Towering over its neighbours at an intimidating 4,810 metres, Mont Blanc is the greatest jewel in the crown of the Alps, attracting droves of visitors throughout the year. In its shadow, and profiting somewhat from the popularity of its icy icon, sits Chamonix, one of the world’s most beloved ski resorts.
Now that the Christmas rush has subsided, there is no better time to explore Chamonix’s extensive network of lifts and slopes, nor its mouth-watering range of restaurants and bars. Indeed, one of the greatest reasons to visit Chamonix is the irresistible atmosphere created by a deluge of eateries and watering holes; one more week of Christmas indulgence and excess won’t hurt, will it?
If you’re the type of skier who is more bothered about the après than the ski, Monkey Bar in the centre of Chamonix is the place to be. A relaxed atmosphere awaits the parched punter here, who can enjoy free pool and Wi-Fi after an intense (or, perhaps, lazy) day on the slopes. Alternatively, for those who prefer to maximise their time on the piste by cramming lunch in on a gondola, Papillon offers a range of home-made food to take away and consume later, including meat pies, sausage rolls and sandwiches.
There is, of course, an abundance of accommodation in Chamonix as well, catering for every type of holidaymaker. Those who just need a place to crash will be more than satisfied with the Residence Le Grand Balcon, offering over one hundred apartments and studios to suit groups of any size. If you’re after something a little more upmarket, try Le Lodge Park, which strikes the perfect balance between tradition and innovation, and even has a spa centre to sooth aching muscles.
Chamonix’s ski season runs from December – April/May, meaning optimum snow conditions are imminent. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, Chamonix has plenty to offer, but do be sure to beat the Easter rush, when a flood of skiers churn the snow into slush, signifying the beginning of the end of the ski season.