Chamonix Summer Activities
As the month of May rolls into summer, Chamonix metamorphoses. The valley transforms itself from the monochrome of rock and snow to a multi colour palette of flowers, meadows and trees. The visitors change too - from the heavily clothed skiers to the shorts and tee-shirts of the summer hikers and the colourful suits of the mountain bikers and racing cyclists. Overnight the stock in the shops changes from winter equipment to summer gear, tables and chairs appear outside the restaurants and radiant floral decorations spring up in the town’s flower beds – it almost feels like the town has shucked off its thermals and has dressed itself for warmer times.
Chamonix remains one of the few mountain destinations where the summer season is as busy as the winter. There may be a lull in business as the skiers and snowboarders leave, but the level of activity never lets up. July and August are some of the busiest months, as visitors come to bask in the sunshine and enjoy the High Alpine air. Many come simply to catch the cable car up to top of the Aiguille du Midi and the train to Montenvers to walk on the mythic Mer de Glace. Both are worth the effort, but there is much, much more to do in Chamonix in the summer months.
The mountaineering is some of the most renowned in the world, the high altitude ice-climbing is legendary, the downhill mountain-biking intimidating and several of the world’s great rock-climbs are all gathered together in this small area. However, it isn’t all about adrenaline. There are stunning hiking trails to Alpine lakes, rolling forest trails to bike along, a gorgeous 18 hole golf course, great restaurants to lunch in, luxury hotel pools to lounge beside and some of the most stunning landscapes imaginable to capture through photography or painting.
For those who like to hike, Chamonix has an abundant supply of walks on both sides of the valley. Many start on the valley floor where the noise of L’Arve, now fast flowing with the melted waters of the glaciers accompanies you as you rise up through the trees and onto the plains above.
Top Tip: Take the lift up to Brevent and follow the path down to the back of Chalet Vincent stopping half way at the remote Chalet Floria for beautiful abundant floral displays, stunning views down the valley and to enjoy a delicious omelette, a glass of rose and a slice of blueberry cake.
Slightly further afield are two trips, Chalet Vincent is very happy to endorse. Venture down the valley to the hot thermal baths of St Gervais – you can even do this by mountain-bike – and then catch the train for a leisurely and picturesque ride back up into town. The second option is a quick trip through Mont Blanc tunnel to spend the day gazing up at the much more severe and imposing Italian side of Monte Bianco from the sumptuous surroundings of the Pra Saint Didier spa. Add to the experience by enjoying an Italian lunch or dinner in Courmayeur, a few hundred vertical metres above the spa.
For the youngsters, we suggest you cross the town towards the area of Les Planards where the slalom slopes of the winter are replaced with a children’s play park and adventure area. Once there, a handful of tokens can be exchanged for a variety of rides, including a water splash ride, small electric cars for ‘little drivers’, summer toboggan runs for different levels and tree top swings and high wires.
If a less active day is fancied, then we can recommend both the Crystal exhibition at the Espace Tairraz and the Chamonix Museum in the centre of town. Both offer fascinating ways to spend an hour or three learning about the geology and history of the valley.
At Chalet Vincent, that’s what we love. A summer mountain holiday in Chamonix can involve a relaxed, leisurely break comprising short walks, good food and warm sun or it can be a frenzy of action and adventure involving downhill mountain biking, white water rafting, river-boarding, canyoning or joining the summer paragliders catching the thermals that rise above the Brevent Colouir. There really is something for everyone.
Below is a list of some of the activities available during the summer months in the Chamonix Valley. Here at Chalet Vincent we will be happy to advise on how to book these activities and who best to choose to go with:
- WALKING & HIKING
- ROCK CLIMBING
- VIA FERRATA
- MOUNTAIN BIKING
- WHITE WATER RAFTING
- SIGHT SEEING
- SUMMER LUGING
- MERLET ADVENTURE ROPE PARK
- FITNESS & GYM
- ICE RINK