Things to do

Golf de Chamonix

La Forêt April 14th, 2007

Chamonix Golf Course

A beautifully scenic and well maintained 18 hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior, with a charming log clubhouse and excellent restaurant - see separate review.

Non-members are, of course, welcome, and details of fees and hire of equipment are on the Golf de Chamonix website

Chamonix Golf Course restaurant

The Dru

La Forêt April 14th, 2007



Les Drus, originally uploaded by Your new friend Pete.

The spectacular spike of the Aiguille du Dru , or Aiguilles des Drus, dominates the sky above Les Praz. Its 38 pitches are legendary amongst climbers and many routes are etched deep into mountaineering history.
Mountaineering information and some lovely photos of the Dru
Many of the hikes around the area give wonderful views of the mountain, and one of the loveliest is from the Montenvers railway, making it accessible to anyone.

Flégère Lift

La Forêt April 14th, 2007



Les Praz-Flegere Cable Car, originally uploaded by berliner_jake.

The Téléphérique La Flégère takes you from the 1030 m altitude of the village to the 1900 m midstation. In winter it accesses the Flégère ski area, with sunny, south-facing slopes and a wide variety of pistes for all levels, with wonderful views of the Mer De Glace glacier.
Flegere also has excellent off-piste skiing and snowboarding, and it’s well worth getting a guide for the day to experience it at its best.
Real Time lift opening information from chamonix.com

In summer, the lift takes you to the start of beautiful mountain walks like the Lac Blanc and challenging mountain bike trails.

Hiking

La Forêt April 14th, 2007



Hiking at Montenvers

Hiking in the cool air and astounding scenery of Chamonix is wonderful, and some of the finest walks of the Alps are accessed from Les Praz. You can walk up through the cool pine and larch forests, as the scenery shifts and changes through the trees, or the Flegere lift can take you up to the beginning of the paths.

The weather can change very quickly in the mountains, and you should always make sure you are properly equipped with water, good boots, waterproofs and sun protection. Always check the weather forecast before setting off.

I’ve posted some of the hikes that we’ve enjoyed here, but these aren’t intended as any substitute for a proper guidebook - just for inspiration! Most of the walks in the area are very well signposted, but you should always carry a map.

Lac Blanc Hike

La Forêt April 14th, 2007



Lac Blanc, originally uploaded by maisharefu.

The hike to Lac Blanc is probably one of Chamonix’s best known. Follow classic high alpine trail - there are no trees at this altitude - to a perfect view. The pale green lake reflects the mountains, and there’s a friendly refuge where you can have a simple but tasty lunch or even stay, which is open mid-June to around the end of September (reservation essential for sleeping +33(0)4.50.53.49.14) . A little under 10km, it normally takes three or four hours from the top of the Flegere lift at Les Praz.

Description of hike to Lac Blanc

Parapente / Paragliding

La Forêt April 14th, 2007

Parapenting above the Aiguilles de Chamonix
I keep meaning to try paragliding (the French is ‘parapente’). Chamonix Parapente is a paragliding school, open all year round for tandem flights, personalised courses, hikes and trips, FFVL affiliated. They’re based in Les Praz, in the same building as Mandrillon Sports.

Paradis Des Praz

La Forêt April 14th, 2007

Paradis Des Praz
This is a great find for younger children and their parents - a lovely shady pool under the pines, with pony rides, rope swings, log bridges and forts. There’s a little kiosk cafe - a buvette - with crepes etc, and barbecues in summer. In winter there’s snow tubing for the kids, and vin chaud for adults. They can also arrange birthday parties.
Paradis Des Praz

Trains - The Mont-Blanc Express

La Forêt April 14th, 2007

Les Praz has its own train station on the route of the Mont-Blanc Express and the trains are modern, new and comfortable with huge picture windows so you can admire the scenery. They have plenty of room for skis etc, and large areas for mountain bikes. It’s one of the nicest ways to get around the valley.

They go at rather irregular times so check the Mont Blanc Express train timetable before you leave for the station, but are very reliable and almost always punctual.

The line goes from St. Gervais in France via Chamonix to Martigny in Switzerland and you could fill several days just exploring the villages along its beautiful route. It connects into the main networks of both France and Switzerland - there’s a fast train to Paris from St Gervais. The Swiss site is much better if you want to explore the rail connections further - SBB
Travel between Servoz and Vallorcine is free with the lift pass or Carte d’Hote (which you will normally be given on arrival).

If you don’t have either of these for any reason, or if you want to go further afield, you need to buy a ticket, which you can’t do at Les Praz as it’s not staffed - find the conductor and buy it on the train.

Mont Blanc Express train timetable (PDF)

Route of the Mont-Blanc Express:
Mont-Blanc Express Route
Complete route with details of lifts etc along the way, from the timetable above.
View large version

Swiss side, with connections
Mont Blanc Express Map - Swiss Side
Very pretty map showing the Swiss side of the Mont Blanc Express (Les Praz isn’t marked on here for some reason) , and the St Bernard Express, from the rail company.
View large version

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