PLACES TO VISIT AROUND CHAMONIX
Chamonix is a cross roads to Italy and Switzerland. Within just an hour's drive you can be in three different countries; there is so much to see and do.
Exploring the surrounding areas and nearby resorts such as Courmayeur and Megeve, with their great shopping and lovely forest walks, couldn’t be easier. Both resorts are about 45 minute's drive from our luxury ski chalets in Chamonix. A day in Geneva is another easy option and can be a great way to spend the day, enjoying a walk by the lake and all the great shops and restaurants on offer. The journey time from your luxury summer chalet is approximately one hour.
Geneva is situated along the banks of Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps and considers itself to be one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Home to the European headquarters of the United Nations and Red Cross, Geneva is at the heart of Switzerland and has a long history of diversity and tolerance, dating back to the protestant reformation. Today, the city of Geneva remains culturally diverse and features first class entertainment, restaurants, shopping and attractions.
Geneva’s most famous monument is its water jet. The Jet d’eau is the world’s tallest water fountain and provides a constant landmark for exploring the city. Geneva’s ancient Old Town offers a living glimpse of the past. While Geneva’s more than thirty museums and art galleries help capture the rich and vibrant history of the city, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum. Our favourite is the the Geneva Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
For a change of pace, take a cruise on the lake or relax in one of Geneva’s waterfront parks. Be sure to check out Geneva’s famed Rue du Rhône to buy a Swiss watch - or just window shop and check out the trendy boutiques in the Old Town.
Originally designed in the 1920s as the French alternative to Switzerland’s glitzy St Moritz, Megève has evolved with an elegance and timeless, pretty charm that its esteemed Swiss rival could never quite manage. Horse-drawn sleighs or calèches still serve as taxis in winter, winding round the narrow cobbled streets. This is a beautiful, photogenic town, with its quaint medieval square, 13th-century church and charming open-air ice rink. With plenty of upmarket boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants and smart hotels, there is plenty to do here besides the skiing. Megève survives very nicely as a year-round destination, and is worth a visit in the summer for the chic atmosphere and shopping.
First developed around two ancient churches at the foot of the gigantic massif that is Mont Blanc, the large village of Courmayeur is packed with history and charm. Once considered one of the capitals of mountaineering and mountain touring in the 1800s, it is now recognised to have given this title up to Chamonix. However, Courmayeur maintains its own very special Italian charm; it's hard to believe you are just a few minutes' drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel. People watching, coffee drinking, prosecco, pasta and ice cream all top the list of things to do in Courmayeur.
The Duca degli Abruzzi Museum brings to life Courmayeur’s mountaineering history and includes amongst its treasures ancient documents, relics and materials used by the pioneering mountaineers that gave birth to the sport. Among Courmayeur’s hamlets is La Saxe, famous for its mineral water spring. Dolonne is the district in which one of the first ski lift systems was built in Valle d‘Aosta. And Entrèves, where the Dora della Val Veny and the Dora della Val Ferret meet, hosts an ancient fortified house, dating from 1391.
While cobbled streets and traditional old buildings contrast with a few more modern additions, the village has retained its feeling of old-world character and is full of atmosphere. Especially charming in the evening when the shops bustle with people and the bars and restaurants get going. There are plenty of good restaurants and bars, lots of attractive boutiques and shops, a sports centre and ice rink. The centre is traffic-free, ensuring easy access for pedestrians and a relaxed, family-friendly feel.