Chamonix for non-skiers
Not one for getting cold and out of breath up a mountain?
We have loads of friends that come out to Chamonix just to spend some time in the gorgeous surroundings and soak up the fun loving, relaxing atmosphere. Here's our favourite things to do when the weather doesn't make it fun to play out!
SPA'S: Relax in style
- QC Terme – brand new for 2019, a luxury new (huge!) thermal spa. Accessible only by foot from Chamonix Centre (walk behind the Sports Centre Richard Bozon and follow the signs for ‘centre de bien etre). Slippers, towels and provided within the entrance fee. Absolutely stunning setting and the best spa we have ever visited! The info from the website says it all: ‘The majesty of Mont Blanc is the setting for this new QC Terme spa where nature is the protagonist, offering a not-to-be missed swim midst the snow or green mountain meadows. It's an unexpected combination of warmth and freshness, water and earth. Within the spa's 3,000 square meters, there are over 30 wellness practices, following a multi-sensory journey. There is also an infinity pool whose reflection merges with the water of the adjacent Alpine lake, all with a breathtaking view of the Bossons Glacier’.
- L'Heliopic (next to the Aiguille du Midi cable car): Large pool with a fire place and seating area with comfy swing chairs, sauna and steam room, ice cave and cold water wells.
- Grand Hotel des Alpes (Chamonix centre): Indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. A range of treatments are also on offer but remember to book in advance, especially during busy periods.
- La Morgane (2 mins walk from the Aiguille du Midi cable car): Indoor pool, sauna and steam room, an absolute plethora of treatments and massages.
- Albert Premier ‘spa package’ – an absolute bargain (for 2 Michelin Star dining) and thoroughly recommended (our mum and dad went and can’t stop telling everyone about it!). Spend a morning in the spa based in the hotel then have a three course lunch with wine matched by the Sommelier, coffee and petit fours in the 2* Michelin restaurant. Only 75 Euros per head.
SHOPPING: From local markets to chic boutiques, Chamonix has something for everyone
- The weekly farmers market takes place in the town square every Saturday morning 8-2pm, the Place Du Mont Blanc (5 minutes walk from The Astor), beautiful fresh fruit, vegetables and lots and lots of CHEESE!!! The rotisserie chickens are famous and people flock from far and wide to get one! We recommend 'booking your chicken' early in the day as they sell out quick!
- There are also a farmers market in Les Houches (bus stop outside the Carrefour) - see travel in the Chamonix Valley for details on bus times. Every Wednesday, 3-7pm, Route Du Pont, Les Houches
- There are artisanal food shops dotted thoroughout Chamonix Centre, where you can buy beautiful meats, cheese, macaroons, cakes, chocolate and much much more.
- Window shop in the designer stores such as Chanel and Lacoste
- There are numerous outdoor / ski / mountainwear shops to call in at, from the very reasonably priced Decathlon on the main square, to the usual brands such as The North Face, Peak Performance, Rossignol and Patagonia.
- Snell Sports is a huge shop on the main street (Rue du Docteur Paccard) that is a bit of a Chamonix institution and sells all brands of mountainwear.
- Our favourite shop for gifts has to be Alp Chic on Avenue Michael Croz. This cool little shop sells everything from mouse mats to trays, posters and even deck chairs, all printed with their Trademark alpine cartoons - an example of which can be seen below. Definitely worth a visit to buy a memento of your holiday!
- Ice skating – the patinoire is situated next to the Richard Bozon sports centre
- Golf de Chamonix: Just by Flegere lift station, with a large car park available: The course is open to visitors and you need to book in advance. You have to hold a Green Card in order to meet the minimum standard, or at busy times you may need a handicap of 36.
- Compagnie des guides: This Chamonix institution offers a huge amount of activities for young and old in the summer and winter in Mont Balance. From Raquettes de neige, to Husky rides, Parapenting and much much more, check the website for the most up to date information or drop into their office (190 Place de L’Eglise, just near the Tourist Office). https://www.chamonix-guides.com/
Its great to go through the Mont Blanc Tunnel and visit the Aosta Valley. It’s a 25 min drive through to Val Veny which is the nearest place to park and catch a lift up to ski, but there is so much more on the doorstep: