Chamonix is starting to emerge from it’s interseason hibernation; bars are reopening, Christmas lights are being up and a buzz is returning to the streets in anticipation of winter.
2nd December - Wine Tasting with Le Verre Gourmand
Stock up on your festive cheer this weekend at the Chambre Neuf wine tasting event. The good folks from Le Verre Gourmand will be there from 4pm onwards, showcasing their mouth-wateringly delicious range of wine and craft beers. From easy quaffers to New World discoveries and funky craft beer, they've got something for everyone so give it a try and discover your new favourite tipple.
Wine Tasting with Le Verre Gourmand
2nd December - Munster Bar Opening Party
Live music from Titus Pollo and tempting offers on happy hour drinks at the reopening of our favourite Irish bar. You’ll get a warm welcome from 8pm onwards and many nights of live music and parties throughout the rest of the winter.
Munster Bar Opening Party
3rd December - Christmas Market at Le Vert
The festive season kicks off this weekend with the first of the Christmas markets. Jingle your bells all the way to Le Vert to find a treasure trove of gifts and comestibles from local artists, bakers and crafters. Surprise loved ones with handmade gifts, unique stocking fillers and tasty treats. The bar will be open serving the vin chaud, festive drinks and mince pies from 2pm to 6pm.
Christmas Market at Le Vert
6th December - Avalanche Awareness Academy
Learn how to stay safe in the mountains this winter with free lectures on avalanche awareness from a fully qualified Chamonix mountain guide. Starting this week, they’ll be running every Tuesday throughout the winter season at Bighorn Bistro in Chamonix Sud. Tickets are free but places are limited, so remember to book in advance. This is a night out that could save your life.
Avalanche Awareness Academy
9th December - Grolle & Ski Festival
Celebrate the absurd during three days of live performances, music and films in Les Houches. Spread across various venues from the 9th to 11th December, the festival is predominantly in French but the humour is evident in many of the events.
Grolle & Ski Festival
10th December - Nordic Monster Test
If you’ve never tried cross-country skiing, then this is your chance to give it a whirl. The Chamonix ski de fond club, in collaboration with Ravanel Sports, are hosting their annual demo day when you can try the latest equipment, learn how to wax skis, have a free cross-country ski lesson and be in with a chance of winning some goodies. There’s always a very friendly atmosphere, with crepes and vin chaud to warm your cockles. Gather at the Chalet de Fond (behind the sports centre, opposite MBC) from 10am to join in the fun.
Nordic Monster Test
11th December - Mont Blanc Ski Challenge
This ski touring race is open to anyone who wants to give it a go - there are three courses to choose from ranging from 450m to 1400m. Taking place on the slopes of Le Tour, the Mont Blanc Ski Challenge is a very welcoming event where competitors and non-competitors alike can check out the latest ski touring gear and tuck into some tasty grub from the stands at the bottom of the slopes. There are also prizes to won for taking part, and for entering in the tombola. Online registration is now closed for the three races but you can sign up in person on the day from 9am to 10:30am.
Mont Blanc Ski Challenge
10th December - Hallelujah Chambelles
The lovely ladies of the Chambelles choir are back with another night of songs and laughter. This time, they want you to get involved by joining in their workshop and learning how to sing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus together. No previous experience or X-Factor audition required, just a willingness to give it a go with a friendly bunch of warblers. Find them at the Eglise Reformée (church opposite the main train station) from 11am to 4pm.
11th December - Christmas Choral Concert
The Choeur du Prieuré de Chamonix invite you to embrace the spirit of Christmas with them at a special concert from 6pm to 8pm at the Église Saint Michel (church beside the tourist office). A choir of around 40 people will be performing pieces by Ola Gjeilo, Antonio Lotti, Mack Wilberg, amongst others.
Christmas Choral Concert
15th December - Chambelles Christmas Cabaret
The Chambelles ladies choir is back with another sparkling evening of sequins and song; this time in the glitzy setting of Les Caves on Rue des Moulins. Entry is just 4€ and all proceeds go to support the Jhamtse Gatsal Orphanage in India. It's a great night out and you're bound to know a few songs to sing along to; the fun starts from 7pm but we advise getting there early to nab a seat, as it’s always a popular evening.
Chambelles Christmas Cabaret
16th December - Chamonix Christmas Village
The town is already starting to look quite Christmassy, but wait until the 16th when all the lights are switched on and the centre is transformed into an open-air market place. The smell of chocolate crepes and mulled wine will draw you into a little labyrinth of craft stalls and festive entertainments. A little sprinkling of snow will complete the Christmas magic!
Chamonix Christmas Village
18th December - Open Air Ice Skating
Enjoy skating under the stars every Wednesday and Friday from 18th December onwards at the outdoor ice rink in Les Houches. Entry is free of charge, you just have to pay for skate hire (approx 3.50€) if you don’t have your own. The rink is floodlit and there is often music playing, with hot drinks and snacks available. Open from 4pm, you’ll find the ice rink on the main road in Les Houches just opposite the exit toward the train station and the motorway.
Open Air Ice Skating
19th December - Chambelles Christmas Carol Concert
Those Chambelles are at it again with another wonderful evening of Christmas cheer and festive fun. Come along to the Eglise Reformée (church opposite the main train station) from 6pm to hear their take on all the classic Christmas carols, followed by mince pies and mulled wine. Entry is free but any donations will be welcomed and give to their chosen charity. Again, get there early otherwise it’s standing room only!
Chambelles Christmas Carol Concert
21st December - Torchlit Ski Descent
This annual tradition is a magical sight; a twinkling chain of lights flowing down the mountain under the night sky. ESF Chamonix welcome you to join them at various venues over the next couple of weeks, to watch the performance and celebrate with a cup of mulled wine. Completely free to watch and suitable for all ages, this is a memorable way to spend an evening.
ESF Chamonix Torchlit Ski Descent
23rd December - Ice Hockey Match
Give Chamonix your biggest cheer as they take to the ice and battle it out against Morzine. Rink-side tiered seating and a few drinks from the bar make this a fun night out with plenty of full-contact action. Games start at 8:30pm, giving you time to grab something to eat beforehand.
Chamonix Ice Hockey Match
23rd December - Paret Sledging
Test your balance (and your nerves) on a traditional wooden “paret” - a sledge that you perch astride and steer using your body weight and feet. Starting at the end of December, it takes places every Friday in Les Houches, just sign up at the tourist office 24 hours in advance to have a go - it’s great fun and a brilliant way to end the day!
Paret Sleding in Les Houches
Markets are held every Saturday in Chamonix and Vallorcine, offering local produce and crafts. As well as being a great place to practise your French, they’re also full of quirky items and delicious morsels that make wonderful Christmas gifts.
We’ll be doing a separate round-up of where to eat, drink and party over the Christmas and New Year period so watch this space over the next couple of weeks to find out what’s happening where. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our Chamonix Events Calendar for all the unmissable dates for your diary.