Set at the foot of Mont Blanc, close to the junction between France, Italy and Switzerland, Chamonix is a picturesque resort in which to spend some quality time with loved ones; with an utterly charming town, and countless attractions and experiences on offer, it's one of the best places to experience the astounding natural beauty of the French mountains.
With a modest and rural history, Chamonix has a charm unlike anywhere else in Europe. As one of the oldest ski resorts on the continent, travellers to Chamonix are able to indulge in some of the most aspirational experiences imaginable, in one of the most idyllic resorts found anywhere on the globe.
Whatever your tastes, there's something magical to suit them in Chamonix. The town is a delightful place to spend an afternoon exploring local cafés, shops, and bars; the nearby woods and mountains offer some of the most breathtaking views and outdoor experiences; and there are plenty of ways to wind down after a busy day in elegant luxury, with a variety of wellness and spa treatments.
For the active:
If you and your family have a penchant for adventure, and enjoy sharing in the outdoor experience, then Chamonix is an unmissable treat. With the astonishing setting of Mont Blanc, and the bountiful surrounding forests, rivers and landscapes, there's an endless variety of things on offer for any family who love to get outside and explore.
While simply packing a delicious picnic, a thermos, and a camera can provide all you need for a day spent hiking with the family, Chamonix also offers some truly incomparable outdoor experiences. A few highlights include:
Chamonix's unique setting makes it one of the best places to try your hand at paragliding - and while this may sound a little adventurous for some, the variety of options offered by paragliding schools like Absolute Chamonix mean that whatever your level of experience, this is an adventure that anyone can embark upon.
With completely qualified instructors, a tandem experience is perfect for newcomers with no prior experience. As your guide takes the reins and tailors your descent to your tastes (will you dare a swooping thrill, or prefer a gentle scenic drift?), you'll be in the safest of hands - making a paragliding experience an unforgettable day out for the whole family.
Mountain Cycling Experiences
Family bike rides often lead to memories that your children and loved ones will cherish forever, and with a wide selection of experiences on offer, Chamonix is the perfect setting for a family summer mountain cycle.
From guided tours led by local experts, to adventures downhill free-rides, companies like Evolution 2 offer cycling experiences for all ages and experiences on offer in the valley, which is one of the most beautiful places to take to the saddle in Europe.
While Chamonix is undoubtedly the perfect place in which to spend a summer break with a young family, if your children are slightly older, then taking to a raft or canoe could give you a taste of adrenaline that you'll be talking about for years to come.
Whether it's a 2-man canoeing adventure, or a white water rafting afternoon, Evolution 2 offer all kinds of watersport activities to make the most of the stunning summer sun in Chamonix (although these are mainly suited to children aged at least 12 or over).
After a day of outdoor adventures, or simply for those with different tastes, there are also a variety of cultural experiences on offer in Chamonix throughout the summer, to wet the palette of those with a love of art, theatre, and other such pursuits.
Taking a ride on a rack and pinion railway to Montenvers is arguably one of the most inspiring and culturally stimulating ways to spend a day with family in Chamonix, which is made all the better by visiting the historical Temple of Nature whilst there, and experiencing the innovative optical theatre for yourself. With the opportunity to explore the glacier itself, and discover its secrets in the 'Glacorium', this is an experience you and the family will treasure.
To get a true feel for the fascinating history of the region, and for families who love to learn more about where they're staying, a visit to the magnificent Alpine Museum in Chamonix is a wonderful way to while away an afternoon. Situated in the former Chamonix-Palace, the museum takes visitors on a journey through the cultural history of Chamonix, from the arrival of the first tourists in the region to when the first cable cars were installed. It's a fantastic opportunity to get a true feel for your own place in the history of this wonderful region.
Food is, for any family, an integral part of any holiday - whether it's a simple afternoon snack, or an evening spent in a high-end restaurant. For families with a love for the very finest food, a Chamonix summer break could be the perfect ingredient.
With so many cafés, bars, bistros and restaurants on offer, you'll be utterly spoilt for choice during your summer mountain stay - but there are a few particular standouts:
Hameau Albert Premier
For families with a taste for the exquisite, or for parents looking to provide their children with a gastronomic experience that will open their palette to the wonders of the very finest French cuisine, then Hameau Albert 1er is the perfect choice. This two-Michelin-star dining room is regarded as one of the best ski resort restaurants in the world, and an evening or lunchtime spent here is incomparable.
Bighorn Bistro and Bakery
Perfect for parents and kids alike, the Bighorn Bistro & Bakery offer diners an exciting menu of American cuisine, and caters superbly to young children. With a play area and a TV room also available, this is an ideal destination to visit not only for the wonderful food and setting, but to let the younger members of the party blow off some steam. The breakfast/brunch offerings are also superb.
For a dining experience that offers guests not only exceptional food, but an exceptional setting, then Caleche is the perfect choice for a family meal. The dining room houses an ambience which is akin to that of a family home - with traditional skiing paraphernalia, old mountain books, and Swiss cuckoos that evoke the Chamonix of yore. The food alone also makes Caleche worth the visit, meaning this is the perfect spot for a family meal of an evening.
One of the most important things for many families on their summer holidays is simply to share in some truly fun experiences. For the fun-loving family, Chamonix offers some summer opportunities that you and the family will never forget.
Merlet wildlife park
For a wonderful day out, Merlet Wildlife Park is the perfect destination for the whole family. Made up of alpine pastures at 1500m altitude, the park is home to ibex, chamois, mouflon, deer, llamas, and marmots (and many more!). During summer months, the pleasant Chamonix weather makes Merlet Wildlife Park the perfect setting for a sunny picnic, and the talks and presentations on offer are superb.
Chamonix Amusement park
While Chamonix Amusement Park remains a popular attraction all year round, during summer months it takes on new life, and should be high on the list of any fun-loving families' things to see. With an alpine roller coaster for the bravest travellers, there are plenty of rides, playgrounds and attractions for adventurers of all ages.
Hot air balloon rides
For those with a passion for discovery, and who find the idea of following in footsteps of Jules Verne appealing, then taking a hot air balloon ride over the mountains with AlpesMontgolfiére is an opportunity that simply can't be passed by. The view from the balloon of the mountain vistas below is sure to paint a visual picture that you and the family will remember forever - there are few more beautiful sights to be found on the planet.