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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Winter Family Guide

Updated: Feb 1

Family guide to getting the most out of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, family ski resort in France, near the Swiss border (Valais). Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France.

The "it" factor

Happyland Cherokee

What makes it special:

What needs to be considered:

  • No ski lifts in sledging areas

  • Gets crowded during holidays

Don't feel like reading? Watch a video instead!

The fun factor

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, a delightful French town close to the Swiss border, is one of our go-to spot for a winter family getaway. Unlike other ski resorts in the region that cater more to advanced skiers, Chamonix is perfect for kids (and adults) learning to ski. The town offers wonderful attractions for the entire family, and there's a variety of restaurants serving cuisines from around the world. Plus, we found it to be reasonably priced, especially when compared to some of the costs in Switzerland. It's become our top choice for a family-friendly winter retreat!

Here are our Top 8 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Fun Factors:

1. Discover Skiing Fun in Les Planards

If you want to introduce kids to skiing In Chamonix, Les Planards is an ideal spot. It offers kids a play area with a magic carpet for the little ones and a pull and chair lift for slightly older and more experienced skiers. Conveniently located in the valley, just a short walk from the city center, no tickets are required to access it. Les Planards provides various lessons, including 5-6 day courses, private sessions, and special Saturday group sessions. We tried a 3-hour Saturday course and a private lesson for our 4-year-old, and it was a delightful experience. Instructors were patient, engaging and used games to keep the kids entertained while maintaining an appropriate pace. Surprisingly, our little one wanted to stay for the full 3 hours, a rare occurrence, and the mid-class snack break may have played a motivating role! More info here.

2. Enjoy a year-round fun park

Next to the ski area, there's an alpine coaster that operates year-round.  Suitable for children aged 3 and above, the coaster offers the flexibility to control the speed, allowing for both thrilling and leisurely rides. Adjacent to the coaster, you'll find a small carousel, mini go-karts, and other enjoyable activities for kids that are available when there isn't an excessive amount of snow.  Many resorts close such activities during winter times, so we were delighted that everything was open, especially considering our 4 year-old's love for amusement park experiences. Needless to say, we spent almost half a day here before she was ready to move on to the next adventure. More info here.

3. Go sledging

For a quick sliding fix, head over to Bois du Bouchet in Chamonix – a free spot for some laid-back sledding.

But if you're a serious sledding enthusiast, Les Houches is the go-to destination. Just a 15-minute drive from Chamonix, Les Houches has two locations for sledding. First up is Les Chavants, accessible without gondola, offering two sledding runs – one for kids aged 2-6 and another for above 6 years old. The second spot, Le Prarion, is accessible from the top of the gondola, with a 10-minute walk to the sledding and tubing area. Just heads up: there are no lifts or magic carpets. In all sledding runs, parents become the human ski lifts, helping the sledders get back up.

Tip: the runs aren't always open, so it's a good idea to check the snow conditions before planning your adventure.

4. Take the funicular to Mer de Glace

If you're seeking an adventure with younger kids, consider taking the charming train up to Montenvers at 1913 meters. While the altitude may not be extremely high, our toddler thoroughly enjoyed the 20-minute train ride and playing in the snow. Montenvers is home to the longest and largest glacier in France, and the second longest in the Alps, offering truly impressive views. We enjoyed cake and coffee/babyccino at a nearby restaurant while soaking in the scenery.

A short stroll away, you'll find an impressive ice cave, though unfortunately, it was closed for the 2024 winter season. Having visited other glacier caves, we know our 4 year-old loves the experience, and judging by the photos, this one looked particularly remarkable. A compelling reason for us to return! More info here.

5. Go up to 3842 meters to see Mont-Blanc with the Aiguille du Midi cable car

How about a gondola ride reaching an altitude of 3842 meters, with a glass floor at the peak? Slightly older kids, starting from 3 years old (though recommended from 5 years old) can join in. While there's a restaurant, a small museum, and a viewing terrace, the fun factor may not be off the charts for the little ones, as there aren't specific activities tailored for kids. However, the impressiveness of the surroundings and the view on Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, compensates for it and makes it a brag-worthy accomplishment.

Tip: it's not the cheapest thing to do, but if you book in advance online, you get a discount. Only open in good weather conditions (no strong wind). More info here.

6. Complete the quest at Crystal Museum

When the weather doesn't want to cooperate, we stumbled upon this unique indoor escape – the enchanting Cristal Museum, with an impressive collection of 1900 crystals from around the globe. Adding to the charm of the colorful display is a delightful quest designed for the little ones, encouraging them to discover different crystals and unveil a secret word. While officially geared towards 6 year-olds and older, our 4 year-old eagerly joined in and with some help from us, succesfully completed the quest. Just a heads up, we wouldn't recommend it for kids younger than 4. The displays are quite high, making it challenging for them to see properly, and it might lack enough fun factor for the very little ones. More info here.

7.  Run with the Huskies (Sleigh adventure)

We'd been wanting to experience the fun of Husky sleigh rides with the family, and Huskydalen was our top pick, thanks to their stellar reviews and kid-friendly offerings. Our excitement hit a snag when we realized we hadn't planned ahead, and they were fully booked. Lesson learned, but you can bet next time we're securing our spot early for this fantastic adventure!

8. Uncover Local Events

Upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised to find a weekly events program in our apartment, offering a variety of activities for both kids and adults. From circus performances and theatre shows to parades, guided museum tours, arts competitions, and more, there's something for everyone. If your accommodation doesn't provide a program, you can grab one at the information point. Just keep in mind – not all events are in English. If you're eager to attend any, it's advisable to contact the information and inquire about the most suitable ones for your family. More info here.

The food factor

We found lots of cool restaurants in town with all kinds of food – including local must-tries like Tartiflette or Swedish burgers, Asian Fusion, Italian, and more. But our absolute favorite? The restaurant at Plan B Hotel. It's a modern place with tasty food, a neat kids menu, and even a play area for the little ones. The best part? They've got two mini bowling lanes, and they thought of everything. You can put up barriers for the younger kids, so they can play without the frustration of the ball going into the gutter. We had a blast with a family match, and surprise – granddad took the victory! Just a tip: book ahead for a good time.

Winter Wonderland of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc - Practical Info

  • Tip: If you are planning to take gondolas or funiculars, check if the lifts are operating before your visit - they can be closed in case of bad weather conditions (especially strong wind)

  • Address: Chamonix Centre-ville, 74400 Chamonix, France

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