Pictures or it didn’t happen!
Whether it’s your first time or your fifteenth visit to the foot of Mont Blanc, you will never fail to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscapes and panoramas at every turn – from the town centre to the tops of the mountains. Those snow-capped peaks still even take away the breath of the locals and are super photogenic for all your social media holiday bragging with your photography in Chamonix.
Start at the squares in Chamonix centre, where you can admire the views just as Jacques Balmat and Docteur Paccard did before they set out for the first ascent of Europe’s highest mountain in 1786. The statue of Balmat is found in the square which now bears his name, with his finger pointing at that mystical peak. Enjoy the view from Atelier café or La Terrasse and take your first stabs at photography in Chamonix from here.
From the town centre, it’s easy to access most of these viewpoints by cable car with minimal effort so you can concentrate on your photography in Chamonix when you get to the top. In summer, the Mont Blanc Multipass will allow you to be whisked up to altitude, while in winter the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass covers all of the below including the Aiguille du Midi and Montenvers train.
Otherwise you can access the views which will be literally breathtaking via some well-signposted hikes from the town centre. Read on for some of the best viewpoints to explore during your stay in Chamonix valley.
Top viewpoints for photography in Chamonix
MONTENVERS – MER DE GLACE
The retro cog train takes you from the centre of Chamonix up to 1,913m overlooking the Mer de Glace (sea of ice) – France’s largest glacier and a visual witness to the changing climate of the last 100 years. Take the steps down to the ice cave to see the markers of where the glacier used to reach, and enjoy the spectacular panorama which takes in the Mer de Glace, the Drus and the Grandes Jorasses. Are your skills for photography in Chamonix up to capturing the Forbes bands which mark the years of the glacier like rings of a tree?
AIGUILLE DU MIDI / STEP INTO THE VOID
Leaving from Chamonix Sud, the Aiguille du Midi cable car offers an uninterrupted view over the Chamonix valley and the surrounding peaks. Take the cable car up to 3,777m and enjoy the terrasses located around the summit for a 360° view over the French, Swiss and Italian Alps.
For true thrills, keep going up to the top terrace at 3,842m and experience the “Step Into The Void“. This glass box has plunging views down over 1,000m, so you’ll need nerves of steel to look down!
From the top of the Aiguille du Midi, don’t miss out on the opportunity to journey across the Glacier du Géant, landing in Italy on the Pointe Helbronner. From June to September, the cable car carries you suspended above seracs and crevasses. You can add the ticket to your lift pass for less than 30€, and it’s well worth it to be transported into this world of ice for a non-stop 50 minute journey.
Brévent faces due south and offers direct, uninterrupted views of the Mont Blanc massif, taking in the Aiguille du Midi and the Dôme du Goûter among many others. It’s the perfect place to correct the perspective which shows the Goûter as being higher than the Mont Blanc when you look up from the town centre! Take snaps from here and compare them with your photos from the town centre – can you match up the peaks?
From Planpraz, set off on a hike to Flégère along the Grand Balcon Sud, enjoying stunning views all the way, or just enjoy one of the sunny terraces at the mid-station or at the top.
From Chamonix’s neighbouring village of Les Praz, enjoy the view as you fly over the golf course up to 1,877m. From the mid-station, discover the unbeatable panorama from Flégère which takes in the Drus and the Mer de Glace or set off on some great hikes to some beautiful mountain lakes.
DOMAINE DE BALME – LE TOUR
At the top of the Chamonix valley, enjoy the beautiful natural pastures of the Balme, reaching up to 2,270m. In summer, there are many hikes accessible to all levels, and in winter the slopes give plunging views back down the Chamonix valley. You’ll be sure to recognise the panorama from some of Charlie Adam’s paintings which decorate the walls of Chamonix’s trendiest bars and restaurants.
LES GRANDS MONTETS
Soaring above the village of Argentière, the cable cars of the Grands Montets area take you quickly into a wild, high mountain landscape. From the different vantage points, take in exceptional views of the Argentière glacier, the Drus, the Aiguilles Rouges and Mont Blanc itself. One of the most accessible glacier viewpoints – where you can really test your skills for photography in Chamonix – is a 45 minute walk from the Lognan mid-station. Sit here long enough contemplating the ice face and seracs which are only metres away from you, and you might even see some tumbling chunks of glacier.
GLACIER DES BOSSONS
Leaving from Les Bossons, this rickety old chairlift will transport you back in time, and up to heights of 1,425m. From the top of the chair, it’s just a short walk to the chalet for refreshments and initial views of the Bossons glacier, or wander further along the path to get up close and personal, and to admire the seracs on the Plateau des Pyramides. Alternatively, walk up from the town centre, passing the plunging Cascade du Dard and their tempting snack hut to the viewpoint on the other side of the glacier.
LES PETITS BALCONS
The petits balcons or little balconies are only slightly elevated above Chamonix (a few hundred metres), for a perfect Goldilocks mix between shaded forest walks and viewpoints looking out over the bottom of the valley. These paths run the length of the valley – follow signs for the petits balcons Nord or Sud for some perfect opportunities to practise your photography in Chamonix.
Make the most of Chamonix’s viewpoints
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated Resort Team on email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (+33 4 81 68 01 04) if you need any more information about how to access the different sites or how to book your ski pass or summer lift pass to reach these heights.
If you’re serious about photography in Chamonix, speak to us about arranging a guided walk with an experienced local too. Theresa Kaufman is an American who’s lived in Chamonix for many years and knows the valley like the back of her hand. She’ll take you beyond the classic viewpoints above, to spots that you’d never find without her expert knowledge.
Don’t forget to tag the evidence of your efforts at photography in Chamonix with #welovechamonix to help us share the Chamonix experience, and share them with us on Instagram.