Families in Chamonix
While Chamonix’s extreme terrain and disjointed layout don’t appear to make it the obvious choice for a family holiday, the resort does have a lot to offer those who want to take the whole family to experience one of the world’s best loved ski towns.
Family Friendly Accommodation
Chamonix has plenty of family friendly accommodation to choose from. While there’s not really any ski in/ski out accommodation in Chamonix itself, Les Balcons du Savoy offers the next best thing by being only 100m from the beginners’ area at Le Savoy and lifts to Brévent. You can also ski down to the back door, which makes it even more convenient. The residence itself has large, spacious apartments and superb facilities including a pool and games room.
La Ginabelle Pierre & Vacance Premium apartments are also an excellent choice for families. They occupy a prime location only 500 metres from the beginners’ ski area at Les Planards, and a few minutes walk to the centre of town. The residence is also right opposite the train station and bus stop for the resort shuttle, so you’ll have no issues ferrying your little ones around. The apartments are large, comfortable and well equipped, and the property boasts fantastic facilities including swimming pool, spa and gym. There’s even a range of board games and a kid's play corner to keep the whole family entertained.
Beginners Ski Areas
While you might not want to take your kids to the top of Les Grands Montets to make their first turns, Chamonix does have plenty of gentle slopes that are perfect for kids and beginners. Most of the ski areas have easier slopes towards the bottom but the best areas for those starting out are Les Planards and Le Savoy, both of which are easily accessible from Chamonix town.
Les Planards is the biggest of the two areas and is located in the lower end of town, opposite the Montenvers funiculaire station and only 500 metres from La Ginabelle Apartments. The area has two drag lifts on a green run and a two-man chairlift that accesses a blue and a red run.
Le Savoy is at the top end of town and right next to Les Balcons du Savoy apartments. It’s a smaller area than Les Planards with two drag lifts that access a large open area where first timers can find their feet, as well as a longer green slope. The Chamonix-Planpraz gondola, which accesses the much larger and more advanced area of Le Brévent, departs from the top of Le Savoy, which means that groups of mixed ability can ski in the same area and meet up at the bottom.
Ski School and Childcare
There’s a wide range of ski school and childcare options in Chamonix. The ESF runs Piou Piou children’s clubs at both Le Savoy and Les Planards beginners’ ski areas, where highly qualified instructors will introduce kids from the age of 3 to the joys of skiing in its “snow gardens” and dedicated kids’ ski areas.
There are also plenty of independent nanny and babysitting services to choose from. Chamonix Nannies (+44(0) 7860 925055) offers flexible childcare for babies and children from age 4 weeks to 14 years. Baby-Cham (+33 645 018 639 or email@example.com) is the longest running babysitting agency in the resort, and aim to pair parents and children with the perfect babysitter.
If you want to give your kids a break from snow based activities, book them in for arts and crafts focused childcare at Le Petit VIP Kids’ Club (+33 (0) 6 78 22 59 35) in Chamonix Sud. They take kids from the age of 3 for slots of a minimum of two hours. The same company also runs Le Petit Didi Dance classes, which are aimed at under 4s. The 45 minute sessions involve singing, clapping, jumping and moving along to French and English songs and nursery rhymes, and will entertain, exercise and educate your little ones.
Activities for Kids
Family friendly accommodation options such as La Ginabelle Apartments and Les Balcons du Savoy have pools that are ideal for letting your kids splash around in. However, none are as good as the indoor pool at the Richard Bozon Sports Centre. This fantastic amenity has a 25 metre pool and a separate children’s pool with a waterfall, water jets, river rapids and a 130 meter long covered water slide.
The sports centre also has an Olympic size indoor ice skating rink as well as a slightly smaller outdoor one.
Indoor climbing wall
There’s also a large indoor climbing wall at the sports centre that’s suitable for kids from the age of 6. Children from ages 6 to 10 must climb with a qualified guide, and older kids aged 10 to 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Photo: Joëlle Bozen