Summer in Chamonix
12th July 2010
There’s adventure sport, fantastic cuisine, relaxation, film festivals, music festivals and much more. There’s plenty on offer in the summer with holidays in the Chamonix Valley growing in popularity. See why in this PlanetSKI sponsored feature.
There is, quite literally, something for everyone.
At one end of the spectrum are the adrenalin sports Chamonix is renowned for; climbing, mountain biking, paraponting, kayaking and hiking.
Some even go BASE jumping and wing-suit flying.
For something less challenging you can visit a goat farm, take a guided walk round town and hear about the history of one of the most famous mountain towns in the world or just sit at one the pavement cafes and watch the world go by.
Whatever you get up to in the Chamonix Valley you will feel fitter, healthier and more relaxed at the end of it.
This summer Chamonix is making a huge effort to host a series of wide-ranging events to please its growing number of visitors.
The number of people in the valley grows from 14,000 to 110,000 and with all the events going on it’s easy to see why.
Earlier this month there was The International Climbing Festival that, for the past 12 years, has attracted some of the best climbers in the world and now around 15,000 spectators too.
It really is quite an event.
It ended this week with a spectacular firework display on July14th, Bastille Day.
NISSAN OUTDOOR GAMES
Also earlier in July officials managed to persuade Nissan to hold it’s renowned “Outdoor Games” at the resort, the first time it has been held in Chamonix, and we had a separate piece all about it here on PlanetSKI.
It’s all about filming, adventure sports and competition.
For more details see here.
JAZZ ON HIGH
This week, from Tuesday 27th July, is something new and really exciting; The Cosmo Jazz Festival.
It is a unique musical event as local musician, Andre Manoukian, has organised a festival in some of the most spectacular of out door settings.
Near the top of the Aiguille du Midi is a ridge known as the Arete des Cosmiques and musicians will be performing in its spectacular location.
There are other spectacular settings too.
Later in the day events will be held round town and then, as night falls, the Jam de Cham jam sessions get underway until the wee small hours.
“Authentic, intense and rare roots music with the world’s finest music in the most beautiful of all natural showcases,” says a statement from the organisers.
The line up of musical talent is amazing and for more information see here.
To us here at PlanetSKI is sounds like a brilliant event. It’s on from July 27th – 29th and it’s free though you will need a lift ticket to access the events up in the mountains.
FANCY RUNNING 4 MARATHONS BACK TO BACK?
Or perhaps just watching others do it, especially as it is at high altiude.
Chamonix hosts the world-famous, North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc on 24th August.
It is the hardest and toughest event in the world of trail running.
It covers 166km and crosses 10 passes over 2,000m with a vertical climb of 9,400m as it weaves through France, Italy and Switzerland.
It is the equivalent of 4 marathons back-back and all done at lung bursting altitude and within 46 hours.
It is the reference point in world mountain running.
All the runners and volunteers take part for no financial gain; rather just for a love of high-altitude trail running.
The race also has a strong emphasis on the environment, sustainable development and medical research.
There is a tough criteria to enter and all runners have to keep up to certain time limits or they have to withdraw.
For the viewing public it is an amazing spectacle and well worth watching.
There are many other top level running and trail events taking place in Chamonix through the summer months, see the Chamonix web site for further details.
MUSIC IN THE MOUNTAINS
In addition to the Cosmo Jazz Festival mentioned above there is the MusicAltitude Festival from 8th – 12th August.
It is 3 soirees of hilarious musical entertainment as Raphaelle Farman and Jacques Gay tell the story of mankind from Prehistroic times via open air operas and musical comedies.
There is also a showing of some wonderful silent films to make you smile, laugh and reflect and the first filmed ascent of Mont Blanc.
Oh, and there’s also a giant lyrical karaoke.
Also running through the summer, and starting this weekend, is The Festival des Heures d’Orgue.
The first summer organ festival took place in 1995 and it has become one of the summer highlights with Sunday performances at the Eglise St Michel.
If you have never heard an organ in full flight then this is a must.
THERE’S A FILM FESTIVAL TOO
It is not quite like the Sundance Festival over in the US ski resort of Park City with Hollywood Stars.
This one is dedicated to short films featuring adventure and environmental themes.
It was created in 2004 by enthusiasts from Boulder in Colorado and has expanded over to the event in Chamonix as well as a festival in Santiago, Chile.
It reviews over 200 films and there are some real gems in there including a film about a Bangladesh Surf Club that creates a community through surfing and an arborist in Oregon who climbs trees and lives out his philosophy on the role of trees in culture.
There’s also the recovered footage of the fatal climb of Mt Edgar’s eastern face.
THE FETE DES GUIDES
Last in this feature on what is going on over the summer months is one of the oldest and most traditional; The Fete des Guides de Chamonix.
It is now in its 86th year and includes sons et lumieres, concerts and a traditional ceremony.
More than that though, The Guides Festival continues the traditions of the most famous guiding organisation in the world and shows that the guides and their clients have bonds together that go beyond just a rope.
It takes place on August 15th and is a huge draw.
So, who says there is nothing much to do in the mountains in the summer?
In Chamonix it is non-stop. For a full list of activities then see here.
And here is the main Chamonix web site with full details of the resort.
This report is a Sponsored Feature written in co-operation with The Chamonix Tourist Office.