With Chamonix being world famous as one of the best skiing and snowboard destination in the world, some might be surprised to find out that the Chamonix summer holidays are nevertheless, even more popular! Whilst we love the Chamonix winters and the fun that goes with it, we feel the summer deserves its place at the top of the tree.
For us, what makes Chamonix summer holidays special is the fact that Chamonix has something for everyone, in abundance! Whether you want to relax, enjoy the sweet alpine air, take in the stunning views, enjoy a slow lunch or three, and just take in the warm summer sun on the decking or town centre, or prefer things a little higher octane, where paragliding, mountain biking, climbing and luge runs are just some of the activities one can explore (more on these and others in a moment).
You may have noted that we mentioned warm summer sun above, and we do indeed mean warm! Chamonix is situated in the South of France and as a consequence average temperatures during the summer holidays are well into the mid twenties, often tipping over into the thirties. With the clear, high-altitude air the rays are strong so plenty of sun cream is a must, as are the speedos and bikinis for those that want to impress with their tan when they arrive back home!
With such warm and often hot summer days and evening, eating in or out (on the terrace or in a restaurant) is part of the summer holiday fun. At Chamonix Exclusive and Chalet No.5 wither is a great option. With a fully fitted kitchen, with all your favourite accessories, and a large barbecue to cook up your favourite alfresco delights, you will be forgiven for staying put with the stunning views, terrace and beautiful south facing garden, it is a luxury in itself. Notwithstanding the fact that for the decadent summer vacation, you can also opt for the ultimate super luxury catered summer holidays package and let a chef cook your favourites for you most nights?
For a lunchtime treat, can anything beat a short, or long walk even (as you so choose) to a great mountain restaurant on the hill. If you agree, two for us standout as must visit venues. Both have great views, and superb, hearty mountain food. The first is Chalet de la Floria and is the easiest to get to (short uphill walk - close to town centre). La Buvette du Chapeau is the second and requires a little more effort, but not unduly strenuous climb (reasonable level of fitness should suffice), and the views going up and on arrival are simply fabulous.
In and around the town you really will be spoilt for restaurant choice. Stroll around the town and take in the special summer holiday's ambience, check menus (slow and easy - no hard sell here), take a peak and call it as you see it? Alternatively, try our favourites perhaps; Casa Valerio for an elegant Italian night, but great for children too (pizza(!)), or perhaps the Caleche with it superb savoir classics mixed with French specials too. On the edge of Chamonix centre is the old farmhouse l'Impossible, a must for diners with food intolerances (fine food with several lactose and gluten free options). And finally, for midday dining (and evenings too), take a trip to La Praz perhaps to the La Cabanne, overlooking the golf course it resides in a sunny position with magnificent views and food to match.
Sports and adrenalin lovers will find that Chamonix summer holidays are an absolute paradise. Sports and free climbing is in abundance, the Gaillard is a particularly good and friendly area. Then there is paragliding, tandem or solo off the Prarion (1,980m), Brevent, 2,200m) and l'Aiguille du Midi (3,842m) to name just three. Mountain biking trails are also well represented. Downhill courses at Les Houches and La Tour are popular, and for the less death defying, that are some great trails both on the valley floor and lower paths crossing the valley.
If you are family, or friends who need entertaining, as well as the activities already mentioned, how about the 1.3km luge? Or the tree adventure park, for all ages, although from our experience the teenagers seem far more comfortable on the black course, 30m high, than most adults!! Other favourites include white water rafting, canyoning, tennis, go-karting, ice skating, rose riding (equestrian centre and mountain trails) and so much more.
Being one of the wonders of the world, on a Chamonix summer holiday there is so much to see. High on the list for many will be l'Aiguille du Midi (3,842m) with its breath-taking views of Mont Blanc. Don't stop there, hope on the Helbronner Panoramic Gondola for spectacular views over the Valley Blanche as you cross to Italy and back! Then there is also the void, step on to the glass that is the only thing stopping you falling 1,000m! Another favourite is the Montenvers Railway that slowly winds up the mountain to the Mer de Glace where you can step inside the glacier, sense its magnitude, and feel its force as you touch the ice.
And just because you are on a summer holiday in the mountains it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the beach. A short drive down the valley is Lac Passy, a beautiful lake that enjoys the privilege of Mont Blanc being its backdrop. Adults and children love the manmade beach and grass areas (great for ball games, frisbee throwing, et al), as well as the shallow bathing areas close by (and a swimming area too). Other favourites include the luge, the indoor and outdoor swimming pools and its tubes (slide) and activities for all. Notwithstanding plenty of areas to soak up the sunshine.