10 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Chamonix, France

When we hear “South of France” or southern France, the first thing that comes to our mind is historical cities with romantic beaches, visited by people with posh lifestyles.

If that’s what you think, you are right. But there are many more! Especially in southeastern France, almost endless spectacular scenery awaits, particularly in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

For me, of all the places in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Chamonix (Complete name: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc) is the most worth visiting. In this blog post, I will give you 10 reasons why Chamonix is an unmissable destination in France and Europe!

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By the end of this post, you should have discovered all the beautiful things I know about Chamonix. Apparently, they are the reasons why Chamonix is so much worth visiting.

This post includes the best things to do in Chamonix, the best photography spots, bucket list attractions, and much more. You can also find tips, maps, and links to official websites and trusted sources to help you have an epic trip to Chamonix if you decide to visit. 

I’m passionate about the mountains, and they are my favorite destinations. With all that I wrote about Chamonix in this post, I’m sure you will have a fun and memorable trip if you go to Chamonix after reading this.

Remember, you may skip to different parts of the article by using the table of contents.

To begin, let me give you a summary of why you should visit Chamonix by answering the question:

Is Chamonix Worth Visiting?

Yes, Chamonix is absolutely worth visiting! The stunning alpine scenery and fun adventures you can have in Chamonix are unmissable. You’ll probably enjoy seeing and entering the gigantic Mer de Glace glacier, hiking to mirror-like Lac Blanc, stepping into the void in Aiguille du Midi, and more.

You may be wondering what exactly are the fun and these “enjoyable attractions” in Chamonix I’m talking about. Don’t worry! We’ll discuss every one of them in this post. 

Before we discuss the 10 reasons to visit Chamonix (its attractions and the activities you can visit/do), I’ll introduce Chamonix first. I’ll let you know where Chamonix is, how you can get to Chamonix, and when you must visit Chamonix.

This information should be helpful when creating your itinerary for your trip to France or Europe. They should let you know if it is practical for you to visit Chamonix considering the other places you want to visit too.

Introduction to Chamonix

Chamonix France, Statue of Balmat and Saussure
Statue of Balmat and Saussure

A few years ago, I suffered from anxiety caused by my frustrating job. Thanks to my friend who brought me to the mountains—there, I was able to start my healing.

That trip to the mountains gave me a lot of time to breathe, discover nature’s beauty, and find myself. It’s a long story. But it can be summarized with a realization I made:

The mountains are a beautiful place, and they give us holistic benefits of traveling. Oh, fun and memorable experiences, too!

The thing is, even if you’re not like I was, going to the mountains is a must. It is, especially if you still haven’t been there. Sometimes, once can be enough.

In my case, after I’ve been in the mountains, I realized it’s where I’m going to retire!

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Where is Chamonix

Chamonix France, Aerial View of Chamonix from Plan Praz
Aerial View of Chamonix from Plan Praz

If you plan to have a trip to Europe (or France) and you want to see the mountains, Chamonix is one of the towns you must consider visiting. It is a beautiful alpine town perched near Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps.

Yes, Chamonix is in the Alps. The town proper is at an elevation of 1,035 meters or 3,396 feet. And if that made you think you might get altitude sickness, worry not. Not very often, Slight altitude sickness only starts to kick in at an elevation higher than 2500 meters or 8000 feet.

You can easily find Chamonix on a map. Look at where the French, Swiss, and Italian borders meet. The part of France that neighbors both Italy and Switzerland is Chamonix.

Using Google Maps and Rome2Rio, I found all the cities close to Chamonix. I listed them in the table below. You may use this table as your reference to find the airport to get to Chamonix or a destination before/after Chamonix.

City/Town Country Airport
Geneva Switzerland International
Montreux Switzerland None
Sion Switzerland Regional
Bern Switzerland International
Grenoble France International
Chambery France International
Lyon France International
Annecy France None
Turin Italy International
Milan Italy International
Cities in proximity to Chamonix (airport details)
City/Town Road Distance Travel Time
Geneva 82 kilometers 1 hour
Montreux 86 kilometers 1 hour 13 minutes
Sion 72 kilometers 1 hour 5 minutes
Bern 177 kilometers 2 hours 6 minutes
Grenoble 146 kilometers 2 hours
Chambery 146 kilometers 1 hour 26 minutes
Lyon 223 kilometers 2 hours 16 minutes
Annecy 101 kilometers 1 hour 6 minutes
Turin 169 kilometers 2 hour
Milan 240 kilometers 2 hours 35 minutes
Cities in proximity to Chamonix (road distance and travel time)
City/Town Transportation Travel Time
Geneva direct bus 1 hour 10 minutes
Montreux 3 train rides 2 hours 41 minutes
Sion 3 train rides 2 hours 23 minutes
Bern 2 bus rides 4 hours 29 minutes
Grenoble direct bus 2 hours 40 minutes
Chambery direct bus 2 hours 15 minutes
Lyon direct bus 2 hours 55 minutes
Annecy direct bus 1 hour 10 minutes
Turin direct bus 3 hours 5 minutes
Milan direct bus 3 hours 55 minutes
Cities in proximity to Chamonix (public transportation and travel time)

I mentioned this information as we often consider the location of a destination (Chamonix, for this instance) if we’ll add it to our travel itinerary or not.

Here’s an interactive map to show you the exact location of Chamonix:

However, if you find Chamonix too far from your other destinations and decide not to go, don’t leave this page so fast! My 10 reasons to visit Chamonix will definitely change your mind.

