Les Praz de Chamonix Explore Les Praz de Chamonix in the French Alps

Les Praz Church, Chamonix

A tranquil spot just five minutes from the cosmopolitan centre of Chamonix, Les Praz de Chamonix is a beautiful Alpine village. Ringed with woods and mountains, it's home to the Flegere lift, giving access to some of the most spectacular walking in Europe. The Chamonix golf course, also in the village, provides a world class eighteen hole course with magnificent views.

It's one of the sunniest parts of Chamonix, and is a deservedly popular place to stay or just enjoy. Take a look around with the photos, or find what you're looking for - there's information on transport, restaurants, things to do and more. If there's something you think should be added, please do get in touch!

Sunset from the Flegere lift

La Forêt November 2nd, 2007

The blazing colours of the Alpine sunsets are caused by the natural phenomena of Alpenglow.

La Cabane des Praz (the Golf Club restaurant)

La Forêt November 2nd, 2007

Interior and exterior of restaurant
(Photographs © La Cabane 2006-7)

This restaurant is part of the Golf Club - there’s a collection of buildings around it including the Hotel Labrador. A few years ago it burned down, and has now been rebuilt in a very atttactive ‘log cabin’ style - Finlandais as it’s called here. I’ve heard good recommendations of the food, so we went to try it out.

It’s a lovely building, and even in this low season time, they’d made an effort to decorate it seasonally with autumn leaves and pumpkins - including some enormous pumpkins piled around the outside. The interior is very pretty - spacious and warm, and nicely divided up with booths and other seating areas. Decor is modern, upmarket Alpine, and I quite liked the animatronic polar bear which gives a nice hint of frivolity. It’s mercifully free of golfing memorabilia.

We were brought a lovely amuse-bouche of pumpkin soup while looking over the menu, which is in both French and English. Some very nice seasonal choices on it (which are helpfully marked out clearly) included a very wide selection of local game.

The standout starter was a beautifully presented small pumpkin filled with truffled pumpkin soup and containing seared scallops, held steady on a mashed potato base and surrounded by rocket. This was one of the nicest things I’ve eaten in Chamonix - truly delicious.

My main course was, unfortunately, the wrong dish - some salmon that was a bit uneventful. Everyone else’s was excellent - highlights included lamb cooked for seven hours, a game confit, and the lovely side dishes.

Puddings were inventive, tasty and beautifully presented - my shortbread with nougat icecream and figs was really special.

Overall it was a lovely evening. Personally, I slightly prefer the food at the Eden, as it’s a little lighter, but La Cabane definitely has the edge in terms of decor, it’s really very pretty inside - the warmth of the wood keeps the spacious interior cosy. It’s quite a smart place, though relaxed, and perfect for a special occasion, or a romantic dinner.

www.restaurant-lacabane.com

Pierre d’Orthaz

La Forêt October 1st, 2007



Pierre d’Orthaz, Chamonix, originally uploaded by chaletlaforet.

The massive rock known as la Pierre d’Orthaz was left behind by retreating glaciers. It’s a historical bouldering rock, and opposite it was the infamous Snell’s field campsite where the world’s greatest climbers used to camp out. Now very polished but still a beautiful and atmospheric sight…
Some tales :

Down memory lane to Snell’s field (UK Climbing)
…and another on Supertopo

Hike to Buvette des Mottets from Les Praz de Chamonix

La Forêt September 2nd, 2007



Buvette des Mottets, Chamonix, originally uploaded by chaletlaforet.

This little buvette is in a gorgeous spot on the way up to Montenvers - in front of the buvette itself, there are tables shaded with parasols and behind is a little glade of silver birches around a pond where dragonflies zip to and fro over the profusion of flowers.

On a clear still day, it’s a super place to watch the paragliders fly over the Dru, whilst the Mer de Glace creaks and crackles below. The food’s very nice too. We shared a lovely croute - bread soaked in a creamy white wine sauce, with mushrooms (or ham), and then baked with cheese. The owners are very friendly and helpful too.

You can get there a variety of ways, it’s signed from the Petit Balcon Nord. The walk up from Les Praz is really worth doing, taking you through an astonishing variety of Alpine enviroments, from bare glacier-riven red iron rocks, where tiny flowers bloom in the cracks, to lush ferny, mossy forest. You can also get there via the train up to Montenvers and walk down.

