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Mont Blanc Top 5 Things to Do if You are Not Skiing

There is so much to do in Mont Blanc even if you don’t ski. During the Christmas season, enjoy warm meals and great fun.

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France – Easy Planning Tips

Flying into France, you’ll probably at least start in Paris, so spend a couple of days here before you move on. Here’s a few Paris tours that will ensure you’ve ticked off the most important sites:

Hop On Hop Off Tour Of Paris ($40)

Visit the Louvre and Take a Seine Cruise ($45)

Day Trip to the Palace of Versailles incl. Lunch ($80)

If you like doing it on your own, you may want to save money with the Paris Pass (good for transport and sightseeing for 2-6 days).

Where to Stay? There are so many great hotels in France and we love using for the ease of comparison and finding exactly what we want.

Some items you do not want to forget while packing for your France trip:
Sunglasses and sunscreen
– A rain jacket and umbrella
Memory Cards for your camera


So yeah, we’re living in Germany, and it is a Christmasy kind of place.  For over a month, we’ve been inundated with Christmas markets, mulled wine, gorgeous wooden ornaments, and the like.  Now all we needed was some snow.  It has been raining off and on for two weeks here, so we decided to drive south to Mont Blanc in France.  As I’ve said before, with the kids all grown up, we have new Christmas traditions to keep alive.  One of them is to do something really fun on Christmas day, and who won’t agree that skiing Mont Blanc is totally fun?!!

We actually skied Les Houches since we are a bit rusty, and the slopes of Chamonix looked frightening!  We haven’t really skied regularly since we lived in northern Japan, but it is like riding a bike, right?  At any rate, we couldn’t have asked for a better skiing area, at the top of the mountain, there was a veritable playground of small lifts and runs…just perfect for me, the wimp.  Jim tried a lot more, but I was content to take it slow.

You can, of course, ski on Mont Blanc.
We did do some skiing on Mont Blanc, but we decided to find other things to do after we got scared on the steep runs.

Now the thing is, one day was enough for me, and I knew this going into to it, so my goal was to have a wintery good time without overdoing the skiing bit, and here’s what I came up with.

A beautiful house in Chamonix.


A beautiful house in Chamonix.

Top Things to do in Chamonix

1.  Sit in front of a fire and read a good book.  This is what I did the whole first day that the rest of the family went skiing.  I just needed a day off, time to relax.  Quiet time.  Oh how it felt so good.  Luckily, the restaurants and hotels, and hang out places throughout the region usually do it up with a great fire.  I just had to go downstairs in my hotel (Auberge de Beau Site) for some heat therapy.  The whole family repeated this with me in the evening of Christmas day as we sat around and played all kinds of board games while sipping the local bière and Le Chocolat Chaud Ancienne (Hot Chocolate with whipped cream, but since it sounds so cool, can’t possibly have all the calories, right?)

The Chamonix valley at sunset.


A gorgeous sunset on the valley and town of Chamonix.

2. Eat Fondue, Raclette, Tartlilette,  or any other Savoyarde food.  This is the one I did, well, non-stop.  You just can’t help yourself.  I had my first ever real fondue, not the melt the chocolate and dip strawberries kind, but the real white wine and some cheeses kind.  I have no idea what cheese was used in ours, but really does it matter?  Oh, was it ever good!

Fondue dinner in France.


Fondue, it’s what’s for dinner.

We didn’t just eat cheese, although, I’m not sure if my body really believes that or not, because we had it a lot!  But we had one traditional French “mountain” breakfast which consisted of the most dense baguette I’ve ever had, eggs, musli, yogurt, bacon (which is almost as ubiquitous as cheese anyway) and bowls of coffee.  It was just the perfect feast for traipsing around the mountaintops for a day.

It seems all Savoyarde food is hearty.  They had to eat something rather substantial to keep them going.  We had hearty meat, like sausages, pork chops, beef cheek stew.  We had hearty potatoes, with more hearty cheese.  We had hearty wines to go with it all.  It’s going to take me the whole first quarter of 2013 to work this off, I tell you…

Families sledding under the mountains in Chamonix.


Families sledding under the mountains in Chamonix.

