Chamonix is located 15 kilometres away from the Swiss border at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is constituted by 15 villages and the hamlets of Le Tour, Montroc, Le Planet, Argentière, Les Chosalets, Le Lavancher, Les Tines, Les Bois, Les-Praz-de-Chamonix, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Les Pècles, Les Mouilles, Les Barrats, Les Pélerins, Les Gaillands, and Les Bossons. So its as important getting directions to the valley as it is to know precisely where in the valley you will be staying.
Getting to Chamonix
The following airports operate around Chamonix:
- Geneva Airport (GVA) on the N205 / E25, “Autoroute Blanc”. Check road conditions at http://www.inforoute74.fr/
- Milan Malpensa (MXP) on the A4 / E25 / A5
- Milan Linate (LIN) on the A4 / E25 / A5
- Torino Caselle (TRN) on the E612 / A5
The Geneva International Airport is the closest airport to Chamonix. A variety of national flag and low cost airlines are operated from Geneva.
Chamonix can also be accessed by trains from Geneva, Martigny, Paris (via TGV on www.sncf.fr), Milan and Turin. You can also visit Chamonix from London with a connecting train from London to Geneva. Travelling by train to and around Chamonix is mostly the preferred alternative after flying.
From the UK the Eurostar is now operating a scheduled service to the Alps 19 December 2014 and 11 April 2015 between St. Pancras and Moutiers. From Moutiers there is a road transfer of approximately 1:45hrs to Chamonix.
Directions from Geneva Airport to Chamonix
Generally the fastest way to reach Chamonix from Geneva Aiport is via the motorway. There is a shorter route through Geneva town centre, however, this would usually only be faster during the night and well after the evening and before the morning rush hour.
The section of Swiss motorway between the airport and the border requires a Swiss motorway "Vignette". These can be purchased at the border and cost CHF40.00 (subjecct to change).
Directions (Journey of approximately 1 hour and 100km/approximately €7 in tolls)
Leave the airport and join the main road, Route De Pré-Bois heading South West; Watch for speed signs are they change and there are speed cameras along the entire route to Chamonix.
Follow the green autoroute signs to France along a straight road for about 1km; move into in the centre right lane on arriving at a T-junction with traffic lights; at the T-junction turn left onto the Route de Vernier; immediately move into the right lane (bus lane);
Drive 150m then take the slip road onto the autoroute sign-posted France;
You will go through two tunnels (Tunnel de Vernier and Tunnel de Confignon). You will be on the E62-A1-E25 motorway takes you to the border (Bardonnex) with France.
It is rare to be stopped but do have your passports to hand in case;
Take the right lane into the: A40/E21/E25 with sign to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc/Turin/Milan.
Near Annemasse, continue on the Autoroute Blanche A40 E25;
You can also travel to Chamonix by road from London, Paris, Milan and Turin. There is a fleet of cabs at Geneva airport but this is a very expensive alternative to hiring a car or booking a transfer with a transfer company.
Climate in Chamonix
The weather in Chamonix is dominated by a snowy winter in the months from December to March, making it the best time for ski holidays and the temperature can reach -20 oC during the bitterest weather extremes. The rest of the year has less snow and the temperature may vary from 8oC to 22oC.
The valleys tend to be warmer and the low lying area gets cooler with the increase in altitude.
Chamonix offers a wide range of options for accommodation from chalets and rental ski apartments to luxurious hotels and resorts. All the accommodation facilities are moderately priced and are comfortable. All the resorts and chalets will provide you with information about skiing locations and equipment. They also provide ski equipment on hire for the visitors.
You will find a number of restaurants in Chamonix that serve local as well as intercontinental cuisine.
Travel Tips to Chamonix
- It is always advised to hire a travel guide or concierge company (see www.chamonixconcierge.com) when you visit Chamonix especially if you are visiting for the first time.
- Carry ample warm clothes as Chamonix is extremely chilly during the skiing season.
- If you’re ever in need for travel advice while in Chamonix, you can always visit the tourist offices to get the right information.
- It is very important to have a Chamonix piste map before going skiing to avoid getting lost and losing your track.
- Learning a few phrases in French will be helpful while moving around in Chamonix.
Chamonix is a great destination for skiing as the place is affordable and has the best facilities for skiing. The connectivity to Chamonix is another important factor as to why skiers prefer this place for shorts skiing weekends.