Usually open mid-June -September. Tel +33(0)6 14 19 36 77

Chalet Floria

La Forêt June 14th, 2007

Chalet Floria

You can see the beautiful flowered terrace of Chalet Floria high above Les Praz. If you’re feeling energetic, you can hike up there from the village - it’s well signposted and will take about an hour, winding up through the fragrant pine forests and wonderful scenery.

Otherwise, you can let the Flégère lift whisk you up to the top, and have a more relaxing walk down to it.

Once there you can take in the astounding views whilst having a drink or lunch in the riot of flowers - over 4000 plants cover the chalet and terrace, and butterflies flutter around as you eat. The menu isn’t extensive (not surprising, given the location!) but the food is very nice and reasonably priced. The friendly owners both speak English (Madame speaks it perfectly) and have a fascinating book of photos to flip through, showing the chalet over the years.
Opens from the end of April until the end of October.
Lovely photo of the Chalet Floria’s terrace and view on Chamonix.com

Auberge La Bagna

La Forêt May 9th, 2007

Auberge La Bagna
(Summer only)
There’s lovely food on the pretty terrace at La Bagna, with occasional barbecues for special occasions. If it’s chilly, eat inside, which is warmly decorated in rich reds. There’s usually a particularly good choice for vegetarians and some deliciously fresh salads - perfect for when you’ve had enough cheese and potatoes and want something a bit lighter. The terrace is a good place for families as there’s plenty of room beside it for kids to play.
They also offer bed and breakfast accomodation.
In winter, the same building becomes becomes Chalet Lounge

Auberge La Bagna

Les Praz Church

La Forêt May 6th, 2007



LES PRAZ 22, originally uploaded by gilles_chapelain.

Gorgeous panoramic picture of the church - perhaps taken in very early spring as there are no flowers out yet?

Buses

La Forêt May 6th, 2007

The buses are a good way to get around the valley, and plenty of them run to Les Praz. If you have a lift pass, the bus (and train) services are free -otherwise you have to pay 1.5 euros per trip (in theory - though in practice they rarely seem to ask)
The schedule varies drastically with the time of year (and is strongly geared to the ski lifts times in winter) so check the timetable - there’s generally one posted at every stop.

There are two routes from Chamonix to Les Praz - one via Les Nants (the north-west side of the valley, buses pass through Les Praz village) and one via La Frasse (the south-east side, buses pass the MBC and the Arveyron hotel). Make sure you’re at the right stop for the service you are waiting for!

Chamonix bus route map:
Chamonix bus route map


From Les Praz:

All services stop at the Flegere lift.

From Chamonix:
If the service is via Les Nants, it departs from Place du Mont Blanc.
If it’s via La Frasse, it departs from the Montenvers train station.
They take in both stops via a circuit of Chamonix before departing for Les Praz.

In winter, there’s also a night bus (Chamonuit) which runs at around midnight and costs 2 euros (not included in your lift pass)

Chamonix bus timetable (PDF)

Panorama from the Flegere lift

La Forêt May 5th, 2007



Chamonix Panoramas, originally uploaded by amazingmonkey22.

Gorgeous panoramic shot from Flegere - it’s really worth looking at the larger version, or, if you have a really big screen, the original size.
On the left are les Drus - looking completely different from this angle. The Mer de Glace glacier is in the valley, and then come the Aiguilles de Chamonix, the Aiguille du Midi and then Mont Blanc - appearing smaller than it really is from here. The base of the Index lift is on the right

Chalet La Foret

La Forêt April 14th, 2007


Chalet in the snowy twilight, December 2007

Our beautiful and traditional Savoyarde chalet, lovingly renovated. Sleeps ten in a tranquil part of Les Praz, with beautiful views all around. A hot tub has been added this year, and it has a huge garden, Wi-fi, PS2, widescreen TV with DVD as well as two smaller portable TV/DVDs. One bedroom is in a gorgeous mazot, and there’s a separate shed for skis, snowboards and bikes.
It’s usually self-catering, but catering can be arranged too.
Chalet La Foret

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