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Summer in Chamonix: 19 outdoor highlights

Written by Fiona September 23 2013

I have been to the Alps many times in the winter, but rarely in the summer. When the snow lies thick on the mountains, it’s one of my favourite destinations for skiing and snowboarding. But I had no idea how much fun there is to be had when the snow has melted and the sun shines bright in a blue sky. A recent trip, courtesy of Rhone Alpes Tourist Board, revealed a wealth of outdoor activities, as well as top hotels and gourmet treats.


19 things I like about Chamonix in summer

1) The outdoors town of Chamonix is close enough to Geneva to make it a great destination for a weekend break – or longer if you fancy.

2) Almost everyone dresses just like me (and that makes me feel warm inside and smiley).

3) It’s exciting to hear the unique sound of people wandering around carrying rucksacks that jangle with climbing tools (even if I don’t want to follow them up a rocky or snowy route).


4) The cable car from Chamonix to Aguille du Midi (at 3842m) is a pricey €50 return but offers a truly stunning summertime panorama of the snowy mountain peaks, including Europe’s highest summit of Mont Blanc. It’s well worth the money (and not as scary as I imagined!).

5) Seeing, from the half way station on the cable car, the two-day Alpine route of Frendo Spur that the G-Force climbed during his recent trip to Chamonix made me feel sick yet in awe.

6) Seeing and not quite believing two wingsuit jumps from Aguille du Midi. My stomach churned just to film the freefall let alone imagine what it must be like to throw yourself off a ridiculously high rock at the top of a mountain. Theses guys are crazy! See the blog and video.

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Ice caves created in Mer de Glace

7) Montenvers Mer de Glace cogwheel train offers a lovely alternative way to travel up the mountain from Chamonix – and is the perfect transport to see the Mer de Glace.

8) Oohing and ahhing at the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), which is a glacier on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif. It is the longest in France extending some 7km and 200m to 400m deep.

9) The Alps in summer reveals many glaciers like I have never seen them before. When covered in snow in winter it is impossible to comprehend their magnitude but when bare of snow their size is breath-taking.

Inside the ice cave

Inside the ice cave

10) An ice cave offers a fun distraction, especially the odd range of ice carved displays.

11) A new Glaciorium reveals the story and history of the Mer du Glace, which is in fact retreating due to global warming. see the glacier “level” signs as you descend the many steps to the Ice Cave, showcaing in practical terms just how quickly the glacier is shrinking.

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Chamonix in summer

Chamonix in summer

12) The atmosphere in Chamonix is lively and friendly. The historic town looks beautiful, even without snow.


Teenie weenie plane

13) For just €99 (and I reckon it would be the best €99 you spend in the summertime Chamonix region) a flight in a tiny Aerocime plane around the mountains of Mont Blanc is the stuff of lifetime memories. The views and experience were utterly breath-taking.


This is how to see the Mont Blanc glaciers


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14) I have realised that while I am afraid of heights, I am not so bothered by flights in the high mountains (even if the plane is teenie tiny and piloted by a man(?!) no more than 20 years old!).

15) Megève, a short drive from Chamonix, is a pretty town with plenty to see for a day or two. You’ll find high class shops, beautiful scenery (come, too, in winter for great family skiing) and a horse drawn carriage trip that is perfect for families with young children or loved up couples.

16) For golfers, the original golf course of the Alps, the Mont d’Arbois Golf boasts an 18-hole course at an average altitude of 1320m. Who knew that golf could suddenly seem so exciting?! Great views, a challenging course and only summertime in which to play (in winter the course is transformed into ski slopes.)

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17) The commune (town) of Annecy located on the banks of gorgeous Lake Annecy is a beautiful city break destination and a family sports holiday heaven on earth. It is such a great find that I will devote a whole blog to it… (Keep checking back!)

It’s also good to know…about Chamonix and the area

18) The Alps as a region is being newly promoted as a great destination in both summer and winter. Several years ago, a consortium was set up to bring together many Alps regions and businesses to better promote the entire area.

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To the future: The stunning Alps

During my stay in Chamonix I attended The Alps symposium, hosted by the consortium AlpNet, to listen in on business-to-business strategies and ideas for the future of the Alps.

This is the third year that this conference has brought together trade and business people and the first time it has been hosted in Chamonix. I enjoyed the obvious enthusiasm from so many partners in this project –­ and I understand their desire to welcome more people to the Alps for business and holidays.

However, if I’m honest, I hope that the many secrets of this stunningly inspiring outdoors region are kept under wraps just a little longer so that I can return soon to enjoy the Alps without the whole world being there, too.

Where I in stayed in the Alps

Where I ate in the Alps

  • La Cabane des Praz, close to Chamonix. Great food and intriguing stuffed animals and displays. 23 Route du Golf, 74400 Chamonix, France. Tel: +33 4 50 53 23 27
  • Challenge yourself to eat the entire delicious yet very filling tartiflette at Grand Hotel du Montenvers, located above Chamonix
  • Great food – and an odd display of artifacts – en route to the toilets at La Calèche, Chamonix
  • Amazing lunchtime dining with stunning views over green mountain slopes and snow-capped Mont Blanc  at La Ferme de Joseph.
  • Lovely food and wine at Le Puck, Megeve
  • Lunch at the “Comptoir du Lac” restaurant. If you are looking for a treat, book in for a night or two in one of the newly created and very unusual rooms.

 One thing I am not so keen on

Why are there no flights from Glasgow to Geneva in the summer? We are a bigger city and yet I had to travel to Edinburgh to fly to Geneva. Come on your low-cost air companies. It’s time to give the west coasters easier access to Geneva and the Alps.

Written by Fiona September 23 2013 Please support this website Buy me a glass of wine

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