Hello, I just want to share. If you plan to travel to France, don’t forget to check its other beautiful cities (click the names of each city to read in a new tab):

  • Colmar – discover the town, the best place to satisfy your escapism desires.
  • Paris – check out my list of 10 unmissable places in this city.
  • Reims – this is the city where the kings of France had their coronations for generations!
  • Strasbourg – it is one of the capital cities of Europe where you can find charming medieval, industrial, and modern buildings.
  • Avignon – come here to see where the popes lived in the 14th century.

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How To Go To Chamonix

Chamonix France, Chamonix Train Station
Chamonix Train Station

Based on the three tables comparing the cities and towns around Chamonix, we can say that Geneva is the best city where you can start your journey to Chamonix. It is most particularly when you are coming from abroad/overseas.

Geneva has an international airport with many flight connections and is the city closest to Chamonix by road distance. It would only take roughly more or less than an hour to get to Chamonix from Geneva.

At the same time, Geneva is where you can have many options for a day trip to Chamonix. With the tour services available in Geneva, you don’t have to worry about planning every detail of your journey to Chamonix.

That’s the case when let’s say, you don’t have time to plan (booking entry passes, checking bus schedules, buying train tickets, preparing your itinerary, and so on). 

If you choose Geneva as your jump-off location to Chamonix, read my article about Geneva. There I mention the beautiful things and the unmissable attractions in Geneva.

Before heading to Chamonix, do you want to see a beautiful city in France or Italy? Aside from Geneva, I suggest Lyon (the Gateway to the French Alps), Annecy (the Venice of the Alps), and Milan (one of the Fashion Capital of the World).

Day trips and tours to Chamonix are also available from Annecy, Lyon, and Milan. You can check a list of day trips and excursions to Chamonix from this link.

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Tour Or D.I.Y. In Visiting Chamonix

Chamonix France, Hiking trips in Chamonix

If you ask me whether to get a guided tour/day trip to Chamonix or not? I’d recommend that, as much as possible, and if you know you can, have it DIY.

Control over your time in the Chamonix is essential, mainly since the overall experience will depend on the scenery you’ll see. The weather is a significant factor in why you would enjoy Chamonix.

Picturesque lakes, spectacular snowy mountain peaks, the heavenly sea of clouds, and beautiful glaciers await you in Chamonix. 

Bad weather, rain, or fog covering the scenic views is a total bummer. As much as possible, especially when it is not summer, you allot a time allowance for the bad weather to pass. The weather and the views in the mountains change quickly, especially if there are strong winds.

An hour for each day and an extra day for multi-day trips are enough time allowances for me. 

Sometimes, that “time allowance” is for when you stumble upon a spot with an absolutely stunning scenic view. That is the kind of moment that will make you wish for the time to freeze.

The spectacular views alone, I believe, can make you say Chamonix is worth it!

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Best Time To Visit Chamonix

Chamonix France, Summer in Chamonix village

Indeed, the weather is a critical factor if you will find your experience in Chamonix (the mountains/alps in General) worth it or not. This is why you really must check the climate before you plan to go to Chamonix.

I am not a weather expert, but I’ll try to give you suggestions based on the information from my resources:

  • weather-atlas.com — All-year climate information about Chamonix
  • seechamonix.com — Weather forecast and information about mountain climate, safety precautions, altitude effects, winds, and more. 

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re a non-skier, the best season to visit Chamonix is during summer. It is the time when almost all hiking trails are open, alpine lakes are not frozen, and the skies are clear. Most importantly, bucket-list attractions in Chamonix are accessible to everyone during summer.

Although summer starts in June, the highest probability that you’ll experience pleasant weather in Chamonix lies from August to September (extending to early October)

During these months, there is an average of 14 to 20 sunshine days, 13 to 8 rainfall days, and less than 40% cloud cover. The driest month in Chamonix is September, with only 15mm of precipitation.

However, this does not mean you must not visit Chamonix during other seasons. Chamonix is actually a ski resort. If you love skiing, husky rides, ice-climbing, and more, you should find Chamonix well worth a visit during winter.

As far as I know, Chamonix is an all-year destination. The season you should visit Chamonix depends on the activities you want to do and the scenery you want to see. We’ll discuss more of these later on.

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10 Reasons To Visit Chamonix

The location and season (or weather) are always necessary to consider when planning to travel. However… Suppose you ask me, “what should weigh more when deciding to visit a destination?” My answer is the overall experience you can get from it.

In the case of Chamonix, you can expect to see breathtaking scenery and have absolutely unforgettable experiences. Apparently, they are the reason why you must visit Chamonix (see below).

  1. Charming Villages
  2. Awe-Inspiring Mountains
  3. Picturesque Lakes
  4. Spectacular Glaciers
  5. Once In A Lifetime Adventures
  6. Alpine Wildlife
  7. Overall Wellbeing Improvement
  8. Bucket List Attractions
  9. Fun Festivals & Events
  10. An All-Year Destination

Let’s kick off the list with the places you can easily visit.

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Reason no. 1 Charming Villages

Chamonix France, Église Saint-Michel in Chamonix
Église Saint-Michel in Chamonix

The first reason you would want to visit Chamonix is that it’s a beautiful village surrounded by alpine beauty. Located in a valley called Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Valley, there is no wonder why everywhere you look, there are mountains you can see.

If you haven’t seen legit chalets, visiting Chamonix is your chance! Chalets are lovely alpine houses made of wood, often decorated with colorful flowering plants on their balconies. During spring, you can also find colorful flower decorations on the street and on river railings. 

Chamonix France, A chalet in Chamonix valley
A chalet in Chamonix valley

Visitors who love taking photos can make hundreds of new ones by just wandering around the village. Needless to say, the snow-capped mountains in the backdrop of the buildings in Chamonix are yet another factor why the town looks so magical—irresistible not to take pictures.

