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chamonix mont blanc

Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Once you arrive in Europe for a hiking adventure vacation, you will want to make the most of your trip and spend the least amount of time searching for travel connections and dining locations. The secret to a relaxed, rewarding adventure is knowing the best resources to keep you on the move. 

Many of our guests who come to the Alps for an Alpine Interface trip either arrive a few days prior to the trip, or extend their stay after the hike. And often, we get the same questions regarding where to eat, where to buy trekking shoes and rucksacks, what else there is to do in town, etc.

Below are links and information – a quick summary of favourite hotels, restaurants, sport shops, and, most importantly, how to get to your meeting point for our hiking trips.  

The following list is a quick summary of our favorite hotels, restaurants, sport shops, and Internet portals that will help you make your time in the Alps as enjoyable as possible. We will update this page regularly, and welcome any comments or information you might have regarding our links.

Chamonix-Mont Blanc is the meeting point for the following trips we offer:
Tour du Mont Blanc Express
Tour du Mont Blanc – Huts  & Inns
Chamonix Trails 
Chamonix Hut Trek

By air, the nearest airport is Geneva International Airport. It takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from the airport to Chamonix. There are several companies that offer shuttle services to and from the airport. Calculate between 25 – 40 € one-way per person for a shared shuttle. The easiest method is to book a transfer ahead of time online.

For a complete list of minibus shuttle services,  click here.

No-Frills airlines to Geneva
Here are several airlines that offer cheap flights to Geneva from many bigger European destinations:

Easyjet  “”UK airline, cheap flights from London, Paris, Nice, Amsterdam to Geneva and more.
Swiss International Air Lines  “”Cheap flights from Zurich, Paris, and other cities

Arrive by Train
For trains from Switzerland, to the Chamonix Valley:
Swiss Rail

For trains from other parts of France:
TGV  (bullet train)
SNCF  (French National Railway)

Getting around within the Chamonix Valley
Getting around by train and bus is very easy. If you have a carte d’hà´te (guest card), a secondary residence card or a “˜gens du pays’ card, the train service is free of charge within the Valley of Chamonix (Servoz to Vallorcine).

The carte d’hà´te should be given to you by your hotel, auberge, apartment owner, or campsite owner. Get the train schedule at any train station or tourist office, or on the Internet:

SNCF timetable  from St. Gervais to Martigny (The Mont Blanc Express).

The buses also run on a regular basis, however, they only run from Servoz to Argentière and Le Tour. There is no bus service to Vallorcine.
During the summer months, there is a bus from Chamonix to the Col des Montets, several times daily. Please ask at the Tourist Office for more details.

Getting around by train and bus is very easy. If you have a carte d’hôte (guest card), a secondary residence card or a “˜gens du pays’ card, the train service is free of charge within the Valley of Chamonix (Servoz to Vallorcine).

The carte d’hôte should be given to you by your hotel, auberge, apartment owner, or campsite owner. Get the train schedule at any train station or tourist office, or on the Internet:

SNCF timetable  from St. Gervais to Martigny (The Mont Blanc Express).

The buses also run on a regular basis, however, they only run from Servoz to Argentière and Le Tour. There is no bus service to Vallorcine.
During the summer months, there is a bus from Chamonix to the Col des Montets, several times daily. Please ask at the Tourist Office for more details.

Le Mulet

“Le Mulet” is a free service of collective transport organised by CCVCMB that follows a fixed route through the centre of Chamonix, including the large car park at south entrance to the town. It allows you to reach the main areas of Chamonix. Vehicles are equipped to welcome people with reduced mobility.

They make it easy to get around.

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The “Mulet” operates every 10 minutes in the summer, and every 15 minutes in mid season. It has connection points to the main bus service that continues up and down the valley to the main lift areas and villages. 

The Mulets replace the large buses that can no longer pass due to pedestrianization schemes and comply with a general trend towards removing diesel fumes from the streets of the resort. All Mulets are fitted with particulate filters to reduce air pollution. Each Mulet has 19 seats and Disability Access. No ticket required, not even a Carte d’Hote. Just climb aboard!

