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The mighty French Alps and a walking tour of Chamonix, France

Panorama of French Alps - thumbnail.Chamonix, France is a very famous winter resort but it’s not popular only in the winter. We visited Chamonix at the beginning of October on a bright and sunny day. This great weather gave us awesome views of the Alps and made our one hour drive a breeze. We couldn’t resist stopping at one of the rest stops just to admire the mountains. It proved to be the perfect day trip from Geneva, Switzerland.

My favorite tourist attractions at Chamonix, France

Chamonix is third on my list of favorite day trips from Geneva. A mountain resort, Chamonix is completely dominated by the massive French Alps and in particular the tallest peak, Mont Blanc. Let’s explore this beautiful resort and take a walking tour of Chamonix.

  • See more pictures from Chamonix France.
  • Take the tram all the way up the mountain. This is a must during any season. The views are just spectacular. Make sure you stop and get out at the first stop as well. You might get to see para gliders “flying” over the town.
  • Have dessert at one of the many bakeries. Really yummy.

Chamonix walking tour map
Chamonix walking tour map

With our map in hand, let’s start our walking tour of Chamonix, France.

Chamonix, France is a lovely town nestled among the Alps.

We arrived in Chamonix around noon and we parked next to the tramway. We wanted to go up the mountain first while it was not too late. I remember that the last tram coming down was around 5 or 6 pm and we wanted to make sure we get our lungs filled with crisp mountain air and our eyes filled with gorgeous views. And we did both by going up the mountain with the tramway.

The tramway in Chamonix, has two stops: the first stop is about half way up, and it leaves you on a mountain plateau that puts you face to face with the mountain. The second and last stop leaves you at the very top where you can easily spot Mont Blanc and also see serious hikers coming and going. If it’s a sunny day, the first stop may give you the opportunity to see para gliders how the prepare and how they actually “fly” over town.

A para glider flying over the town of Chamonix, France.
Chamonix, France - a para glider flying over the town
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We loved the little town. Walking through the streets of Chamonix will give you plenty of opportunities to sample local restaurants and bakeries. The restaurants in Chamonix, France are very inviting and the bakeries have amazing cakes and other sweets (like homemade chocolate).

Chamonix is a small town that lives from tourism. Pretty much everything in Chamonix is geared towards tourists. As a consequence you will find lots of restaurants, bakeries and lots of hotels. Obviously you will also find lots of tourists, but that is pretty cool if you like to see many people. To us it didn’t seem crowded but we visited in October and I assume there would be lots more people in the winter.

Mont Blanc is the star of the town

While the town is very pleasant, people don’t come to Chamonix just to eat some good food and sample great desserts. They come to Chamonix because of the mountains, in particular they want to see Mont Blanc. As a result, the mountain tramway is the busiest thing in town. I believe we paid around 40 euros for a ticket to the top; it was not cheap but it was definitely worth every penny.

The French Alps can be seen up close from the first tramway stop in Chamonix, France.
Chamonix, France - the french alps can be seen up close from first tramway stop
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How to get to Chamonix, France.

Chamonix is about one hour driving from Geneva, Switzerland and about two an a half hours from Lyon, France. Since Chamonix is a such a famous winter resort it is very well connected to major freeways and highways. From Geneva we took the A40 from Geneva and merged onto N205 following the signs to Chamonix. There is a rest stop close to the merger of the two highways; this rest stop will give you a beautiful view of the French Alps in all their splendor.

Is it worth visiting Chamonix, France?

If you have some extra time visiting France or Switzerland and you’re in Geneva or Lyon, it is definitely worth your time to visit Chamonix, especially if you have a sunny day available for exploring.

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