But, did you know that Chamonix isn’t the only village in the valley? There are four more villages, and they all look undeniably charming and scenic! 

Chamonix France, Statue of Balmat and Saussure
Statue of Balmat and Saussure

These villages in Chamonix valley are Servoz, Les Houches, Argentiere, and Vallorcine (southwest to northeast). Chamonix is in the middle of the valley, between Les Houches and Argentiere.

If you’re from Lyon, Annecy, or Geneva, the village in the valley you’ll reach first is Servos. If you’re from Italy, you’ll go straight to Chamonix. Then, from other parts of Switzerland, it’s Vallorcine.

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Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Chamonix France, Beautiful flower decorations in Chamonix village center
Beautiful flower decorations in Chamonix village center

Chamonix is the most famous village in the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Valley as it’s also the largest and has the most attractions. If you choose Chamonix downtown as your base, accessing/visiting 9 tourist attractions in the Chamonix valley will be simple.

swipe the 360° image below to see more views

Aside from the lovely chalets, some of the little gems you can find in Chamonix village are the frescoes in the pedestrian center. They depict the 250 years of Chamonix history and Chamonix’s most prominent mountaineering pioneers. 

If you are interested in history, you may visit the Alpine Museum near Place Saussure (the square with the statues of Saussure, which commemorates the first ascent of Mont Blanc). In the Alpine Museum, you’ll find the history of Chamonix. Also, some information about the geology and artistic heritage of the valley.

Chamonix France, Alpine Museum in Chamonix
Alpine Museum in Chamonix

Here are more attractions or activities that are near and can be directly accessed from the Chamonix village:

  1. Brevent Cable Car — lets you see a stunning panorama of the Mont Blanc Massif (via Telecabine de Planpraz station). 
  2. Aiguille du Midi (valley station) — a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif rising 3,842 meters (12600 feet) above sea level. It is served with one of the highest cable cars in the world! 
  3. Montenvers — the viewing point of the spectacular Mer de Glace (glacier).

These attractions are also reasons why you should visit Chamonix. We’ll discuss them separately in other parts of this post. 

For most travelers, visiting Chamonix village and its nearby attractions should be enough. But suppose you’re into slow travel, seeking more little gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations in Chamonix valley. Then, other villages are the way to go.

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Servoz Mont-Blanc

Other villages in the Chamonix Valley look definitely more idyllic. Servoz, for example, will not disappoint your expectations when it comes to mountain country vibes

swipe the 360° image below to see more views

Servoz is an excellent village to see if you wish to discover the local heritage within the alps. Here, you can still find alpine farms, traditional bread ovens, centuries-old fountains, and charming flower-embellished chalets.

To learn more about the local heritage, you might want to visit Maison du Lieutenant Museum, about a 30-minute hike from Servoz station. Along the way to the museum, you should find the entrance to Diosaz Gorge—a spectacular canyon with a succession of 5 waterfalls. 

Maison du Lieutenant Museum is one of the historical buildings in the Servoz village. Inside, some local products and fascinating exhibits about alpine agriculture (animals, plants, mountain pastures, equipment used, and more) can be found. 

I must not forget to mention to you that Servoz village is the “Arts and Craft Village” of the Chamonix Valley. Most locals are craftsmen and artists willing to share their talents and heritage with their visitors.

This is why you can find several workshops in the village. Maison du Lieutenant Museum is an example of the places in Servoz that offer workshops.

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Les Houches Mont-Blanc

Between the Servoz and Chamonix lies the village of Les Houches. Of all the settlements in Chamonix valley, it has the shortest straight line distance to Mont-Blanc. 

Is it contemplation or just relaxation you seek? Les Houches is also an option to do so.

swipe the 360° image below to see more views

Like Servoz, Les Houches, you will also find several alpine pastures in the village. The serene views of the snow-capped Mont-Blanc mountain range and the birds chirping in Les Houches shall not fail to soothe you to the bones!

Three attractions (Merlet Animal Park, Chavants Leisure Area, and Prarion Cable car) in the Chamonix valley are primarily accessed from Les Houches. And oh, Les Houches also has a museum, and it is called the Mountain Museum. 

Are you interested in discovering the people’s daily lives in the Chamonix valley in the past? If yes, the Mountain Museum is the place to go. 

The Mountain Museum is a reconstruction of a traditional homestead in a mid-18th century farmhouse. Inside, you’ll find exhibits depicting the items, tools, equipment, and other objects formerly used by the people in the Chamonix valley.

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Argentiere Mont-Blanc

To the north of Chamonix village, we find the village of Argentiere. It is the one promoted by the Chamonix tourism office as the place for its visitors to see beautiful examples of the region’s traditional architecture.

swipe the 360° image below to see more views

Exploring the Argentiere, although not many, you can find unique chalets constructed with more materials from the mountains. 

Like, if you go to the northern portion of the Argentiere and walk along Chemin de la Moraine, you can find a house that is half made of wood and half made of colorful stone bricks. It’s pretty fascinating to see that even the fences along the street are made of thin mountain rocks.

Chemin de la Moraine is very easy to find. Just go to the Eglise d’Argentiere, a 5-minute walk north of Argentiere station, and then proceed east. 

By the way, Eglise d’Argentiere is an 18th-century church built in baroque style. And before you arrive at Eglise d’Argentiere, you shall find an Instagrammable arch stone bridge allowing you to cross the Arve River. 

The main attraction in Argentiere, however, is the glacier tucked in the mountains east of the village.

The glacier is named after the town (Argentiere Glacier). You can get to its viewing point at Grands Montets from Grands Montets Gondola valley station.

