Rough Guide to living in Chamonix, France

Chamonix is a small town located at the bottom of the Mont Blanc mountain in the French Alps. Chamonix is approx 1 hour drive from Geneva airport and there is a major highway on the outskirts of the town making it very easy to commute from the airport.

Chamonix is just in France- the Italian boarder is located halfway through the Mont Blanc mountain and the boarder to Switzerland is located 15 minutes in the opposite direction.

Chamonix is a very popular town for snow skiing in the winter, with four major mountains and a large variety of ski runs, Chamonix’s major tourist base comes from mountain climbing, bouldering and mountain biking in the summer months.

Chamonix’s town centre is located at the bottom of the Brevant ski basin and has a main high street, a large variety of shops, hotels, restaurants and bars. Cham Sud is located at the end of the high street, its a small community area with apartment blocks, bars, restaurants and shops and could be described as a seasonnaire/local area.

Les Praz is a small suburb of Chamonix situated 5 mins drive outside of the town centre. It has local stores, restaurants, hotels, chalets and the ski area La Flegere. La Flegere is connected to the Brevant ski area via a gondola connecting the two mountains. La Flegere also has its own gondola allowing people to proceed directly to the La Flegere ski area from Les Praz village.

Argentiere is another suburb of Chamonix which once again has its own shops, restaurants, bars, hotels and ski basin called Les Grand Montets, the biggest single ski area in Chamonix. Les Grand Montets is the most popular mountain in Chamonix with the largest acreage and the largest number of lifts and ski schools.

The last ski area in the Chamonix mountain collection is Le Tour. Le Tour is located 20 minutes drive from the centre of Chamonix and has a ski area which is located half in France and half in Switzerland. It also has its own restaurants, hotels and shops but is significantly smaller than any of the other suburbs.

Chamonix has a very good bus service which runs between all the towns, ski basins and suburbs. It’s free with the purchase of a Chamonix area lift pass and whether it be in the summer or winter, a large number of buses run at very convenient times so it’s never a problem getting around the large area and its surroundings.

As Chamonix is popular year round, it has a number of excellent bars and restaurants, including the Jekyll, MBC, Monkey, Bar’d Up, Munster, La Terrasse, L’amnesia, Poco Loco, Le Vert and Chambre Neuf. Many of these bars and restaurants have good discounts, happy hours, apres and deal nights.

Chamonix has a large number of hotels, hostels and B&Bs. If you intend to spend a long period of time in Chamonix I suggest you rent an apartment, there are a large number of apartments available for long term rental in winter or summer. The best place to start your search is on the Chamonix locals’ message board called Cham Share. Cham Share is also a very useful tool to use for your stay in Chamonix, you can use it to search for jobs, accommodation, items, lifts, selling and buying things and just generally meeting new people. 

Chamonix is an exciting and vibrant place in both the winter and summer, with a large number of activities including skiing, mountain climbing, mountain biking, hiking, bouldering and more available. It is ideally located, surrounded by the Italian and Swiss boarders and is relatively easy to get to.

Rough guide to living in Chamonix France
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