the valley. We’re in Les Praz, which is one of the sunniest areas of Chamonix and full of Alpine charm.

It’s a lovely place to explore in winter, with beautiful flat walking paths marked through the pines of the Bois du Bouchet to Chamonix town or to the scenic hamlets of Les Bois and Les Tines. They are all lovely routes through the woods or by the river, with great views along the way.

Walking on the valley floor in winter:

The centre of Les Praz is 450m away, where there’s a village shop, restaurants and bars. Chamonix town is just over a mile away, and accessible by foot, train, regular buses or of course by car. More about our location, with maps, here.

Les Praz church on a winter morning
Les Praz church on a snowy winter morning

Once you’ve reached Chamonix, it’s well worth dropping in at the helpful and friendly Tourist Office to see if they have any particular recommendations for the week. There’s often a weekly coach trip organised to local places of interest, and they can tell you about any events which are happening in the are while you’re there.

Montenvers

If the sky is clear, take a trip up to Montenvers. This charming old cog railway has been a hit for the last hundred years.

Montenvers - Glossy red retro engines in the snow
Glossy red retro engines in the snow

It winds up from a separate station just next to the main train station in Chamonix – you can see it sometimes from the balcony as it passes high above the chalet. At the top, there’s an amazing panorama of the Mer De Glace glacier, a cafe, restaurant and shop.

Montenvers Panorama in autumn
Montenvers Panorama in autumn

The atmospheric old hotel, built in the 1880s, is a lovely spot for lunch (the small cafe is not worth bothering with though) , and you can get the lift down to the ice cave carved out of the glacier. Depending on the snow depth, you can follow a short marked trail around the area, and check out the free Alpine Fauna museum (a good spot to warm up kids) and the display of crystals.

View from Montenvers in autumn
View from Montenvers in autumn

The astonishing views are the main attractions though – pictured here in autumn, they’re magnificent at any time of the year. www.compagniedumontblanc.fr 33 (0)4 50 78 22 02

For an atmospheric tour of the town, take a trip in a beautiful hand-painted sleigh-style horse drawn open carriage. Dr Zhivago and his beautifully caparisoned horse are generally to be found beside the clock tower.

Apero in Chamonix

Chamonix at night © Chamonix TO
Chamonix at night © Chamonix TO

Whether heading out in Chamonix for dinner, or back home to the chalet, Brasserie L’M is a great place to people-watch while the light fades on Mont Blanc above the town. Easily spotted by the flaming torches, the house speciality is hot apple laced with Grand Marnier. – fantastic! They also do a lovely Vin Chaud. Watch the Alpenglow fade on the peaks and relax….

 

Seven days in Chamonix for non-skiers
Day 1: Getting your bearings
Day 2: Savoyarde Gastronomy
Day 3: Snow Safari
Day 4: Spa day and fabulousness
Day 5: Slow track to culture
Day 6: Explore the Alps
Day 7: Mont Blanc