Plan Trip

 

 

Babysitting and creche facilities

As a company that prides itself on helping organise excellent family holidays in suitable chalets, it is often the case that having local child-care facilities is an important facet of a restful holiday. Here are few reputable organisations but please be aware that these can change from year to year.

1. Baby-Cham (http://www.baby-cham.com/)/ Email info@baby-cham.com
- Description: Baby-Cham provides both babysitting and nanny services in the Chamonix Valley. The service is renowned for its professional, experienced nannies, who are trained to cater to the unique needs of each family.

2. Petit Verbier:
- Description: Although primarily serving Verbier, Petit Verbier extends its excellent babysitting and nanny services to Chamonix. With a team of nannies that speak multiple languages, this service is ideal for international visitors.

3. Alpine Child Care (http://www.alpine-child-care.co.uk/)
- Description: Alpine Child Care connects families with independent, qualified babysitters in the Chamonix area. With an online booking platform, it's easy for parents to find and reserve a babysitter to suit their schedule.

4. Merinannies:
- Description: Offering its services in various top ski resorts including Chamonix, Merinannies offers professional and flexible childcare, including babysitting and nanny services.
Remember to review the most recent information about these services and check their current availability and offerings. Local government resources and travel forums can also provide more recent updates on childcare services in the Chamonix Valley.
You can also see a list of baby sitters and au pairs on the Chamonix tourist office site on
https://en.chamonix.com/usual-information-services/family-children-care-babysitting/baby-sitter
Please note…you should take your own references and exercise judgement in choosing care for you precious bundles. We do not endorse, recommend, or legitimise any services listed here.

 

 

Local Area

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, often simply referred to as Chamonix, is a world-renowned ski resort town in the French Alps near the junction of France, Switzerland, and Italy. The city sits at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps, and is renowned for its skiing.
**Geography and Climate:**
Chamonix is situated in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France. It lies in the north of Mont Blanc, between the peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges and the remarkable Aiguille du Midi. The city experiences a typical alpine climate, characterized by cold, snowy winters and mild to warm summers.
**Skiing and Other Sports:**
Skiing is the heart and soul of Chamonix. The area offers various ski resorts with hundreds of kilometers of pistes. The five main skiing locations in Chamonix are Le Brévent/Flégère, offering south-facing slopes and exceptional views of the Mont-Blanc chain, Les Grands Montets, with high altitude skiing over glacier terrain, Balme/Tour/Vallorcine, ideal for beginner to intermediate levels, Les Houches, suitable for all family skiing, and Aiguille du Midi, known for the off-piste skiing of the Vallée Blanche.

Chamonix is also famous for mountain climbing, paragliding, mountain biking, and hiking. The town is a popular base for climbers aspiring to ascend Mont Blanc or traverse the infamous Aiguille du Midi. The Chamonix Guides Company, established in the 19th century, is still operating and assisting mountain climbers in their journeys.
**Tourism and Culture:**
In addition to outdoor sports, Chamonix has much to offer in terms of culture and tourism. The town itself has a charming center, with numerous boutiques, restaurants, and bars. The Alpine Museum is worth a visit to understand the development of Chamonix from the early days of alpine tourism.
Visitors can also ride the Montenvers railway to the Mer de Glace glacier, where they can enter a man-made ice cave and learn about glaciology. Or take the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi for a stunning panorama of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.
**Local Cuisine:**
The local cuisine is predominantly Savoyard, featuring hearty, cheese-based dishes. Fondue, raclette, and tartiflette are common dishes in Chamonix's restaurants, typically served with local charcuterie, fresh bread, and pickles.
**Transportation:**
Chamonix is about an hour's drive from Geneva, Switzerland, which has the nearest major airport. Regular bus services and shuttles operate between Geneva and Chamonix. The town itself is quite compact and can be explored easily on foot. For reaching the ski areas, efficient bus and train services are available.
The Mont Blanc Tunnel connects Chamonix to Courmayeur in Italy and the Swiss border is just 15 km away via the Col des Montets.
**Events:**
One of the biggest annual events in Chamonix is the 'Kandahar' World Cup Ski Race, which sees the best skiers in the world competing on the Verte piste in Les Houches. The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), one of the most significant trail-running events in the world, also starts and finishes in Chamonix.
In conclusion, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a vibrant and thrilling destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Whether you're an expert skier, a mountain climber, or simply someone who enjoys the crisp mountain air and surroundings, Chamonix and the surrounding valley is one of the epic destinations in the world to visit.
Local buses and routes

