The local transportation system does give relatively easy access to each of the valley ski areas, although things can get pretty crowded at the start/end of the day and particularly during the winter high season. Due to the spread of the resort a car can be very useful if your accommodation is not on the main bus or train routes, when the likelihood of having your own private parking is also greater.
Chamonix has a regular fare-paying bus service run by Chamonix Bus, that circulates from approximately 7:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. everyday, up and down the valley. This is free with your lift-pass or carte d'hote (tourist card) and you can find copies of the latest timetables in our Bus & Train Timetables section below. There is also free shuttle service that runs around Chamonix town centre called Le Mulet. This service was named after the mules which were once used in the valley to transport visitors to and from the scenic attractions. The new motorised versions run circuits around Chamonix centre where the large buses can no longer pass due to pedestrianisation schemes and a general trend towards removing diesel fumes from the streets of the resort. The Mulets have connection points to the main bus service that continues up and down the valley to the main lift areas and villages.
There is a regular train service operated by the SNCF along the valley floor (and beyond into Switzerland if you want a scenic trip) from early morning until the evening.
Bus Timetables for Chamonix Valley
Getting to Chamonix and around the valley is easy. Shared transport is the way forwards for the planet, and with the centre of Chamonix being pedestrianised, with the ring road often busy, your own car is often slower. Valley-long transportation options consist of the main buses and the train, and there is an in-town hop-on, hop-off free bus service (Le Mulet) which uses low pollution engines. And to be really carbon friendly - walk!
In 1997, the villages of Chamonix, Les Houches, Servoz and Vallorcine established a Guest Card system, whereby every visitor to the area is given a card on arrival. The normal method is to ask at your hotel reception, or request one from your chalet/apartment provider.
The card is valid in summer and winter (for the duration of your stay) and entitles you to free travel on the buses and trains between these resorts (with the exception of the Chamo’nuit night bus). If you wish to take the train all the way through to Martigny in Switzerland (which is well worth it) or down to Le Fayet and St Gervais, you just need to pay the difference from Vallorcine or Servoz.
The Guest Card also entitles you to various discounts throughout the valley, such as discounted entry to the swimming pool, Alpine Museum, cross country skiing and more. So, ask for one at the Tourist Offices of Chamonix, Les Houches, Servoz and Vallorcine if you do not receive one when you check into your accommodation.