The first “Mulet” running solely on electricity started to shuttle passengers in 2016.

At the moment there are three Mulets in the base fleet which operate all year round.

Timetable

  • All year long: everyday, from 8am to 7:15pm, a Mulet every 15 minutes.
  • In winter and summer: everyday, from 8am to 7:15pm, a Mulet every 10 minutes.

Click here to see Mulet’s stop stations
Download the route map

 

One of our favourite outdoor  gear shops is Snell Sport.
They have a plethora of any imaginable outdoor gear, and lots of different brands. The sales crew is knowledge and very active themselves.
If you’re looking for poles, rucksacks, last minute clothing, gaiters, maps, boots, this is your place.

In Argentière, try Namaste Sports on the main road, run by Roban, a ‘local’ Swede who has been in the valley forever.

 

 

For many travellers, finding a decent meal at a reasonable price is not often easy, particularly in a ski town such as Chamonix with a plethora of fine dining, fast-food stands and more traditional ‘tourist traps’ with standards such as steak frites and salade niçoise of mixed lettuce and other unidentifiable items, often made up of the cheapest ingredients found with lots of filler and not much else. I am not really a ‘foodie’ but I really hate being taken for a ride when I head out for a meal.

My little list is far from exhaustive, but will give you an idea of what is available in Chamonix, whether you are a budget traveller or looking for a fine dining experience. 

La Maison Carrier

The Maison Carrier is located opposite of ENSA (The national mountaineering school) and the main roundabout into Chamonix from Geneva, is a step down from the Albert 1er, Michelin stars and all, yet retains all of the charm and quality of one of the high-end eateries without all of the hype and fanfare found in more traditional French restaurants which are more concerned with protocol rather than what’s in the plate.

The building itself is worth the visit with old timbers, antique furniture and one of the last curing chimneys of the valley where, if you look up, you will see hams curing and smoked sausages, well, smoking. Serges, the Maitre d’ is really the one who runs the show.
His French accent is just the right mix of Jacques Cousteau and Jean Reno while still allowing you to understand what’s on the menu and which wines will go well with the meal.
I could basically just have the dessert platter, which is a 2-tiered round table with roughly 30 different items to choose from.
Simply decadent but well worth it! They call it “ Vré de toutes les tartes de la Grand-Mère, which translates to ‘All of Grannie’s Goodies’!
Menus range from the ‘plat du jour’ (daily special) for € 19 to more elaborate feasts coming in at about € 40.
Serges is far from pushy when it comes to the wine list and will certainly suggest an excellent bottle for under € 25. The local Savoie wines are excellent, fruity and light and go well with most of the dishes on offer. Bon appetit!

Le Munchie Cuisine et Bar

If you like fusion food, you will certainly enjoy this Swedish-run gem in the heart of Chamonix night-life, the Rue des Moulins, located just against the River Arve, parallel to the main pedestrian area of Chamonix.
Heavily into Sushi and Thai dishes with a twist, this is the perfect gig if you have just spent 10 days hiking the Alps eating cheese,
hard bread and iceberg lettuce.
Some of my favourites are their spicy beef salad, lobster tom yum and Tempura baby shrimp.
They also offer daily specials. In summer, you can squeeze around the few tables they have directly in front of the restaurant but bring a jacket,
even on a warm summer’s night as the River Arve is rushing nearby bringing icy cold water from the many glaciers surrounding Chamonix.

Remember to reserve, they are always busy! Despite no smoking bans in restaurants, terraces are not off limits to those who want a cigarette between courses so keep that in mind
if you choose to eat outside. Not cheap, so be prepared to spend close to €50 per person for food and drinks.