3. Ice skate or Sled – I couldn’t believe how many places in the Mont Blanc area had organized hills for sledding.  Sleds were everywhere.  Even on top of Mont Blanc, an area was cordoned off for the sledders.  The sledders!  Of course, Erika almost bought it on one of the fence posts, but like my Hong Kong taxi story, fence posts will think twice before tangling with her.  (Like mother, like daughter, they say.)

I only saw one small ice rink, but if you didn’t have to rent their skates, it was free!  You can’t beat that.  It was in the small town we stayed in and there were so many families with small children just outside enjoying the hills.  It had a tiny rope tow for beginner skiing, a sledding hill, and an ice rink, all right there.

A misty chapel in the middle of the street.


A misty chapel in the middle of the street.

4. Take one of the gondolas up the mountain just to walk around and take photos, or get a coffee with a view, and some great people watching.  You just don’t realize how funny you look trying to grace your way off the tow rope and down the slope until you’ve watched plenty of other people botch it up.  Yep, I must look really funny….hmmm.  But really, it’s so freeing to ride the lift to the top of the mountain, meander around, take photo after photo and marvel at the skill of some people, the perseverance of others, and the majesty of of it all.  I highly recommend you try it.

Christmas decorations in Chamonix, France.


Christmas decorations in Chamonix, France.

5. Shop – Local products abound, like the wines, sausage, and cheeses.  Mmmm.  I could spend hours translating what was in the sausages, let alone taste them.  We tried sausages with cheese, pork sausage, beef sausage, olive sausage.  At one of the restaurants, they served us sausage as their “amuse bouche”…um yeah!  My bouche and my brain was amused, I must say.  And I’ve already lauded the ample supply of cheese, cheese, cheese.  I didn’t trust myself.  I wanted to bring them all home.

You can, by the way, shop for more than food.  One thing I always look for when traveling is a t-shirt in that language.  Have you ever noticed that so many t-shirts are in English, no matter where you are?  What is up with that?  Luckily, though, in France they love their language and there were plenty of mugs and t-shirts sporting it.   So even for someone like me, who is not really into shopping, Mont Blanc was tempting…tempting I tell you.

Corinne with horsecart in Chamonix.


You can easily hire this festive horse cart for a ride around Chamonix.

More Articles on Having Fun in Winter:
Best Places To Visit Europe In Winter
Top 25 Things to Do in Bergen in Winter
Winter-y Things to do in Titlis, Switzerland

Christmas decorations in Chamonix, France.


Christmas decorations in Chamonix, France.


I don’t think we could have asked for a more Christmasy Christmas.  Les Houches delivered.  We even greeted St. Nick as he rode in on his horse-drawn sleigh with what?  You guess it, some more mulled wine and cheese! Don’t miss Chamonix for a wintry extravaganza.

Our hotel in Les Houches, France.

Agness of Fit Travelling

Wednesday 14th of June 2017

These ideas are awesome, Corinne! Your posts are always a great read!

Corinne Vail

Thursday 15th of June 2017

Thanks Agness!


Friday 6th of November 2015

Ooh I love Raclette and Fondue!And you must have had a great time in Mont Blanc for sure! I don't know how to ski, but am thinking of taking some introductory sessions:)

Corinne Vail

Monday 9th of November 2015

Menorca, I dream of raclette. It's one of my favorite dishes. How can you go wrong with potatoes and cheese?

Christy Swagerty

Friday 6th of November 2015

And now, I'm totally ready for Christmas! Great post! That Savoyarde food is SO GOOD!!!

Corinne Vail

Friday 6th of November 2015

Christy, It really is! I love me some fondue!


Friday 6th of November 2015

I love everything about this post! My favorite season is winter, I adore snow and my birthday is New Year's Eve but despite living in France, I've never been to the Alps. My brother-in-law's family goes to ski every year so maybe I'll have to tag along to do all 5 things on your list. They're right up my alley. Cozying up by a fire sounds good right about now. ;-) #allaboutfrance

Corinne Vail

Friday 6th of November 2015

Diane, It's my absolute favorite thing to do! Get a book and a roaring fire, maybe a glass of is good!

Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

Thursday 5th of November 2015

Yes to all of this. I love skiing but I find I don't need to do full days any more and I'm more than happy to do all the other stuff that goes along with a fun holiday in a ski resort. Especially the eating and drinking side of it!!

Corinne Vail

Thursday 5th of November 2015

Phoebe, It's all about the fondue!