Chamonix Valley's local bus system, Chamonix Bus (also known as Chamonix Mont-Blanc Bus), offers extensive coverage throughout the region. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, some key routes include:
**Chamonix Local Shuttle (Le Mulet):**
Le Mulet is a free shuttle service that operates in central Chamonix, making a loop around the town center.
**Main Bus Lines:**
1. **Line 1 (Les Houches - Les Praz):**
- Key stops include Les Houches, Chamonix Sud, Chamonix Centre, and Les Praz.
2. **Line 2 (Les Bossons - Les Tines):**
- Key stops include Les Bossons, Chamonix Sud, Chamonix Centre, and Les Tines.
3. **Line 3 (Servoz - Le Tour):**
- This route covers a larger part of the valley. Key stops include Servoz, Les Houches, Chamonix Sud, Chamonix Centre, Argentière, and Le Tour.
4. **Line 6 (Le Tour - Les Houches Saint-Antoine):**
- This route is an alternative to Line 3, also covering the wider valley but with different stops.
**Ski Buses:**
There are additional bus lines during the winter season that serve the main ski areas:
1. **Chamonix Sud - Les Grands Montets**
2. **Chamonix Sud - Le Tour**
3. **Chamonix Centre - Brevent**
4. **Chamonix Centre - La Flégère**
Please note that timetables, routes, and service frequency can change depending on the season, with more frequent service during the peak ski season. I recommend checking the latest information online or at the local tourist office upon arrival.
Also, if you are a guest in the valley (in either a hotel, guest house, or rented accommodation), you can avail of free travel on this network by obtaining a 'Carte d'Hôte' or 'Guest Card' from your host.

 

 

Local Services

Here is a summary of local services and amenities in Chamonix:
**Accommodation:**
There is a wide range of accommodations in Chamonix, from luxury hotels to self-catered chalets and apartments, as well as budget hostels and campsites. Some of the well-known hotels include Hotel Mont-Blanc, Les Aiglons Resort & Spa, and Heliopic Hotel & Spa.
**Restaurants and Cafes:**
Chamonix has numerous restaurants and cafes offering a variety of cuisine from traditional Savoyard to Italian, Asian, and other international foods. Some of the highly recommended places are Le Monchu for Savoyard cuisine, Munchie for an Asian-fusion menu, and Casa Valerio for Italian.
For cafes, the locals often recommend Moody Coffee Roasters, Tendance Foehn - Librairie Café, and Le Café Comptoir.
**Outdoor Equipment and Clothing:**
As an outdoor paradise, Chamonix is well stocked with outdoor equipment and clothing stores. Snell Sports and Technique Extreme are two of the largest, offering gear for skiing, snowboarding, climbing, and other outdoor pursuits.
**Supermarkets and Local Markets:**
For groceries, there are several supermarkets in the town, including Super U, Spar, and Bio Market for organic products. Also, a weekly market takes place on Saturday morning where you can buy local produce, cheese, meats, and other products.
**Banks and ATMs:**
Chamonix has several banks including Societe Generale, Credit Agricole, and Banque Populaire. Most of these banks have ATMs available 24/7. Be aware that some may charge a fee for withdrawals with foreign cards.
**Pharmacies and Health Services:**
There are several pharmacies in Chamonix such as Pharmacie du Lyret and Pharmacie des Alpes. In case of health emergencies, the Centre Hospitalier Chamonix Mont-Blanc is the main hospital, with A&E services.
As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, I'm unable to provide real-time data or specific contact details. However, here are several pharmacies and health service providers that were in operation in Chamonix as of 2021:
**Pharmacies:**
There are a wide range of full service pharmacies in Chamonix often attended by qualified personnel who can advise on the multitude of prescription and non-prescription medicatons.
1. Pharmacie des Alpes
* Address: 80 Rue Joseph Vallot, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
2. Pharmacie du Lyret
* Address: 187 Rue du Docteur Paccard, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
3. Grande Pharmacie Chamonix Mont-Blanc
* Address: 247 Rue du Docteur Paccard, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
**Health Services:**
1. Centre Hospitalier Chamonix Mont-Blanc (Hospital)
* Address: 509 Route des Pèlerins, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
2. Medical Center of Chamonix
* Address: 509 Route des Pèlerins, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
Please use an updated source to confirm the contact details for these facilities. Always make sure to have a plan for medical care while traveling and understand your health insurance situation when abroad. In a medical emergency, you should call the European emergency number, 112.
**Post Office:**
The main post office is located on Place du Mont Blanc. They provide postal services, sell stamps and packaging, and have a currency exchange facility.
**Tourist Information:**
The Chamonix Tourist Office is located in the center of town. They provide information about accommodation, activities, weather forecasts, and event listings.
**Public Transportation:**
The Chamonix Valley offers free public transport to visitors staying in the valley with a "Guest Card". The transport system includes trains and buses and operates throughout the ski season and the main summer season.
**Ski Schools and Mountain Guides:**
There are numerous ski schools and companies offering mountain guiding services. Some of the most well-known include ESF Chamonix, Evolution 2, and the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix.
**Childcare Services:**
Chamonix offers several childcare options, from nurseries for younger children to children's ski schools and private nanny services.
Please remember that the situation regarding local services may change, especially given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it's always a good idea to check the latest online or with the Chamonix Tourist Office.
Museums, Galleries, Cultural and Historical Places of Interest

Chamonix is blessed with a rich and varied cultural and historical legacy. The extraordinary range of galleries and museums as well as a vibrant artist and photographer community document and display the importance of Chamonix and its long history in the story of the Alps and this region of the Haute Savoie as well as development of geological knowledge and of course, alpinism.
Here are some of the places to go when you aren’t on the mountain or playing golf!