PIE SUCRE & SALE

Pie et Sucré, Chamonix
If you make it to Chamonix in the French Alps for a hiking, mountaineering or skiing holiday, why not try a piece of pie made by Charles, a local pastry chef who has honed his skills at the Chateaux Lake Louise, in Alberta, Canada and has been making delicious, home made pastries for a decade in Chamonix, France. Steph and Charles, a French husband and wife team, work throughout the year serving gourmet pastries, specialty coffees and teas to locals and tourists alike. They offer reasonably priced meals for under 15 euros and fresh fruit juices. More than just a coffee shop, Pie has become a meeting place for many locals, tourists and shop owners stopping in for a chat, a quick espresso or a read of the local paper. But you better get there early, meaning, don’t expect pastries to last all day. Charles bakes early in the morning and then spends the remainder of the day serving clients.

Pie can be found at the end of the pedestrian-friendly Avenue Ravanel Le Rouge, at number 111, across from the Salomon running shop. Off season the café is shut Monday and Tuesday. And if you need advice on where to climb, hike, or ride, just ask Charles or Steph, they are both accomplished alpinists and hikers, and know riding and hiking trails in and around the Chamonix Valley very well.

Aux Petits Gourmands

Le magasin

Located in the ‘pedestrian zone’ / main street across the Lafuma store and near Snell’s Sporting goods,
this high-end pastry and chocolate shop is one of the best in Chamonix for fast service,
excellent food and a sunny terrace in the morning.

Not cheap, but who’s saving when on holiday?

Their macaroons are also delicious and they can package almost anything to take away.
This is a great place to read the paper, have a coffee and people watch as the café is located on the main pedestrian street of Chamonix.

If you need your fix of the Herald Tribune or another English-language paper, you can find it across the street
at the Maison de la Presse,near the Grand Hotel des Alpes, along with a huge selection of maps,
guide books and computer supplies downstairs.

Chambre 9 at the Hotel Gustavia

Strategically located directly across the street from the Chamonix train station, the Chambre 9 is where the locals congregate for both lunch and après-ski in the winter and for late evening meals in the summer. With a large, shaded terrace out front, the mostly Swedish staff are very efficient, courteous and the food is served fresh with a variety of dishes. Portions are big, and they do really nice specials, often quiches and salads in summer and stews and roasts in the winter. They also host live bands in the evenings and it is a great place to hang out after a day in the hills.

MBC, microbrewery in Chamonix

If you like pub food and handcrafted beers, this is the place for you in Chamonix. With live music, a multi-cultural staff
and lots of tasty nibbles, the MBC has turned into one of the best places to come for après-ski or simply for a good burger and fries.
Run by three of our friends, all hailing from Canada, this eclectic mix of friends make a large variety of micro-brews
from heavy stouts to lighter ales or wheat beers, all hand-crafted on location.
They host many local bands for live music and entertainment.

Overall, Chamonix has a great selection of places to eat but many simply don’t get it right. My suggestions above should not disappoint, but please keep in mind that we can all have an off day and generalizing is never a good thing. If you are not looking for a culinary experience of a lifetime, then you will certainly have a great night out and enjoy your food if you take me up on my selection of places to dine in Chamonix. If you have suggestions or have comments, please feel free to post them. Bon Appetit!

Courmayeur (via the Mont Blanc Tunnel from Chamonix)

Pizzeria Ristorante du Tunnel

If you have a vehicle and are planning to spend time in Courmayeur on the south side of the Mont Blanc range in Italy,
the Ristorante and Pizzeria Le Tunnel is the best deal in town.
I found this pizzeria many years ago because of the queue of patrons waiting to enter.
Tiny, with a ridiculously low ceiling on the top floor, this nondescript restaurant is well worth the drive.
Operated by southern Italians who really know how to make a thin crust, wood-fired pizza, you can get an excellent massive cheese pizza for under € 8.
Splurge a bit and indulge in a large variety of pizzas and salads, local wines and great desserts to choose from.
Their panna cotta is simply divine! Due to limited seating, you should reserve a table beforehand.
They have a terrace but it is right out on the road and Italians like to race by on their motorcycles and flash sports car at speeds several times the posted speed limit.

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