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Vallorcine Mont-Blanc

There are hundreds of hiking trails in Chamonix. However, if you are looking for quieter ones, you can go to Vallorcine. It has lengthy serene trails where you can contemplate and fully commune with nature.

swipe the 360° image below to see more views

Vallorcine is the northernmost village in the Chamonix Valley you can find only a few kilometers away from Switzerland. Here, more than 80 kilometers of scenic tracks perfect for a relaxing stroll in the mountains await. 

The tracks starting from Vallorcine will bring you to the hidden gems near the French-Swiss border, like Trè-Les-Eaux valley, Bérard valley, and Cornes de Loriaz

You should find a unique view of the Chamonix valley that reaches Argentiere from Refuge de Loriaz (Mont-Blanc Massif in the backdrop).

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Reason no. 2 Awe-Inspiring Mountains

Chamonix France, View of Mont Blanc from Les Houches
View of Mont Blanc from Les Houches

Previously we discussed the villages in the Chamonix valley. Although they are lovely places to visit already, there is nothing more special about Chamonix than the mountains.

It is mainly because of Mont Blanc—the highest peak in the Alps. Towering just above the Chamonix valley, it is needless to say that Mont Blanc is a reason to visit Chamonix.

In all of Europe, Mont Blanc is the second highest peak, touching the sky at a dizzying height of 4,807 meters (15,774 feet) above sea level. I think it is a bucket list just to see or be at one of the highest places in the world. 

If you haven’t felt the top-of-the-world feeling, then going to Chamonix will surely let you have it. Believe me, it is blissful, despite the chilling winds.

Up there, you’ll realize how spectacular nature really is. The heavenly sea of clouds, the rugged peaks, and the layers of mountains with fading shades of blue!

Yes, the views on the mountain tops are incredible. However, going to the top of Mont Blanc isn’t easy and will require hours of hiking. 

Although this is the case, getting very near Mont Blanc’s summit will only take minutes. Using a cable car, which station lies at the heart of Chamonix village, the journey to the top of Mont Blanc massif can be shortened to 20 minutes.

The cable car trip to the top of Mont Blanc massif ends at a peak called Aiguille du Midi, 3842 meters above sea level. On a sunny day in Aiguille du Midi, it’s not only the summit of Mont Blanc you’ll find. The panorama includes sweeping views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps.

Aiguille du Midi is the main mountain top destination in Chamonix. It is visited by nearly half a million visitors a year

It is there in Aiguille du Midi, where most mountaineers start their hike to the tip of Mont Blanc. The climb to Mont Blanc from Aiguille du Midi usually takes a day to 2 days to finish. I don’t recommend hiking Mont Blanc unless you have technical skills and a high level of physical fitness.

Here are some photos to show you how beautiful Mont Blanc and the mountains are in Chamonix. Have a look:

Chamonix France, View of Mont Blanc massif during golden hour
Chamonix France, View of Mont Blanc massif during golden hour
Chamonix France, View of Mont Blanc massif during golden hour
Chamonix France, View of Mont Blanc massif during golden hour
Chamonix France, View of Mont Blanc massif during golden hour

The journey to the top of Mont Blanc massif does not end at Aiguille du Midi. You can go further to the other side of Mont Blanc in Pointe Helbronner in Italy.

Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner are connected by Panoramic Mont Blanc Cable Car. It is a 5-kilometer journey in the sky across the French-Italian border, letting you see different perspectives of Mont Blanc and the rest of the Alps.

Worry not to go back to Chamonix after crossing to Italy. For your convenience, purchase the panoramic Mont Blanc Cable Car offers a round-trip ticket.

Usually, Aiguille du Midi is open all year round aside from the scheduled maintenance dates in November. Opening hours vary per season. Access is subject to favorable weather.

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Reason no. 3 Picturesque Lakes

Chamonix France, Overlooking view of Lacs des Chéserys
Overlooking view of Lacs des Chéserys

The mountains in Chamonix are indeed stunning. But if you really want to be wonderstruck, try visiting even one of the lakes in these mountains

Why? It’s because alpine lakes are one of the most beautiful natural spots ever. For me, they are a reason to visit Chamonix.

Alpine lakes are exceptional and extremely beautiful. Unlike ordinary lakes, alpine lakes tend to be more pristine, clear (sometimes turquoise), and surrounded by lovely flora and fauna. Thanks to the mineral-rich glacial waters feeding them!

If you need a place to relax in tranquility, spend time practicing photography, or just be awe-filled by nature’s beauty. The alpine lakes won’t disappoint you.

When there’s an absence of strong winds (typically during September based on the weather summary in Chamonix), you may find these alpine lakes manifesting an otherworldly appearance. They appear very calm and reflective, acting like a giant mirror!

What’s more fascinating is that, if you try to view the alpine lakes from a certain angle, you’ll see their waters reflecting the mountain peaks inverted on their surface. It is the scene that you and every photographer can’t miss!

Do you want to know where these beautiful lakes in Chamonix are?

Well, there are many lakes you can visit in Chamonix. Actually, you can even find a few in the villages! But, appearance-wise, they are no match to the high-elevation lakes.

If you wish to see unparalleled alpine beauty, visit the lakes in the Aiguilles Rouges mountain range. This mountain range is the one opposite the Mont Blanc massif across the Chamonix valley.

If you’re in Chamonix village, the Aiguilles Rouges range is the group of mountains you’ll see when you look northwest. You should notice that it’s lower than Mont Blanc Massif. 

