Spending Time in Chamonix

zoe-03Chamonix’s climate is generally moist with heavy snowfall in the winter and heavy rain at other times of the year. It can experience a variety of weather conditions throughout any given day, whatever the season, owing to its own micro-climate, created by the deep valley, oceanic air streams and huge mountains. For example, the weather may be bad in Chamonix, while the weather at neighboring ski resorts is fine.

The ski season kicks off in November in Chamonix and generally lasts through to April, as with many other French Alps ski resorts. Chamonix is located at high altitude, meaning it is virtually guaranteed lots of powdery snow throughout the season, but particularly in February and early March. Temperatures go well below zero degrees during this period, although it doesn’t tend to get as cold as similar North American resorts.

Although rainfall is quite high in Chamonix in the summer the weather up on the mountains can be beautiful with lots of sunshine, making conditions ideal for hikers. However, the weather can take a turn for the worst at any time of year, so don’t be surprised to be bathed in sunshine one minute and then engulfed by thunderstorms the next, even in July.

Chamonix has a good range of accommodation options, although most are fairly expensive, with the resort being one of Europe’s best ski resorts. There are all manner of hotels, lodges and camping options in Chamonix and the many surrounding villages. There are around 10,000 beds in the resort in total, which range from the height of luxury in a four-star lodge to cheaper rooms in guesthouses and hostels.

There are many hotel options along the D243 going in and out of Chamonix and on the main N506 highway, which connects with the A40 from Geneva. The village of Argentiere, farther up the valley, offers quieter lodging options and also gives access to Les Grands Montets.