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Places to Stay in the Chamonix Valley, France


The Chamonix valley has long held a bewitching appeal. Since the early 19th-century intrepid mountain enthusiasts have flocked to these pristine slopes, and today it is widely regarded as one of the most exclusive such regions on the planet. As might well be expected this has accordingly made the Chamonix region very expensive, with even 'budget' accommodation in the commune itself often stretching well into triple figures per night.

However, the good news is that there are alternatives throughout the valley that offer not just a more reasonable price point, but also hold their own unique atmospheres. Not everyone quite falls for the glitz and glamor that Chamonix has become famed for and instead prefer a more authentic alpine experience.

There are quite a few options to choose between as the Chamonix valley officially comprises sixteen villages and hamlets each with their own unique appeal. Each of these contributes towards creating that unique sense of Alps Magic that keeps people flocking to the region in their thousands. Here is a handpicked selection of the most beguiling places to stay throughout the valley.

Chamonix Town


Dominated by the majestic Mont Blanc, few would argue that Chamonix village offers a truly one of a kind experience. Ideally placed for easy access to the infamous Vallée Blanche (accessible via the Aiguille du Midi cable car) and the Brevent-Flégère skiing area, the town truly offers everything a snow sports enthusiast may wish for.

That being said, as mentioned above the prices can be astronomical especially during the high season. While there are of course numerous luxury hotels and resorts dotted throughout the town, self-catering budget accommodation can be found - just try and book these many months in advance! Generally speaking, these tend to be mostly concentrated on the outskirts of the town throughout the Les Pélerins and Les Gaillands districts.

While it may be pricey there are clear advantages to deciding to stay in Chamonix itself. The town has by far the greatest variety of entertainments, restaurants, shopping opportunities and a legendary après ski scene to enjoy when taking a break from the slopes.

Les Houches


Looking to stay somewhere with a more relaxed vibe? Then Les Houches may offer the perfect alternative to the glitzy party town of Chamonix. Especially popular with families and those who wish to focus especially on skiing instead of partying, this area often hosts international events and is a regular host for the Alpine Skiing World Cup.

Offering a good variety of slopes ranging from beginner routes through to very advanced technical courses, it is the ideal choice for groups of mixed ability or looking to learn/enhance their ski skills. It is also one of the surprisingly few areas with a number of ski in/out chalets and even a rapidly expanding number of eco-chalets too.

Argentière


Despite being only 8km or so down the valley from Chamonix town, this beautiful village possesses a truly 'classic' Alpine atmosphere. Many of the hotels and guesthouses here have been in place for well over a hundred years and very little seems to have changed. The village retains a Savoyard style that serves to perfectly epitomize the region and its long and colorful history.

As may be expected this village is especially popular with more dedicated ski enthusiasts thanks to being practically next to the Grands Montets ski area. Offering some of the most thrilling routes in the world, this laid back and relaxed village serves as a perfect base for serious skiers who like a quieteraprès ski.

Les Praz


This small village and the area surrounding it is perhaps the most exclusive ski region in Europe. Looking for a luxury chalet which comes with its own butler and chef? Then this is the choice for you!

Enjoying breathtaking views across the valley and situated perfectly to receive the most sunshine of anywhere in the region, theFlégère ski lift and ski area is handily accessible and once more offers a good variety of routes. Dining options are - as may be expected - almost exclusively five-star with not a huge amount of nightlife/partying options. Those lucky enough to be able to stay here tend to prefer to enjoy the splendor of their chalets.

Vallorcine & Le Tour


If Les Praz sounds a little beyond the everyday budget then these two small villages may offer a more practical alternative. While very small and offering little in the way of dining/shopping/entertainment options, they enjoy very handy access to the Domaine de Balme ski area. These slopes are generally undemanding and offer some of the most panoramic views in the valley. Ideal for gentle meandering, it should come as no surprise that these villages are especially popular with families and older visitors.

Servoz Village


While situated at the far end of the valley Servoz has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last few years. Offering incredible views back up towards Chamonix and Mont Blanc, it offers a great selection of more contemporary accommodation options including a very popular selection of eco-chalets. Thanks to being at the less fashionable end of the valley, prices are corresponding much more affordable than the regional norm.

If this sounds like an ideal solution, just remember to factor in that most of the popular slopes are going to require either a short train ride or drive.

While it may sound difficult to enjoy Chamonix 'on the cheap' that does not mean that it needs to be ridiculously pricey. Thanks to having such an extensive Alpine heritage the accommodation infrastructure is extensive and there are good value alternatives to Chamonix town itself. Of course, if money is no object then one can enjoy the epitome of luxury anywhere throughout the valley. But for those of us who reside in the real world, it is worth considering the unique charms of alternative options to Chamonix itself. Remember that it is very easy to travel the short distances to any of the big name slopes!


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