Because of the lakes’ position and elevation in the Aiguilles Rouges range, travelers visiting these alpine lakes can see the peaks of Mont Blanc Massif from their surface

Of all the beautiful lakes in Chamonix, the two you must not miss visiting are Lac Blanc and Lacs des Chéserys (and yes, they are in the Aiguilles Rouges range). Unfortunately, for now, they can only be reached by hiking. 

Chamonix France, Golden hour in Lacs des Chéserys
Golden hour in Lacs des Chéserys
Chamonix France, Sunset in Lacs des Chéserys
Sunset in Lacs des Chéserys
Chamonix France, Wide angle shot of Lac Blanc
Wide angle shot of Lac Blanc
Chamonix France, Mont Blanc reflections in Lac Blanc
Mont Blanc reflections on Lac Blanc
Chamonix France, Zoom in shot of Lac Blanc
Zoomed-in shot of Lac Blanc

Of the two, the more famous lake is the one named after Mont Blanc, which is Lac Blanc. At 2352 meters (7716 feet), in Lac Blanc, you can see another super breathtaking view of Mont Blanc with its inverted image on the lake’s surface.

On the other hand, Lacs des Chéserys, a group of small lakes not too far from Lac Blanc, has almost a similar panorama seen from Lac Blanc.

However, Lacs des Chéserys are slightly lower than Lac Blanc at 1,998 meters (6555 feet). If the wind isn’t blowing wild and the lake’s surface is calm, you should see more parts of Mont Blanc reflected on its surface.

Lac Blanc and Lacs des Chéserys are accessed from several hiking trails and can be trekked in one hiking trip. You can either start from Argentiere or Chamonix.

However, if you want to hike less demanding trails, I suggest you start from Chamonix and take a cable car ride to Flégère. From Flégère station, you can make a round trip visiting both lakes in approximately 4 hours.

Note that 4 hours is ideal, and there is no pausing along the hike. Considering the time needed for quick rests, meals, taking pictures, admiring the views, and waiting for cloud clearing, the realistic length of the trip would be 5 to 6 hours

Here’s a map you can use as a reference if you want to visit Lac Blanc and Lacs des Chéserys:

Suppose you want to witness the ultimately awe-inspiring sunset and sunrise in Lac Blanc. In that case, you may utilize the refuge near Lac Blanc for an overnight stay. Here’s the website of Lac Blanc Refuge if you want to book your stay.

Lastly, remember that these alpine lakes freeze during winter and may stay frozen until the summer months. So, visit only during summer! 🙂

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Reason no. 4 Spectacular Glaciers

Chamonix France, Glaciers in the Mont Blanc massif seen from Chamonix
Glaciers in the Mont Blanc massif seen from Chamonix

Aside from alpine lakes, glaciers are another natural wonder you can find in the mountains surrounding Chamonix. They are a reason to visit Chamonix (or the alps, in general) because they’re just marvelous and rare.

Believe it or not, you can enter inside a glacier in Chamonix! People call the place the Ice Cave. It is one of the most unique and exciting experiences you should not miss.

Particularly since the global temperature is rising, there’s somehow an urgency to see a glacier. 

Although the glaciers can’t disappear instantly, they thaw faster than before. And who knows, maybe five or ten years from now, we aren’t allowed to enter the Ice Cave because it has developed hazards of collapsing. (Just my opinion)

There are several glaciers in Chamonix. Most of them are located in the Mont Blanc massif. The lower temperature from the high elevation mountain range allowed glaciers to exist up until now.

Among the glaciers in Chamonix, the largest ones are Argentière Glacier, Bossons Glacier, Mer de Glace, Géant Glacier. And the most famous of them and what you would not miss seeing in Chamonix is Mer de Glace or “Sea of Ice.” 

Chamonix France, View of Argentiere Glacier from Argentiere
View of Argentiere Glacier from Argentiere
Chamonix France, Argentiere Glacier
Argentiere Glacier
Chamonix France, Bossons Glacier
Bossons Glacier

Sizing more than 7 kilometers (4.7 miles) and 200 meters (660 feet) deep, Mer de Glace is considered the longest glacier in France. It is the second longest in the Alps, next to the Aletsch glacier you can see from Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.

One of the ways you can see Mer de Glace is by going to its famous viewing deck in one of the ridges of Aiguilles de Chamonix (the rocky part of the Mont Blanc massif). You can go to Mer de Glace’s panoramic deck using Montenvers funicular railway, which has a station in Chamonix village.

At Mer de Glace’s panoramic deck, you’ll be overlooking the glacier, of course. Also, you’ll see sharp and pointy 3000 to 4000-meter (13123-feet) peaks that are absolutely spectacular, especially during the golden hours.

Chamonix France, Mer de Glace
Mer de Glace

These peaks are also Chamonix’s superstar mountains alongside Mont Blanc. Namely, Les Grands Jorasses, Les Drus, and Aiguille du Grépon.

You should find a cable car that descends onto Mer de Glace from the train station (which is also the viewing deck). The cable car will bring you to the entrance of the Ice Cave, a dug-out tunnel into the glacier.

The Ice Cave, with its blueness, is absolutely out of this world! You may also marvel at the ice sculptures and Mont Blanc massif crystals in the Ice Cave.

Chamonix France, Entrance to Mer de Glace Ice Cave
Entrance to Mer de Glace Ice Cave
Chamonix France, Inside Mer de Glace (Ice Cave)
Inside Mer de Glace (Ice Cave)
Chamonix France, Inside Mer de Glace (Ice Cave)
Chamonix France, Ice sculptures in Mer de Glace (Ice Cave)
Ice sculptures in Mer de Glace (Ice Cave)

For curious minds who want to learn more about glaciers, there is the Glaciorium.” It has educational videos and exhibitions about glaciers, the climate’s effect on the glaciers, and many more. I suggest you come to this museum first, so you may understand and enjoy the Ice Cave even more.

