Chamonix's attraction to the seriously active is obvious however there are many things to do for those of a cultural and site seeing bent. The list below is not exhaustive but should give an idea of how to spend your time in Chamonix without raising a sweat.
WITHIN THE CHAMONIX VALLEY
Aiguille du Midi
Arguable the best known attraction in Chamonix after Mont Blanc. It is the 3rd most visited site in France. Take the cable car up to 3800 metres for a sweeping vista of the Alps. A must do for any visit to Chamonix.
Mer de Glace
Probably the one site that put Chamonix on the travel map. First visited by “tourists” Windham & Pococke in 1740 and still a favourite for visitors. Catch the train to Montenvers and take in the amazing views of the Mer de Glace glacier and mountainous valley.
Tramway du Mont Blanc
One of the oldest mechanical uphill lifts in the valley and the highest railway in France. Departing from Le Fayet, Saint-Gervais or Bellevue.
This museum located right in the centre of Chamonix is a great way to spend an afternoon dicsovering the social history of the Chamonix valley and its inhabitants.
The "Espace Tairraz" is interactive mounteering exhibition and the christal museum shows an astonishing amount of minerals from the Mont Blanc massif, which are known throughout the world, particularly smoked quartz and pink fluorspars.
Showing the latest films from around the world with a selection of French and English on three screens. The Chamonix Cinema Vox is equipped with larger screens, digital sound, new and comfortable seating.
CLOSE TO THE CHAMONIX VALLEY
Gianadda Foundation Museum
This wonderful museum is tucked away at the end of the Sion valley, only 40 minutes from Chamonix. It offers several permanent exhibitions include one on the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci, a huge vintage car collection and large sculpture garden with works from the likes of Henry Moore and Joan Miro. There is also 2 special exhibitions per year running for around 5 months each.
Through the tunnel du Mont Blanc or over the Grand St Bernard pass you will find the valley and walled town of Aosta – a town dating back to pre-Roman times and boasting the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. A wonderful town to visit, especially on market day.
Known as the Venice of the Alps, this beautiful town nestled on the shores of Lacs d’Annecy is real delight. Lunch in the town centre next to the canals that run through the town centre, or rent some bikes and peddle around the lake on the 20km long riding path, try a bit of fishing or just enjoy sitting in one of the parks by the lake. 1 hour from Chamonix.
Yvoire is little know outside of the Rhone Alpes but is the only town on Lake Geneva that still has a living castle. The town has maintained a very old world feel with cobble stone, traffic free streets, lovely shopping and restaurants and the Jardin de 5 sense