1. Musée Alpin (Alpine Museum): This museum is in the Chamonix Centre and houses an extensive collection of artefacts, documents, and artworks that trace the development of Chamonix from a remote mountainous region to a world-renowned alpine resort. It's a fascinating journey through time for anyone interested in the history of mountaineering and alpine exploration.

2. Maison de la Mémoire et du Patrimoine Janny Couttet: This cultural hub hosts rotating exhibits on various aspects of Chamonix's local history, from its traditional agricultural past to its transformation into a ski resort. The exhibits include photographs, oral histories, and artifacts that provide a deeper understanding of the town's unique character and heritage.

3. Musée des Cristaux: This museum, created by the Mineralogical Club of Chamonix and the French Alpine Club, showcases a stunning array of crystals from the Mont Blanc massif. It's a must-visit for anyone interested in geology and the natural beauty of the area.

4. Le Musée Montagnard (The Mountain Museum in Les Houches): Housed in an old farm, this museum is devoted to showcasing the life of peasants in the 19th and early 20th century in the Chamonix valley. It's a wonderful way to learn about traditional alpine farming and living practices.

5. Eglise Saint-Michel: This is the main church in Chamonix and a notable historical site. Built in the early 18th century, it features a Baroque altar and beautiful stained-glass windows, some of which depict scenes of mountain life. It also has a memorial to climbers who have lost their lives on Mont Blanc.

6. Mer de Glace and the Montenvers Railway: While it is primarily a natural site, the Mer de Glace is home to the Glaciorium and the Ice Cave, two unique attractions that provide insight into the geology and science of glaciers. The historic Montenvers Railway, which transports visitors to the glacier, is a testament to the engineering feats of the early 20th century.

7. Cimetière du Père Eternel: This small cemetery is the final resting place of many climbers and guides who lost their lives on the Mont Blanc massif. It's a quiet place of reflection that speaks to the inherent risks and the enduring allure of the mountains.

8. Statue of Horace Bénédict de Saussure and Jacques Balmat: Located in the centre of Chamonix, this statue commemorates the men often credited with the first ascent of Mont Blanc. It's a significant historical landmark that pays tribute to the pioneering spirit of alpine exploration.

Each of these sites provides a unique perspective on the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and history of the Chamonix valley. Whether you're interested in mountaineering, local history, or the natural sciences, you'll find plenty to discover and enjoy.

 

 

Planning a Winter Sports Holiday

Planning a winter sports holiday involves various considerations, from the right equipment and clothing to understanding weather patterns and safety precautions. Here's a rundown of what you need to know:

1. Equipment:

- Skis/Snowboards: If you're a beginner, renting your skis or snowboard from a reliable rental shop at your destination is a good idea. The staff can help you choose the right equipment for your level of expertise and local snow conditions. If you're more experienced and have your own equipment, make sure it's well-maintained and suited to the conditions you'll be encountering.

- Boots: Good-quality, well-fitting boots are essential. If you're renting, the rental shop will fit you. If you're buying or bringing your own, seek professional advice to ensure a good fit.

- Helmet: A well-fitting helmet is a must for safety on the slopes.

2. Weather:

- Make sure you understand the typical weather conditions for the time of year you'll be visiting your chosen resort. Be prepared for possible extreme weather conditions and be aware that weather in mountainous areas can change rapidly.

- Always check the local weather forecast before heading out each day.

3. Clothing:

- Dress in layers. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating middle layer (like a fleece), and finish with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.

- Don't forget essential accessories like waterproof gloves, thermal socks, a warm hat, and UV-protective sunglasses or goggles.

4. Safety:

- Always stay within the marked runs and obey all signs and warnings. Don't ski or snowboard alone, especially in unfamiliar areas.

- If you're going off-piste, make sure you're adequately equipped and experienced, or hire a qualified guide. Consider avalanche safety equipment like a transceiver, probe, and shovel.

- Ensure you have appropriate insurance that covers winter sports activities.

5. Fitness Training:

- Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding. A basic level of cardiovascular fitness and strength, particularly in the legs and core, can enhance your performance and enjoyment.

- Specific exercises that can help include squats, lunges, core strengthening exercises, and cardio workouts like running or cycling.

- If you're not regularly active, consider starting a fitness program several weeks before your trip.

6. Altitude Consideration:

- If you'll be at a high altitude, be aware of the potential effects of altitude sickness, including headaches, nausea, and dizziness. It’s often recommended to acclimate at a lower altitude before spending prolonged periods above 8,000 feet.

Remember, preparation is key for any successful winter sports holiday. Take the time to prepare adequately and understand what's involved to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip.