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Monday, 3 April 2017

Chamonix, the pride of the French Alps

Unique Things To Do In France - Chamonix, the pride of the French Alps

Megha's itinerary through France

Found in the French Alps, and usually accessed by a one-hour picturesque and smooth drive from Geneva airport, Chamonix is a mountain mecca. In the quaint Chamonix valley resides the magnificent Mont Blanc at 4,810m, the highest peak in the Alps. Thousands from around the world visit this region, yet it is untarnished by overwhelming crowds.

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A travelling shot from the car, on the way to Chamonix from Geneva Airport


The Chamonix valley is the perfect getaway for solo travellers, couples, friends and families. There is something wonderful for everyone to engage in, throughout the year. Even though I initially started visiting Chamonix with my family for Winter Ski holidays, I enjoy Chamonix as much in Summers. In Summers, Chamonix transforms itself into a peaceful and colourful mountain valley, after spending months being the Winter wonderland of the French Alps. If you are an adreline junkie and love the outdoors, then visit Chamonix in winters. You can check the snow predictions here, before you plan. Skiing is only the beginning of the adventure sports you can enjoy in Chamonix.


The pedestrianised Chamonix Town Centre is always buzzing with friendly locals and travellers in cafes, restaurants and bars. You can find eateries of all budgets, placed alongside friendly local artisan shops. Every year, there are high-end brands also opening their showrooms here. Alternatively, you can drive to Annecy, and make a day of it, with a larger variety of shops and restaurants to choose from.

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Chamonix Town Centre



The gourmet food in Chamonix, keeps one going back for more. Chamonix is the home to a few Michelin Star restaurants, of which Hameau Albert 1er is my favourite. They are willing to make the most beautiful vegetarian dishes on request as well.



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Hameau Albert 1er Hotel & Restaurant



There is a DisneyLand for all meat lovers. Go shop there, and bring some back for your loved ones. The rarest delicacies are surely to be found.


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Best meat shop in Chamonix Town Centre


You should rent a car, it would give you easy mobility. You can rent cars from the Airport itself with your Indian Driver’s Licence, or pre-book online. Drive to Courmayeur in Italy, which is less than 22 kms away. Enjoy eat fresh handmade pasta with the tastiest local Italian cuisine.
Living in Chamonix you can eat three different meals in three different countries. It's easily accessible to Italy and Switzerland.

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Local Italian dishes of Courmayeur  



We all love dogs, don't we? You can visit a Saint Bernard breeding farm. The Swiss National dogs are Saint Bernards. If you are lucky you maybe welcome with a litter of puppies. You can interact and play with them, amidst the sprawling greens that adorn the Chamonix valley.

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Saint Bernard Farm in Chamonix outskirts



Visit Mer de Glace, the second largest glacier in the Alps, and the largest in France. Take the Aiguille du Midi cable car ride for 20 minutes to reach the spectacular view. Enjoy walking through the ice caves and a glass of wine with the view of Mont Blanc.

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View from the Glacier



Chamonix is very well known for Paragliding. Some of the world’s most acclaimed Paragliding instructors are to be found here. There is also a paragliding school, for those of you who want to become professionals. Just like the Ski School which is open only in Winters.


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Paragliding



Enjoy rafting with all your peeps here. Though there are many others around as well. It feels scary, but you are always in safe hands. Chamonix has some of the best adventure sports personals in Europe.


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Alpine River Rafting in Chamonix



Every Sunday morning in the Town Centre, wake up to the music of local farmers and craftsmen setting up the weekly Sunday Farmer’s Flea Market. You will find fresh produce of fruits, Local cheeses, tapestry, clothes and local cooking appliances. Though there is much more to be discovered in these markets. Last time I bought myself a beautiful vintage chest and writing quail.


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Farmer’s Market on Sundays in Chamonix Town Centre

While walking around the Town Centre, your eyes cannot miss the exquisite Patisseries. The age old bakeries which never ceases to fail their customers. Try the coffee and the opera cake, it’s magical. Don’t forget the delicate croissants and macaroons while you are at it.



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Delectable Patisseries in Chamonix Town Centre

For those of you who enjoy trying your luck in the casino, Chamonix has a legendary one. After a scrumptious meal in the town centre, you can play a few rounds of whatever game you fancy, and retire in front of the fireplace, back home.




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Casino in Chamonix Town Centre



Picking out a place to stay in Chamonix is always very exciting, for there is a variety of accommodation types to share from. My personal favourite is booking one of the many beautiful wooden chalets to live in, especially when there are more than three travelling. There are student hostels, hotels and some great deals on AirBnB. We always pick chalets from the Collineige, as the overall service is excellent.

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Live in the most exquisite chalets

There are several beautiful trekking trails all around Chamonix. There are some places you can walk for leisure as well.

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Chamonix has become a sort of occasional summer home for me and my family. It’s a friendly place with welcoming people. The collection of cheese and mushrooms to choose from at the grocery store is exquisite. There is also an authentic brilliant Indian restaurant called Annapurna. Chamonix is the perfect place to unwind, switch off and relax amidst the sprawling greens on the lap of Mother Nature.

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