Ahh Chamonix. Just the mention of this lovely French Alpine resort’s name is music to the ears of skiers, hikers and weekend holidaymakers. Under the indomitable shadow of Mont Blanc, it’s one of Europe’s best-loved resorts, but apart from its spectacular natural attributes we should never forget one thing about Chamonix: it’s in France. And what do the French do best? Food!
Food Glorious Food
There’s a huge range of eateries in the resort from which to choose, but if you’ve got a discerning palate and want to experience the authentic flavours of the traditional Savoyard cuisine, go straight to the source – or is that the sauce…? Bon appétit.
Le Panier de 4 Saisons
You don’t need to be fluent in French to get the gist of this establishment just from its name. With an ethos of ‘cooking for the season’, based on ingredients from the extraordinary range of great local produce, the traditional dishes have been brought into the 21st century with the chef’s innovative culinary techniques. Pairing the semi-formal menu with quality wines from the Haute Savoie region, this ambient bistro would be just as at home in the back streets of Paris as here in the French Alps.
Dream dinner: Burgundy Snails Floating on Garlic and Butter followed by Fillet of Beef with Red Pepper Butter and Balsamic Cream, finished off with Flaming Vanilla Crème Brûlée. Oui?
Find it: 262 Rue du Dr Paccard. Tel: +33 450 53 98 77. Open seven days for dinner from 7pm.
Chic, contemporary and unmistakably French, this is a wonderful place for an intimate and very romantic meal. Specialising in fine French cuisine, le service, le food and l’atmosphere (see what I did there?) are impeccable without being stuffy. If you can, book a table on the terrace with views overlooking the river – but you’ll have to get in early to snaffle one. (Try booking before you leave home so you’re not disappointed.) This is a favourite locals’ restaurant, which speaks volumes for its quality and consistency.
Dream dinner: “Menu Savoyard” – €29.50. Mille Feuille of Eggplant with Red Pepper and Goat’s Cheese, followed by Tartiflette des Avrais with Prunes and Green Salad, finished off with Soft White Cheese with Cream and Raspberry Sauce. Ooh la la.
Find it: 123 Place Balmat. Tel: +33 450 55 9797.
L’Auberge du Bois Prin
There’s a risk you’ll forget to concentrate on the food here as you’ll be so dazzled by the spectacular looming vista of Mont Blanc, but do try. Situated above Chamonix, in Les Moussoux, it’s worth making the trip to experience this genuine undiscovered gem. All the vegetables and herbs are grown on site by the chef/gardener, and if you eat too much at lunch you can book in for the night at the 4-star hotel – which will give you a chance to sample the dinner menu too! Dining out on the terrace is a sublime experience and an unbeatable photographic opportunity! A votre santé! Dream lunch: Duck Fois Gras with Floral Salad, followed by Sea Bream with Vanilla Butter, Apple and Celery Mousseline, finished up with cheeses from Savoy and Franche-Comte. Magnifique!
Find it: 69 Chemin de l’Hermine. Tel: +33 4 50 53 33 51. Open seven days for lunch and dinner.
The perfect fusion of traditional and contemporary, Chez Constant takes the time-honoured techniques and ingredients of Savoyard cuisine and mixes them up with a good helping of modern-day innovation. With a menu heavy on rich, hearty French comfort food, the dishes are presented eloquently and creatively by the friendly and very well-trained staff. While it’s not cheap by any means, the food is authentic all the way and one of the best examples of ‘modern Savoyard’ in Chamonix.
Dream dinner: Pumpkin Soup with Jerusalem Artichoke Chips, followed by Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin with Beaufort Cheese and Pan Fried Gnocchi, finished up with a signature Creme Brûlée. Superbe!
Find it: 24 Avenue Ravanel le Rouge. Tel: +33 4 50 53 96 74. Open seven days for lunch and dinner.
And That’s Not All…
It would be impossible name and fame every great restaurant in the resort, but along with the ones above, here are a few more locals’ tips. Shhhh.
- La Telecabine
- La Cabane, in Les Praz
- Brasserie L’M,
- Hameau de Albert Premier (two Michelin-starred)
- La Maison Carrier
- Le Lapin Agile
- Le Caveau
- Pizzeria des Moulins
Don’t forget to pack your appetite in your weekend holdall…
How to Get to Chamonix
The most convenient way to get there is with a direct flight from the UK to Geneva Airport. Budget carrier flights from from London Heathrow or Gatwick start from as little as £28 with easyJet. A direct flight from London Gatwick to Geneva will have you on the ground in 90 minutes, and the fastest way to get the rest of the way to Chamonix is with one of Shuttle Direct’s prebooked shared or private services to the resort. In just over an hour after you land you can be out on the slopes skiing – or in a restaurant having lunch!
For those who have a little longer, you can also travel by train on a very picturesque journey to the French Alps. Eurostar to Paris connects to regional services to Bourg-St. Maurice or St-Gervais-les-Bains, and a Shuttle Direct transfer can meet you at the train station to take you the rest of the way.
Where to Stay
Pierre & Vacances Premium La Ginabelle – Under the shadow of magnificent Mont Blanc in the heart of the resort, the Pierre & Vacances Premium La Ginabelle affords you traditional Alpine accommodation with all the mod-cons. You’ll be able to walk to the centre or explore further afield on the mini train or cable car, or simply stay onsite and lap up the facilities like the heated pool, free Wi-Fi, sauna, hammams and spacious, stylish apartments.
Les Aiglons Resort & Spa – Pamper yourself to your heart’s content in the surrounds of Les Aiglons Resort & Spa. Take advantage of the resort’s fantastic central location to sample the town’s best restaurants every evening, or stay on site and dine on the innovative cuisine of “Le A” restaurant. There’s a host of wellness facilities, including heated outdoor pool, saunas, steam room and massage and beauty treatments, as well as free Wi-Fi, contemporary décor and views to die for.
Hotel du Clocher – Cute, cosy and brimming with traditional character, the Hotel du Clocher is a secret gem in the heart of the town that won’t break the holiday budget. Dine in the onsite restaurant, immerse in the traditional décor and ambience, soak up the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, or take a stroll to explore the shops, bars and restaurants on your doorstep.
About Shuttle Direct
Book your onward travel arrangements with Shuttle Direct and you’ll be dealing with the number one provider of airport, cruise terminal and train station transfers in Europe and North Africa. Prebook a shared or private service via our user-friendly online system and you’ll pay a fixed price to the destination of your choice. Shuttle Direct’s extensive range of transfers is fast, friendly and always cost effective.