Travel △ Chamonix
Thank you Chamonix, Mont Blanc
Place to stay: Les Arolles (with views of Mont Blanc)
Friendly and helpful owners who have a lot of knowledge of the area and the mountains both on and off-piste. Rooms are basic but comfy, warm, very clean and come with balcony views and their own sink and bidet. There's a well equipped shared kitchen, bathroom, toilets and (very warm) board & ski room.
In the summer camping is also available.
Really reasonable value in the centre of Chamonix (Chamonix Sud) and a five minute walk to the buses for the slopes in ski season. We'd happily return.
Place for good coffee: La Jonction Coffee
Owned by Glen (an American from Chicago who "wanted to bring decent coffee to Chamonix), La Jonction Coffee is a great place to hang out if you need your fix and to relax/work on your laptop for some time without feeling like you might need to move on. The prices reflect the lack of competition this place has at the moment – one oat milk flat white costs 5 Euros. We went back however (unable to find coffee as good anywhere else) for breakfast and a stroke with Glen's dog, Chopper. Our vegetarian bagel breakfasts with avocado and feta (2) and coffees (2) came to 22 Euros.
Places to practice Yoga
We tried to attend a class at Ananda Yoga Studio and we'd love to recommend them but we booked for a class and then the teacher didn't show up, so we asked the Facebook group Chamonix Ski Bums for recommendations and these were the replies:
"Dina's class at 8h45 Thursday Studio 128 Les Houches"
"Acro Yoga Chamonix Sunday 7:30pm at the Chamonix college by the river, cham sud. Soooo much fun! Only €5!!!!!"
Unfortunately we didn't have time to attend the above but would definitely investigate further next time we're there. We also heard that the Spa at Les Refuge Des Aiglons, Chamonix Sud (a 3 min walk from where were staying at Les Arolles), has a weekly timetable of yoga classes.
Not far from the Tourist Office and the gorgeous Église Saint-Michel in the centre of Chamonix is Musée Cristaux. The area of Chamonix is known for its history of 'Crystal Hunters' who make their way to the 'Fours'/natural cavities in the mountainside where quartz crystals can be extracted. The museum has a fine and varied collection of crystals, rocks and minerals on display from the immediate area of Mont Blanc as well as elsewhere in the world.
We bought back two beautiful crystals to remind us of the snow-scape and inspire future winter soul pieces collections – Moss Agate (a power stone for abundance in all forms, associated with all chakras it can be used to stabilise and cleanse the aura) and Howlite (a calming stone thought to reduce anxiety and stress and aid good sleep, as well as encourage peaceful coexistence) .
All photos © Poppy Zella Reed