Chamonix in the Summer

Chamonix Window boxes

Chamonix, or indeed the Alps may not be the first place you think of when planning your European summer sunshine holiday.  I suspect for many, Chamonix is more likely  associated with snow and skiing and winter holidays.  Having very recently spent a couple of days there as part of a longer trip I would suggest it is worth adding to your summer holiday wish list.

The setting is uniquely beautiful, situated near the massive peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges and the Aiguille du Midi.  Wherever you are in Chamonix you cannot fail to be overwhelmed by the surrounding landscape.  The north side of the summit of Mont Blanc, and therefore the summit itself are part of the village of Chamonix. The snow covered peak watches over the town of Chamonix with a calm and strong presence.  Admittedly the weather can be changeable  and it does disappear behind the clouds on a fairly regularly basis but it’s reassuring to know it’s there.

Chamonix

Chamonix

Out Door Chamonix

Chamonix is an out door town, even in the summer, or perhaps especially in the summer.  I suspect many of those who visit do so for serious trekking or climbing.  It is the start / finish point for the popular Tour du Mont Blanc Trek and also the Mont blanc to Matterhorn Trek. There are a whole range of other out door pursuits should you be so inclined.  We watched rafting,  body boarding along the river, and cycling, to name just a few.  To come to such a beautiful area and not set foot on the mountains would seem a crime, and you do not have to walk very far to feel alpine soil under your feet. Parapente or paragliding is a popular sport here too, should hanging gracefully in the air be your thing.  I have decided it is definitely mine, although am yet to try it!

Parpaente in Chamonix

If you are not inclined to pull on the walking boots for some serious mountain walking then I am reliably told one of the most exciting and fabulous excursions into the mountains is the cable car trip to the Aiguille du Midi for  a 360° view of  the French, Swiss and Italian Alps.  From here it is possible to take a gondola lift ride over the Glacier du Géant to the Pointe Helbronner in Italy.   Although we did not manage to do this on this occasion, it is certainly something we have added to our must do list next time we are in the area.

Shopping 

The streets are lined with outdoor shops.  From North Face to Helly Hanson to Marmot and everthing in between.  All the big names are here, with some very big prices too! If you are looking for out door gear and have a healthy bank balance you will find everything you could possibly need.  Of course there are  plenty of souvenir shops in which to buy your Chamonix t-shirts and fridge magnets and even a sprinkling of tasteful interiors and ‘frippery’ shops.

Chamonix

Eating and Drinking

There is an abundance of pavement cafes and restaurants although mostly places have lots of inside space too should the weather change.  As you would expect, cheese and meats feature heavily on most menus.  Alpine dishes such as Tartiflette and Raclette are never in short supply and vary in quality and quantity.

We found some delicious lunch options at the quirky but very pretty Cool Cats Cafe, a little bit removed from the main drag and probably all the better for it. Fresh fruit smoothies, avocado with local toasted bread, and a selection of delicious hot dogs.  All from locally sourced ingredients.

.Cool Cats Cafe Chamonix

Cool Cats Cafe Chamonix

Chamonix is not cheap, mostly coffee costs around €3.50, and beer is often significantly more.  I discovered that local wine was often the best value with large glasses from between €3-4. However find yourself a table in the sun with a view of Mont Blanc and that expensive coffee will soon seem very good value.

Ice cream is very popular in Chamonix.  If you spot a large queue, chances are it will be for ice cream.  I am married to an ice cream lover who in the interests of research consumed a considerable number of different flavoured boules de glace whilst we were in Chamonix and rated them all consistently highly.

Ice Cream in Chamonix

Flowers bloom in Chamonix, window boxes are packed with trailing geraniums, boarders are crammed with petunias and dahlias, and balconies groan under the weight of blossoms.

Chamonix Flowers

Chamonix

When the sky is blue, and puctuated by only wisps of cloud or splshes of colour from the ever present parapente,  it would be hard to imagine a more beautiful setting.   However be warned this is the Alps, and even in the height of summer the weather can be changeable.  So come prepared with sunscreen and waterproofs and you will have a fabulous time whatever the weather. Chamonix is too beautiful and and has too much to offer to leave it just for winter holidays.

19 Comments

    • angiev@blueyonder.co.uk
      August 25, 2017 / 9:04 am

      Thank you Tara, its a photogenic place.

  1. August 24, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    I love the Alps in the summer – the mountains are absolutely beautiful #FarawayFiles

    • angiev@blueyonder.co.uk
      August 25, 2017 / 9:05 am

      The mountains are breathtaking aren’t they. I have been to the alps often in winter but it was great to see a different side to them in the summer.

  2. August 24, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    I have spent plenty of summers in Chamonix as a child, staying at a campsite near Les Houches which was sold years ago to create land for yet more holiday chalets. It sure looks like the town has changed a lot since the 80’s / early 90’s, but that stunning scenery – and the possibility of a glimpse of Mont Blanc itself – is timeless. Extraordinary place – thanks for bringing back happy memories. #FarawayFiles
    p.s. I concur that the cable car to Aiguille du Midi is incredible 😉

    • angiev@blueyonder.co.uk
      August 25, 2017 / 9:09 am

      Hi Jonny, we stayed in Les Houches as we were walking the Tour du Mont Blanc. Chamonix is a busy town these days but in such a stunning area, I guess it’s not surprising! You are absolutely right Mont Blanc is timeless and he views change so much with the weather. We had a bit of everything whilst we were there, even in August. Definitely hope to do the cable care in the future.

  3. August 24, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    I do know Chamonix to be a ski destination but I’m absolutely sure that it’s just as lovely during the summer. While I may not be inclined to the mountain walking, the cable car ride sounds amazing! I bet the views from up there is fantastic! 🙂

    #farawayfiles

    • angiev@blueyonder.co.uk
      August 25, 2017 / 9:11 am

      I have often wondered what ski destinations are like in the summer so it was a great to visit the Alps in the summer. Just as beautiful but in a different way! Less hot chocolate drinking and more ice cream.

  4. August 25, 2017 / 3:52 am

    I am not a fan of snow and cold weather, so, I prefer to visit places like this when the weather is warmer. This place looks so beautiful with all the flowers and cute houses. I really like the painted walls. I saw something similar in Lucerne. #FarawayFiles

    • angiev@blueyonder.co.uk
      August 25, 2017 / 9:12 am

      We were visiting Chamonix as part of the Tour Du Mont Blanc which took us through Switzerland too. There are lots of similarities in the chalets and stunning flowers everywhere. I found it hard to stop taking pictures.

  5. August 25, 2017 / 9:36 am

    I loved reading this post. I felt as if I walked through Chamonix with you. I would prefer to visit without the snow as I hate the cold and I think it looks glorious with all the flowers and green mountains of the Alps #Farawayfiles

    • angiev@blueyonder.co.uk
      September 4, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment. It is very beautiful in the summer, the contrast of the blue skies, the green of the mountains with the peaks dipped in snow is perfect.

  6. August 25, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Chamonix looks absolutely lovely in the summer, although I can also imagine the appeal in the winter covered in snow! Will be adding this to my France bucket list! #FarawayFiles

  7. August 26, 2017 / 8:52 am

    Your featured image for this post attracted me, thus I was curious and clicked on the link 🙂 Back in 2008, I was in Chamonix for lunch – we were travelling from Italy to Switzerland – unfortunately, our lunch stop in Chamonix was too short that I didn’t remember much from the town. Love your photos of the town – very charming and picturesque 🙂 #FarawayFiles

  8. August 27, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    Beautiful Angie – I love the alps in summer. We were on the Swiss side exactly this time last year and it was wonderful. Loved all the blooms and sunshine as you did. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  9. I adore going to the mountains in the summer! (We just went to Northern Norway in July!) Chamonix looks like a little slice of heaven with those peaks and blue skies and all the flowers – I think I’d love it! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

    • angiev@blueyonder.co.uk
      September 3, 2017 / 10:33 pm

      Chamonix is very beautiful Funnily enough I have just been looking at Norway as a future destination after reading you wonderful Glamping in the Lofoten Isles post. It looks completely fabulous.

  10. August 28, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    Holy cow, Chamonix in summer looks absolutely beautiful! I would have my camera out the entire time!

    • angiev@blueyonder.co.uk
      September 3, 2017 / 10:33 pm

      I did take lots of pictures, some serious editing has been in order!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *