Slope side hole in the wall snack bar with prices to reflect. BUT has fantastic spicy home made soups. "La patronne" travels to India a lot and brings home stocks of exotic spices. The soups are a welcome break from the usual resort offerings of saucisson and fromage and really hit the spot at lunch. Great for a quick aperitif too. Try Peche mignon (like a kir but with peach liqueur)
Place du Tour, Le Tour, near Chamonix
Google map: bit.ly/10ks8zM
Slopeside in that it's right at the bottom of the home run in Les Houches so you can literally ski onto the top terrace. Funky, kitsch, big and a large inside area for apres ski make it a great stop. They do lunch specials and though evening meals maybe push towards being a bit pricey its all wholesome English/French fusion cuisine so there's a lot more choice than just tartiflette and variations there of.
Live bands play regularly and if you're down in family-friendly Les Houches as opposed to knees-up Chamonix, you'll be thankful for the Kitsch Inn offering a bit of liveliness!
It's an online ski (and snowboard) hire calculator that shows how much you could save by renting in the UK and then picking up skis in France. It compares rental costs versus ever increasing airline baggage fees.
A lovely little Italian place off the main drag in Chamonix which does spectacular pizzas. I had the marinara which was huge and had a beautiful tomato sauce and the dough was just perfect - thin, a bit crispy, bit squidgy. Glass of perfect temperature Barbera topped it all off nicely. The other clientele ranged from gnarly looking climber types, to families and couples. Low lighting, no fuss decor and you can eat at the heavy wooden bar if you want. In a town where eating out generally leaves you broke it's good value, unpretentious and tasty.
Breezy runs a cosy, relaxed catered chalet close to Chamonix town. Fantastic food and flowing wine. Her intimate knowledge of the valley is invaluable when it comes to making the most out of your precious ski or snowboarding holiday.
UCPA, with centres in most of the big name French ski resorts, provides amazing value, all inclusive, outdoor activity packages.
In winter, you can ski, snowboard or even learn to speed ride. In summer, you can try mountaineering and other activities.
Most packages include full-time coaching, the technical equipment you require, lift passes and full board accommodation.
The centres are basic, but clean and adequate as a base, while the food is outstanding and plentiful. Beer and wine is also far cheaper than in most bars or hotels.
As an introduction to an activity, the courses are ideal. Better yet, for off-piste guiding, nothing compares for value. A week will typically cost about £600 plus transport, but you needn't spend a penny more in resort.
The cheapest transport option for a group may be to drive from the UK, but bus operators also link up to London. Outside of school half-term weeks, flights to gateway cities like Geneva can also be obtained cheaply from the usual budget operators.
Highly affordable hostel which manages to still be conveniently located near the centre of town. A simple, but excellent, breakfast is included in the price. The bar (stocked with an impressive selection of scotch) is a seasonaires favourite, especially in spring when the enormous patio with breathtaking views of Mont Blanc really comes into its own. The New Years Eve party, the Boss des Bosses race weekend and the end of season party in early May are the best possible times to stay there and enjoy the atmosphere.
This bar makes the best cocktails I've had in Chamonix and has some good DJ's on and some fantastic party nights. Just don't forget your credit card as they're not cheap!
90 Rue des Moulins
74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
06 09 12 19 52
Google map: bit.ly/bzCt5X
A great bar/club- funky tunes, small and cosy, goes all night long. When the two brothers get on the decks it really goes wild! This place seems to hold some of the best party nights in town.
Rue des Moulins, Chamonix
Google map: bit.ly/dznrJo
It's actually in Argentiere, up the valley towards La Tour and from what I can tell, used to be a bit of a dive. But it's been totally overhauled by it's new owners and is rad! Lively with a great menu - the Indonesian pork was lush and a plain spaghetti, tomato and basil was really delicious. There is a back area with a big oak table and blackboards with the daily specials written in chalk. Not overtly English but not all tartiflette and chalet-style either. Worth checking out.
216 Rue Chalet Straton, Argentiere, Chamonix
Google map: tinyurl.com/yby3s43
A small restaurant in La Balme, recently converted from a series of old cow sheds. It's near the bottom of the Aiguilette (a short red run with a button lift). There's a lovely sunny terrace and they do great value lunches for around €10. Try the assiette de pisteurs, a huge plate of salad, rosti, goats cheese on toast and lardons.
00 33 683 33 86 61 (Booking is essential)
A rustic restaurant in Les Houches, just off the Col de Voza run (accessed on a signed track through the trees). It's an old farmhouse lovingly converted by an Australian woman, Julie, and her French husband, Claude. Excellent homemade slow-cooked dishes; about €15 for mains
It's at 3842 metres in the cable car station at the top of the Aiguille du Midi. Advertised as the highest Savoyard restaurant in the Alps (I'm guessing it's the highest in the whole world!) The food is good and the views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Aiguilles are fantastic. You basically get a real taste (albeit very much a lite version) of the experience of high-altitude mountaineering. The downside is that it costs 41 euros to get up there.
You'll find that with a family or group it's cheaper to hire a car from Geneva than it is to get a transfer. It'll also allow you to get around the various resorts from Chamonix without using (see: waiting for...) the ski bus. Did you know that Courmayeur is only 30 minutes from Chamonix through the Mont Blanc tunnel!
Alpine Ski and Golf operate a catered chalet in the Chamonix valley. We have just returned from a half term walking trip where we stayed in the company's catered chalet. The food was great and the service even better. As a holiday this was amazing considering the cost.
Mountain Sanctuary is a fantastic setup in Chamonix providing holistic retreats in the most stunning of environments. You stay in an idyllic alpine chalet with Mont Blanc as your backdrop and indulge yourself in the holistic treatments. They have tai-chi, yoga, reiki, nutrition and life coaching specialists on hand to cater for your every need.
An amazing chalet in a little forest, close to the Flegere lift. We went in summertime when Chamonix is buzzing and lively - full of French alpine character and tradition.
The chalet sleeps 10 and is incredibly spacious, with a huge balcony to sit out on and enjoy the stunning Alpine views. There's even a fully appointed 'Mazot' (enchanting mini-chalet) in the garden, which is unbelievably romantic! The enormous garden was covered in wildflowers, nestled in the woods, with a hammock to laze in, a hot-tub with views of the surrounding mountains, and woodburning barrel sauna to pamper yourself in - and we spent happy nights having BBQ's arond the firepit, under the stars.
The chalet itself has a really traditional feel, with wood beams and granite, with a proper wetroom, spacious kitchen and lounge - and a wonderful atmosphere.
It's truly a magical destination for all seasons!
Les Praz, Chamonix
We just got back form our Snowboarding holiday in Chamonix which we booked with Arctic Beaver. We had a great time and just wanted to thank the guys for all the hard work they put in to make our holiday so special. They organised everything from the transfers, ski hire, catering and passes.
Will definitely come back.
Boule de Neiges is a really great little bar and hotel in the centre of Chamonix town. A great bar, excellent decor and a warm, welcome atmosphere. The Boule de Neiges is run by Brits and all in all is a darn good find for those that want value accommodation close to the ski slopes!
Recommended is the vin chaud, Pete's chicken caesar salad, the house burger, sitting in the sun with a view of Mont Blanc from the upstairs terrace (residents only). Happy hour is a two-minute clomp from the slopes in ski boots.
Hotel Boule de Neiges
362 Rue Joseph Vallot
0844 81 53 530
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