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Chamonix

Travel Guide Europe France Rhône-Alpes Chamonix

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Introduction

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Chamonix is a town and popular ski resort in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in central eastern France. It is located in the eastern portion of The Alps and the scenery is stunning here. Chamonix has about 10,000 inhabitants living in one of the highest communes of the country at around 1,000 metres above sea level. Officially, the Mont Blanc is within its boundaries as well, and at 4,810 metres is the highest mountain in Europe outside of the Caucasus region.

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Sights and Activities

Chamonix is heaven for outdoor enthusiasts. Activities include ice climbing, skiing and snowboarding in winter and trekking, paragliding, canyoning, rafting and rock climbing in summer. Chamonix is especially famous for its spectacular cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi (3,842 metres), the highest in Europe.

Other sights include:

  • Montenvers Railway
  • Mont Blanc Tramway
  • Panoramic restaurant at the top station of the Brévent cable car with great views of the Mont Blanc
  • Alpine Museum Chamonix
  • Statue Horace Bénédict de Saussure (first ascent of Mont Blanc initiator)
  • Statue Michel-Gabriel Paccard

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Getting There

By Plane

The nearest airport is Geneva International Airport (GVA). Dozens of airlines serve cities in Europe and further away. Lowcost airline Easyjet has many flights to/from Ajaccio, Alicante, Amsterdam, Asturias, Barcelona, Bastia, Belfast, Berlin, Birmingham, Bordeaux, Bournemouth, Bristol, Brussels, Budapest, Cagliari, Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ibiza, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lisbon, Liverpool, London, Madrid, Málaga, Manchester, Marrakech, Nantes, Naples, Newcastle, Nice, Olbia, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Porto, Rome, Sharm el-Sheikh, Split, Stockholm and Toulouse. Some of them are seasonal only. Many other airlines mainly serve European destinations (as far away as Moscow and Reykjavik.
Cities further away include Montreal, Toronto, Algiers, Mauritius, New York, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Kuwait, Tehran, Beirut, Amman, Riyadh, several places in Tunisia and Morocco, and Tashkent.

By Train

From Chamonix-Mont Blanc train station the Mont Blanc Express narrow-gauge train travels between Saintt-Gervais-le Fayet, 23 kilometres west of Chamonix, to Martigny in Switzerland, stopping en route in Les Houches, Chamonix and Argentière. There are nine to 12 return trips a day taking roughly 40 minutes.

By Car

Chamonix is just a short hop by car from Italy through the Mont Blanc tunnel and Switzerland over the Col de Montets to Martigny. The A40 highway runs towards Geneva, starting about 25 kilometres west from Chamonix.

By Bus

Buses connect Chamonix three times daily with Geneva Airport, taking almost 2 hours on average. There are also regular connections towards Courmayeur in Italy.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
AAE Chamonix Chalet PeleChemin du Betty Chamonix-Mont-BlancHotel85
AAE Chamonix Chalet WhymperImpasse de l'Androsace Chamonix-Mont-BlancHotel86
AAE Chamonix Hotel El Paso37, Impasse des Rhododendrons Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, FranceHotel-
AAE Hotel Louvre95, Impasse Androsace, ChamonixHotel73
Chalet Les Frênes637 Route de Vers le Nant Les BossonsGuesthouse77
Hotel du Bois475 Avenue des Alpages La Griaz, 74310,Les HouchesHotel78
La Source Backpackers Chalet212 Clairiere du BelvedereGuesthouse-
Le Vert Hotel964 Route des GaillandsHotel-
Lutetia 2225 Rue Du Dr PaccardApartment-
SkiBandB345 Chemin du Cerro Les BossonsGuesthouse-
Hostel-Chalet-Gite The Chamoniard Volant45 route de la FrasseHostel77
Le Vagabond365 Ave Ravannel Le RougeHostel80
Mountain Highs Chamonix92 Chemin de la Ch'naHOSTEL84
AWA Chamonix Hotel Christal242 Avenue Des Alpages,HOTEL-
Arno Studio ApartmentVia d'AosteAPARTMENT-
Bellevue Alpine LodgeLe CouterayGuesthouse-
Le Globe ApartmentRoute du PlagnoletApartment-
Villa Montblanc9 chemin de la cascadeGuesthouse-
Les Rives d'Argentiere162 Chemin des VélarsGuesthouse-
AWA Hotel Louvre25 Impasse de l'AndrosaceHostel-
Beausite Residence42 Avenue Ravanel le RougeHotel-
AWA La Source Chamonix10 Route du Bouchet Chamonix Mont BlancHOTEL-
AWA Chamonix Chalet Hideaway117 Chemin du Caterons ArgentiereAPARTMENT-
Chalet Union91 Chemin des LupinsAPARTMENT-
B&B Le Marti182, route du villageGuesthouse-
Astoria13 rue du LyretHostel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 45.9253406
  • Longitude: 6.8697867

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This is version 9. Last edited at 7:28 on Sep 20, 13 by Utrecht. 10 articles link to this page.

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