Work off the previous day’s indulgences!
Chamonix activities for non-skiers: A day in the mountains doesn’t have to mean skiing or snowboarding. Why not try snowshoeing? Walk through quiet, snow-laden woods and hidden trails far from the noise and crowds of the lifts, to see the mountains at their serene and majestic best.
Cross-country skiing is also very straightforward – the simplest kind involves keeping your feet in pre-cut grooves and sliding along in them – and you can spend a lovely day on the flat, easy tracks around the chalet. Equipment is much less expensive than downhill skiing and can be rented at the shops near the cross-country ski foyer, about 15 minutes walk from the chalet. They can also arrange lessons if you’d like some pointers.
For the more adventurous, parapenting over the snowy Alps can be a fantastic experience (photo courtesy of Sean at Fly-Chamonix.com)
or why not try Husky sledding with Huskydalen? (Photos © Huskydalen, all rights reserved). You can meet the dogs and go on half day, full day or evening trips to a restaurant. Be driven, or learn to drive them yourself!
For a simpler option…
Just get some grips on your shoes – these are available from plenty of places in Chamonix such as Snell Sports or Footworks – and go for a stroll in the snow. The chalet is at the centre of a network of paths which are lovely in winter, including the Bois du Bouchet leading into Chamonix and the trails leading beside the river to Argentiere. N.B. Remember that the weather can change very quickly, so always take a phone, stay only on marked walking trails, and let people know where you’re going, and when you expect to be back.
Or a more relaxing choice
The Cham’Gourmand pass is 27 euros, and then aloows you to spend that amount in a mountain restaurant, so that your lift ticket is essentially free with your lunch. This is a great deal but unfortunately only available in two restaurants – Plan Joran at Les Grands Montets, and Le Bergerie at Brevent. Of these two, I’d recommend Le Bergerie as it’s prettier and the food is better – and for either of these, you need to reserve. However, if you’re feeling flush, it’s well worth going right to the top of Brevent and eating in the Restaurant Panoramique, as the view really is amazing.
La Bergerie : +33(0) 4 50 53 05 42
Plan Joran : +33 (0) 4 50 54 05 77
The best place to meet for lunch at Les Grands Montets is Le Cremerie du Glacier which you can drive or walk to( it’s a nice walk from Argentiere but quite steep, allow 20 minutes). Details in Les Grand Montets section.
With young children
For younger children (under 11) the Paradis Des Praz is just a short walk from the chalet. This little cabin has Vin Chaud for the adults, and snow tubing for the kids in its pretty wooded setting a short walk from the chalet. If it’s sunny they have pony rides too.
Leaving aside the garden, the best place for toboganning is the open field where the parapentes land, near the cross-country ski foyer. About 10 minutes walk from the chalet, it’s a sunny spot and popular with families. There’s a family friendly cafe close by (Le Robinson) to warm up in.
The Tree Adventures
These are always a hit – suggested for kids from 4-9, there’s a circuit of tree activities such as rope bridges. Kids are attached at all times by a harness, so it’s very safe. In winter, it’s done with snowshoes and they have an evening option with fondue.
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