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Reason no. 5 Once In A Lifetime Adventures

Chamonix France, Tandem Paragliding in Chamonix

Chamonix is literally surrounded by breathtaking natural attractions. The mountains, lakes, and glaciers—they’re all awe-inspiring. A day or two is not enough to see everything! 

While sightseeing or just relaxing sitting on a balcony of your chalet can be worthwhile already, adventures are the “thing” that will absolutely make your vacation or trip really memorable

Why? Because adventures are fun and can help you conquer your fears. They are also a way to live your life to the fullest! In Chamonix, you can find numerous adventurous activities, giving you opportunities for that fantastic trip

A trip that you can share with all your friends. Also, the one you can remember all your life. Live life, yeah!

According to the official Chamonix tourism website, you can have hiking, trail running, mountain biking, white water sports, paragliding, panoramic flights, and many more. Also, you can bring your dog, your little partner, on your adventure hikes in Chamonix!

The range of adventure and activities in Chamonix is so extensive that I think there’s something for everybody. However, if there’s an adventure that should be on everyone’s bucket list, it is panoramic flights or paragliding.

Paragliding is a bit expensive, but the experience one can get is massive! Feel the thrill, awe, and refreshing wind all the same time while having a bird’s eye view of Mont Blanc and its giant glaciers. 

Worry not about how you will pilot, as you will be accompanied by an experienced paragliding tandem partner who will take care of everything. All you will do is enjoy the breathtaking views while singing “I’m like a bird” by Nelly Furtado. 

Your fear of heights will undoubtedly be replaced by “I wanna do it all again” thoughts after the flight. Learn more about tandem paragliding in Chamonix here

I just want to share that if it is the adventure you seek mainly, Switzerland (click to see 3 to 14-day itinerary) is the place to be. Interlaken, a beautiful alpine town in Switzerland, is one of the adventure capitals of Europe, and it has more adventures to offer than Chamonix.

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Reason no. 6 Alpine Wildlife

Chamonix France, Alpine Ibex in Chamonix

It’s not only the scenery and adventure that makes Chamonix worth visiting. Another reason why you would want to visit Chamonix is for the wildlife in the alps. The animals in the alpine wilderness are the most magical you can ever find (in my opinion).

My judgment is mainly influenced by the animals in my favorite fantasy movies. The two movies I can’t miss mentioning are the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings.

If you have watched them, I know you are familiar with the elven king’s (Thranduil) elk—that made me think that the animals in the alps are magical! 

There are no elks in Chamonix as they are primarily located in North America. However, Chamonix has deers which are pretty much the same as elks. Fact, an elk is a type of deer.

Aside from deers, you will also find Alpine ibex, chamois, marmot, and more in Chamonix. You can even encounter wildlife while hiking to Lac Blanc and Lacs des Chéserys! Like these lakes, these animals are the gems you find while hiking in Chamonix.

Know that Lac Blanc and Lacs des Chéserys are a part of Aiguilles Rouges National Nature Reserve; that’s why you can expect to see wildlife here.

Chamonix France, Ibex near Lac Blanc
Chamonix France, Ibex near Lac Blanc

Sometimes, you will see these animals eating the grass or just staring at you. If you like taking photos, this can be the chance to practice wildlife photography. Imagine you’re the stealthy NatGeo Wild photographer! Haha!

Suppose you love animals and don’t want to miss seeing these gracious alpine creatures. In that case, you should reserve your visit to Merlet Wildlife park now! Here’s the link to Park Merlet’s reservation page.

Merlet Wildlife Park takes care of many animals found in the mountains, including different kinds of deer, marmot, ibex, and chamois. Believe it or not, there are also llamas in the park! With them here, it’s like you’ve been to South African mountains too.

The thing is, the alpine animals in Merlet Wildlife Park aren’t caged. They roam freely in the woods and meadows, and you can easily spot them on the mini hiking trail of the park. 

Merlet Wildlife Park is perched 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level in the Aiguilles Rouges mountain range. In some parts, you can see/photograph these majestic animals with the Mont Blanc massif in the backdrop.

You may check Merlet Wildlife Park’s website to prepare for your visit. If you are interested, make sure that you book as early as possible. Especially during the summer, reservation slots get filled quickly.

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Reason no. 7 Overall Wellbeing Improvement

Chamonix France, Meditative Hiking in Chamonix

Mountainous regions like Chamonix are places for fun, adventure, and relaxation. There are numerous awe-inspiring attractions and fantastic things to do, all in one destination. This is why going to Chamonix would not be a waste of time and money.

Awe will definitely fill you every now and then in Chamonix. This, with the adrenaline-pumping adventures? Your stress, worries, and anxieties will definitely be erased from your mental space!

How do I know the mountains can do this? I experienced it myself. Sometimes I think nature has this magical power that can heal what’s hurting inside. 

Also, I just want to share that my travel experiences in the mountains are the ones that gave me the strength to pursue my passion. Hiking the mountain made me realize that if I can conquer the mountains, I can also conquer the mountains within me and achieve my dreams

That said, mountains can holistically benefit and improve us. Not to mention the fresh air that’s so good for our lungs! And those, I think, is the best reason why everyone should visit places like Chamonix. 

However, it is necessary to remember that the beautiful scenery and soothing tranquility in the mountains are just our enablers for us to acquire this holistic benefit of traveling to the mountains

For you to have it is simple: spend more time in the mountains. Hike and give yourself time to commune with nature. Let the peaceful surroundings and your brain resonate. 

