Chamonix is a well-stocked larder of a town. Michelin stars to McDonalds, take-aways to teriyaki, Asian, Indian, Chinese and good traditional Savoyard cheese and ham combos. Places come and go but it’s the special hideaways and secret finds that add to your enjoyment. Discovering your own special place and sharing its delights with others is what makes eating out in Chamonix such a joy. Something we loved was a trip to the MBC (Micro Brasserie de Chamonix) – it’s a microbrewery where they make their own beer on site!
Mountain restaurants in Chamonix
The mountain restaurants are equally varied with everything from functional self-service canteens to rustic hidden gems. Nestled in the trees above Les Houches is the wonderful Les Vieilles Luges, a charming converted farmhouse that provides winter warmers such as lamb shank or confit duck. Two popular venues on the Grands Montets are La Crèmerie du Glacier near the end of the Pierre a Ric piste, and the Chalet-Refuge de Lognan, which was featured in the Times Literary Supplement’s top 10 European mountain restaurants in 2008, but it can get very busy so booking in advance is advised (+33 6 88 56 03 54).
Some of the best mountain restaurants are found at the far end of the valley in Le Tour, among them the beautiful Alpage de Balme at the foot of the Posettes draglift. Locally-made saucissons and traditional croutes are offered alongside a decent wine list on a snug-but-sunny terrace which fills up fast, so on good weather days it pays to book ahead (+33 683 33 86 61).
Après ski in Chamonix
Après ski differs here compared to most resorts in France. The disjointed nature of the ski area means that there are no natural meeting places, and the bars in the centre tend not to be the sort where you keep your ski boots on.
But there are good choices for après ski near the bottom of most of the lifts, and certainly no more than a short bus or train journey away. After skiing at Le Tour or the Grands Montets there is often live music to be found at either Le Savoy or The Office, both of them on the Argentiere high street Right at the foot of the Flégère cable car in Les Praz is the renovated Le Castel, with an inviting sunny terrace and incredible views.
The options in Chamonix town centre are a lot more varied, but at the top of the locals’ list are the triumvirate of Elevation 1904, Chambre Neuf, and relative newcomer Moo, all conveniently found next to each other right beside the station.
Nightlife in Chamonix
Chamonix is a cosmopolitan year-round party town and boasts plenty of options for drinks after dark, ranging from spit-and-sawdust pubs to the casino (yes, Chamonix even has a casino!). There are also several nightclubs, which stay open until the sun comes up.
Try Cham Sud stalwarts The Jekyll, The Monkey, and the Irish pub, The Munster, or for a more refined atmosphere check out La Terrasse, with its original art nouveau upstairs conservatory. The Cham Sud party continues after-hours at the old favourite Le Tof or the swank Amnesia, and over on Rue des Moulins, Le Chamonix Social Club provides the finest cocktails in town before the inevitable stumble into The Bunker…