Chamonix

One of France's first ski resorts, Chamonix is something of an iconic destination, welcoming skiers since 1906. Bordering Mont Blanc, it's proximity to the mountain provides a pull, yet its the dazzling array of pistes that has positioned it as a go-to for experienced skiers on the trail of fresh, virgin powder. Its endless lift system extends up to 3,842metres (that’s 2, 807 metres above the resort) with highlights including the 20km glacier run of Vallée Blanché.  It’s little wonder that locals refer to Chamonix as ‘Le Grand Ski’- If you plan it properly you wont even need to stop for lunch. With the terrain divided between a number of smaller resorts, including Les Houchés and Argentier, no two days in Chamonix are the same.

Increasingly, Chamonix has also evolved into a mecca for extreme adventurer sports, with expert providers offering everything from mountain climbing to paragliding, dog sledding, canyoning and speed-riding - he latest craze combining paragliding with skiing for die-hard dare-devils.

Rather than purpose-built like many alpine towns, the charismatic village of Chamonix has evolved organically, and now combines fantastic restaurants with boutique hotels and a buzzing bar scene. It’s a treat to stroll through its pedestrianized town centre and stop for coffee and a pain-au-chocolat at one of the café’s bordering the tree-lined banks of the river, or visit its open-air market on Saturday mornings. Its proximity to Geneva and its year-round active lifestyle has attracted a vibrant mix of locals and internationals to settle and set up shop, creating a uniquely cosmopolitan, colourful and dynamic entrepreneurial scene amongst the 10,000-something residents.

The experts say

A bucket-list destination for every dedicated skier and snowboarder, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc's altitude and extensive range of dazzling descents have led locals to nick-name it “Le Grand Ski”.

The property market in Chamonix

The Mont-Blanc property market has always been favourable for investment due to the strong rental market and its world-famous location. Local experts describe the property market as being very unique in the area, with visitors ranging from snow bunnies touting designer handbags to adventurers striding the streets, crampons in hand. Tourism numbers are some of the highest in the Alps, which leads to high rental yields for investors who use their property as a second home.

Building restrictions within in Chamonix Mont Blanc help to increase the value of well-positioned properties, and in particular, new build properties, for sale from between €7,500 and €9,500 per sqm, with chalets starting at around €10,000 per sqm.

In recent years, exclusive chalets with spectacular views over the Mont-Blanc’s massif (unmatched in the French Alps) have sprung up, offering an attractive venture for savvy investors with substantial capital looking for a property investment or a second home property in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.

How to Get There

By Road

From France, Chamonix is accessed via the Autoroute Blance (A40), which connects to the European motorway network. Driving through Switzerland requires connecting with the motorway to Martigny, Col de la Forclaz and Col des Montets, while to reach Italy, its a mere 15km drive across the border through the Mont-Blanc Tunnel.

By Train

There are two alternatives rail options to reach the region. The TER regional trains and TGB connect from St Gervais-le Fayey railway station just 20km away from town. Meanwhile, the Mont Blanc Express services villages from St Gervais-le Fayet to Martigny via Servoz, Les Houches, Chamonix, Argentière and Vallorcine.

By Air

Chamonix is extremely well served by airports, with a plethora of regular daily flights departing from Geneva, just 85 km away. Chambéry lies about a two-hour drive away at 135km, while Lyon is approximately 220km from Geneva and about a three-hour drive.

Weather

Spring / Summer

Thanks to its high altitude, Chamonix tends to enjoy snow late into the season, allowing for a longer skiing period while alpine flowers bloom in the valleys below. Spring-time is Carnival season in the village, which hosts a panoply of events to enjoy after a long day on the slope, while come May, highs of 20°C welcome the hiking season.

Fall / Winter

Given its high altitude, Chamonix benefits from colder climates in the winter and surprisingly warm summers. Autumn is defined by periods of legendary mist, which covers the golden larch trees, before the snow starts falling in November and stays till April. During this peak season, daily highs may reach -2°C, but come nightfall, its time to cozy up by the fire with lows of -25°C.

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