By having a peaceful mind, we can look within ourselves, soul search, release the tensions within us, and introspect. After a day, two, or more days of doing this, I bet you will feel healed and improved.

Also, you do not need to go to extreme secluded locations in Chamonix to make a life-changing trip. As long as you can find peace, it will be enough. 

Some visitors to Chamonix hire instructors to accompany them on mountain meditative trips. In this case, Intuition Montagne can help. You can learn about Intuition Montagne from their website (in French)

You can also find mountain meditation groups/workshops in Chamonix that offer Yoga classes. They can teach you different disciplines and techniques on how you can heal, attain mindfulness, and so on. A few that I discovered are:

  1.  Andanda Yoga Studio
  2. Sattva Yoga
  3. Tadasana Yoga

Note. I do not endorse or promote specific businesses in this post. I mention them only for the awareness of my readers.

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Reason no. 8 Bucket List Attractions

Chamonix France, Aiguille du Midi Cable Car
Aiguille du Midi Cable Car

I believe, if not all, almost every one of us has travel bucket lists. We all have a number of experiences or destinations we want to have or visit in our lifetime. Accomplishing the bucket list is a way for us to say that we truly lived our life before our last moments.

If you have finished making your bucket list and you did not include Chamonix, I think you missed including something! Why? Because there are exceptional experiences here and they are a reason to visit Chamonix.

A few of these experiences were already mentioned previously in this post. The first I should say is Aiguille du Midi and its cable car.

Did you know? Aiguille du Midi has one of the highest cable car systems in the world. For 20 years since it was built in 1955, Aiguille du Midi was hailed as the highest cable car in Europe.

Aiguille du Midi was pushed down to second place as Europe’s highest cable car after the Klein Matterhorn aerial tramway in Zermatt, Switzerland, was built in 1976. Although that’s the case, it still holds the title of the “world’s cable car with the highest vertical ascent.”

Aiguille du Midi cable car vertically travels an overall 2754 meters (9035 feet). It starts from the Chamonix village at 1036 meters (3398 feet) to the peak of Aiguille du Midi at 3,790 meters (12434 feet). Soar from the ground through the clouds and above!

Along the cable car ride, you will pass by a thick forest, see glaciers, and overlook Chamonix village. It’s only the start of the fun! As mentioned earlier, breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc massif await you at the top—you should not miss that!

For me, the most unmissable experience in Aiguille du Midi is the “Step Into The Void.” There, visitors enter a box made of glass. If you come inside, you will see the widest panorama of the Mont Blanc massif, including the dizzying 1000-meter (3280 feet) emptiness below you.

Chamonix France, View in Aiguille du Midi
View in Aiguille du Midi
Chamonix France, Bridge in Aiguille du Midi
Bridge in Aiguille du Midi
Chamonix France, Sea of clouds in Aiguille du Midi
Sea of clouds in Aiguille du Midi
Chamonix France, Aiguille du Midi Sunset
Aiguille du Midi Sunset
Chamonix France, Aiguille du Midi golden hour
Aiguille du Midi golden hour
Chamonix France, View from Aiguille du Midi's golden hour
View from Aiguille du Midi’s golden hour

Other bucket list activities in Chamonix were discussed previously. But here’s a recap:

  1. Watch sunset and sunrise in Lac Blanc and see the peaks turn orange and red during the golden hour.
  2. Visit the Ice Cave in Mer de Glace. There are only a very few places in the world where you can have that experience!
  3. Alpine animal encounters in Merlet Wildlife Park. There’s really something so graceful and magical with the horns of ibex and deers.
  4. Tandem Paragliding. It is totally unmissable. To feel like flying, having the bird’s eye view of Chamonix and its spectacular snow-capped mountains is legit unforgettable fun!
  5. Attend or join the festival held on a mountain in Chamonix. They’re what we’ll discuss next. Stay tuned.

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Reason no. 9 Fun Festivals & Events

I was deeply amused the first time I attended a festival (accidentally) outside our country. Witnessing how people celebrate their culture, passion, connect with each other, and so on makes you realize the beauty of being human.

There are a few festivals you can join in Chamonix every year. However, if you are looking for fun, I think the Cosmo Jazz festival is the best you can try!

The Cosmo Jazz festival is not only fun but also a unique one. Therefore, it can be enough to be considered a reason to visit Chamonix.

In a nutshell, Cosmo Jazz is a musical festival in Chamonix. And it was born from the idea of “sharing with the contemplation of all backgrounds an extraordinary human adventure to discover amazing landscapes, dizzying cosmic sounds, in a friendly atmosphere.

There will be concerts in Chamonix village center and different parts of the mountains during the Cosmo Jazz festival. Yes, you read it right! There will be performances in the scenic spots, lakes, hiking trails, etc. 

Organizers encourage artists to play their instruments and perform wherever they feel inspired. Depending on the program the organizers and performers created, you may catch a concert near a glacier! 

Here’s how the official website of Cosmo Jazz describes how the visitors may experience Chamonix during the festival:

The public will be pleasantly surprised: in a cable car cabin; or in a cosmic alpine place; by the melodies of a flute; a voice singing; the breath of a brass or Indian percussion, all in a place when they least expect it.

During the Cosmojazz festival, you might want to stay for a night in Chamonix because there will be more music at night. By 5:00 pm, extraordinary artists start performing in Chamonix village center. 

The Couttet Park, the main event place of the Cosmo Jazz Festival, is where most of the fun occurs. There’s a big covered stage surrounded by bars, shops, and merchandise tents for souvenirs.

