Fine dining, stunning mountain scenery and great off-piste routes for powder-seeking addicts – Chamonix has it all. Here, Nick Thomson from Chalet Cragg&More shares five of his favourite things
“The White Mountain” is the highest mountain in the Alps and the European Union, rising 4,810m above sea level, thereby increasing the chance of the most snow and the freshest powder. The view from Chamonix of Mont Blanc is stunning, almost intimidating in size as it towers over the town centre. Barney, our Chalet Manager, recently summited Mont Blanc and informs me that the view from the top is even better than the views from the valley, so if you have extreme blood running through your veins, as many climbers do who visit Chamonix every year, you will definitely want to get up there.
The famous Vallée Blanche (pictured above) in Chamonix is an off-piste ski route for powder-seeking addicts, 20km long with a vertical descent of 2,700m. The views are unbelievable and the high mountain environment provides a real sensation of wilderness. This is one of those life experiences that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Although a lot of the Valle Blanche is skiable for intermediates there is a lot of difficult, extreme terrain for all those dare devils trying to get your adrenaline rush. If this is your thing you must take a ski guide. Not only is it a safety risk if you don’t but they will show you routes that you would never find yourself and an experience you will never forget. Our Partner company, Prestige, offer the best guides in the Chamonix valley and have got me down some interesting runs that I would never have done on my own
Montenvers Mer de Glace
The Montenvers rack railway starts from Chamonix and, in 20 minutes and in total safety, reaches the bottom of the Mer de Glace (1,913 m), France’s largest glacier (7km long, 200 m thick). This historic site marked the start of Alpine tourism in the 19th century and offers a panoramic view of famous peaks such as Les Drus and Les Grandes Jorasses.
Simply hop on board the famous little red railway train. Time will stand still, and you’ll enjoy this vintage method of transport. The track climbs the mountainside running through the forest, tunnels cut through the rock and over viaducts. You enter the realm of the high mountains, and round the last bend you’ll feel the magic. This provides something different for people who visit Chamonix and is a great experience for non-skiers or if you want to enjoy the views and scenery without the extreme climbing. Just another adventure that Chamonix provides.
Chamonix is well known for its fine dining and classy bars. There are three Michelin-star restaurants with the Albert Premier arguably being the best. This two-star Michelin restaurant is situated within the heart of Chamonix and is run by head chef Pierre Maillet alongside his father-in-law, Pierre Carrier. Together they provide one of the finest dining experiences in the Chamonix Valley with perfectly cooked dishes, charming staff and impeccable service. The restaurant offers subtle, simple and modern cuisine inspired by the local region. The cuisine changes with the seasons, based on local, fresh produce with many of the vegetables and herbs being sourced from their own kitchen gardens.
The wine cellar counts no less than 20,000 bottles, comprised of the 950 appellations presented on the wine list. All the wines are ready for immediate consumption as the construction of the wine cellar allows certain wines to be stored for a few years before they reach their necessary maturity. The hotel sommelier will be on hand to help you choose a suitable accompaniment to your meal from the hotels’ extensive wine list. The interior of the restaurant has a warm and modern feel with floor to ceiling windows, decently separated tables and lavish red and cream curtains. The atmosphere created as a result is one of relaxed elegance, where you feel equally comfortable in casual or smart attire. The food is so good I have managed to convince the Cragganmore management that is would be a goof staff “training” exercise to have dinner there to show them the five-star service they are competing against.
Described as modern Boutique with a touch of traditional French Chalets. Chalet Cragganmore (pictured above) and Chalet Dalmore (pictured below) challenge the traditional ‘chocolate box’ style of small windows and instead invite the incredible mountain views inside with floor to ceiling windows and spectacular bespoke design. As a family operated group of chalets, Cragg&More can offer a fully dedicated private team that can provide an unrivalled level of service. Our concierge service prior to arrival will help you package a holiday that will best suit your needs whether it be simply choosing the right ski school, arranging your ski and boot hire or organising a heli-ski trip.
The Chamonix valley includes five major ski stations catering from the beginner to the more experienced skier. The Cragg&More staff have in-depth and up-to- date knowledge of the area and can help you plan your days skiing and advise on where to get the best snow conditions whilst our drivers can transport you there in luxury.
“The service that we provide is one of five star quality. We have the best Chefs who cook the most varied and delicious food that would satisfy anybodies tastebuds. The Chalets are so fantastically luxurious and are accompanied by the best skiing in Europe if not the World!”