By the way, the Cosmo Jazz festival occurs every summer during the last week of July. You have to reserve your slot to join the Couttet Park event (You can get your tickets here). For the high-altitude concerts, you can attend for free.

Suppose you want to go to Chamonix for the Cosmo Jazz festival. In that case, you may check the event’s official website for practical information and more. 

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Reason no. 10 An All-Year Destination

Chamonix France, Meadows in Chamonix during springtime
Meadows in Chamonix during springtime

In the earlier part of this article, I mentioned that it is best to visit Chamonix during summer when there’s more sun and less rain.

Because as much as possible, we want to have a cloud clearing during our visit to Chamonix. When the sun is out, the scenery looks much better, and we can do more things outside. We get to enjoy more Chamonix.

Again, it does not mean you must not visit Chamonix when it is not summer. Chamonix is a beautiful destination all year round. Depending on what kind of beauty you want to see, Chamonix can always be worth visiting, no matter the season.

Like, when it is spring, the alpine region is at its most adorable appearance. As the snow melts, it uncovers vast green carpets of grass and plants, blooming with wildflowers that won’t fail to put a smile on your lips!

Chamonix France, Mont Blanc and autumn leaves
Mont Blanc and autumn leaves

The villages in Chamonix valley are all decorated with flowers. It’s the most fairytale-ish season if you ask me. 

Then, when autumn comes, the mountains around Chamonix transform into an otherworldly place. The leaves of the trees turn russet red; others are golden. Countless photos you can take in just one hike! 

Chamonix France, Drone shot of Mont Blanc massif and of the forest with autumn colors
Drone shot of Mont Blanc massif and of the forest with autumn colors

You will love the contrasting blue color of the mountains and the warm fall foliage. It seems I can hike all day, wandering the mountain trails with that scenery everywhere.

For winter? It’s a snow adventure! You can ski, sled with huskies, or if you’re the adventurous type, try ice climbing. I think dog sledding is absolutely the best you must try.

Chamonix France, Dog Sledding in Chamonix
Dog Sledding in Chamonix

On the flip side, some services may not be available in Chamonix during non-summer seasons.

But don’t worry! The best attractions in Chamonix, like Aiguille du Midi, are open all year round. Just take note of the maintenance period in November.

In case bad weather strikes during your non-summer season trip to Chamonix, the valley has many indoor activities available to try. You can still have fun while you wait for the bummer weather to pass.

When it rains or snows heavily, and you want some action to move your body? Try the laser game and escape game. It’s perfect if you have your friends and family with you.

When you’re alone or just want to relax, try going to the spa! They have a sauna, nordic baths, treatments, and massage services to rejuvenate your body for the tour/adventure on the next day.

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Similar Places Like Chamonix

If you’re visiting southern France, Chamonix isn’t the only beautiful village/town you must consider seeing.

Here’s a list of other places in southern France I suggest you discover:

Village/Town Name Features
Gordes A scenic hilltop village with a view of the picturesque Luberon Regional Nature Park.
Eze A romantic hilltop village with an overlooking view of the coast of the French Riviera
Rocamadour A breathtaking pilgrimage site and historical village in Lot Department. I really recommend Rocamadour.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie A village sitting by the foothills and nearest to the spectacular Verdon Gorge (Grand Canyon of France).
Aigues Mortes A walled village with imposing gates located in the wildlife-rich Camargue Regional Nature Park.
Carcassonne The village/town with 2 preserved medieval walls and 2 UNESCO sites. It’s also one of the most popular destinations in France
Chamonix The village/town with the most panoramic views of the Alps in the South of France.
Domme A quaint village in Dordogne Valley known for its honey-colored houses.
Saint-Paul de Vence A village in the French Riviera, home to countless artworks tucked in its preserved medieval narrow lanes.
Saint-Cirq Lapopie A charming village with half-timbered houses overlooking Lot River.
10 Most Beautiful Villages in the South of France

You may click the names of the villages to learn more. Alternatively, you can also read my article about the Most Beautiful Villages in the South of France for a brief summary of each village.

I also want to share with you the town called Annecy—my favorite city in France. It’s a scenic place that also has a charming historic center, where you can discover some history. I think that you’ll love hanging out at its lake (Lake Annecy). Learn more from my post “10 Reasons Why Visit Annecy.”

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Helpful Links in Visiting Chamonix

The Alps are definitely a special place everybody must include on their bucket list. If you have decided to add Chamonix to your bucket list and you decide to go, I have links down below to help you visit Chamonix.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Chamonix, you may use this link to see all available accommodation. Here, you can sort out hotels based on their price, star rating, facilities, and so on. Using the link, you can find hotels using a map which I think is very helpful when you have a particular attraction to visit.

If you wish to explore Chamonix only for a day, I also got a list of guided tours and different day tips. Using these, you can ditch all the hassle of planning and booking.

  • If you are from Geneva, I recommend this day trip that offers a skip-the-line perk to the attractions in Chamonix. On this tour, you will go to Chamonix using a bus (fee included in the package).
  • If you are from Geneva and you want to visit Chamonix with a mode of private transport, a private guide, and also a skip-the-line privilege, check this tour.

Lastly, don’t forget to download Chamonix’s mobile application [Apple | Android] so you can easily travel around the valley. Also, it will help you find the best place to eat, travel agendas, check the current situation on high-altitude cable car stations, and more.

If you don’t prefer the app, here’s the list of brochures that are very helpful in all ways possible in visiting Chamonix. There are maps of the hiking trails, attractions for each village in Chamonix valley, and more in the link.

I hope that you have a very pleasant and memorable trip to Chamonix! Live life.

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Chamonix, France
Chamonix, France

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