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Trip to Annecy, France and Chamonix - Tips and Recommendations

Hello,

I am looking for travel guidance for our trip in mid June to Annecy and Chamonix. We fly into Geneva and was planning 3 nights in Annecy and 4 nights Chamonix.

Will be with my 11 year old and this will be her first trip to Europe.
Would love some ideas on things to see and do. We plan to hike in Chamonix but an 11 year old is probably good for two days of hiking. Also looking for places to stay. I have our hotel sorted out for Annecy and have a tentative booking in Chamonix, but looking to spend a bit less than what I have booked for.

Modes of Transportation: Does anyone recommend a car for the whole trip or are there spots where public transportation makes the most sense?

Appreciate any feedback you can provide.

Posted by
5059 posts

I assume that you plan to take the cable car up ro Aiguille du Midi when in Chamonix. If so, go as early in the morning as possible to beat the crowds. There is also a very good walking path that goes along side the riv er right in town.

In Annecy, there is a great park that is perfect for a picnic. Plenty of shops have food in take away portions. There is also a boat tour of the lake that we found delightful.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you TC. We do have the cable car planned and looked to go out on the lake at some point, appreciate the help.

Posted by
74 posts

On the Eastern France tour in 2022 with two nights in Chamonix and we were blessed with absolutely perfect weather! The sun was shining and it was beautiful with temperature in the 60s and 70s (September). All the trails were open, which our guide said was the first time that had happened on a tour in a long time. We did take the gondolas up Aiguilles du Midi., lining up just after it opened for ticketing. Really glad we did because by late morning it was getting really crowded on the various levels as well as in the gondolas, both going up and back down. There is a recommendation in the RS France guidebook to go up in stages and spend time on the first platform acclimating before going further up. we did that, but probably only for 15 minutes. My friend was a hiker and left to hike back down one of the trails to the town. (She thought the trail she took was more challenging than expected for its rating ). I stayed and then started climbing up the steps to the higher platforms. Apparently, I did not wait long enough to acclimate. Halfway up first or second flight of open metal steps, I got vertigo for the first time in my life! I wasn’t going to quit so I held onto the rail and put 1 foot in front of the other, and managed to get to the next small viewing platform, however, unfortunately, that was as far as I was able to go. Missed the last bit. I went back down to the second level platform into a gift gift shop and needed 20 or 30 minutes to get back to normal.

Friends say I had mild altitude sickness. If you live at a higher elevation than flatland Texas maybe it wouldn’t bother you. But if you’re making the effort to get up that high, I strongly recommend taking it slow. it made me decide against taking the gondola over to Italy and back, which I really wanted to do. I thought everything about Chamonix was fun and I’m not a hiker. They have some nice little restaurants. Courtesy of Google maps I landed at a great place for lunch while waiting for my friend to get back down the mountain. If I find the name of it, I will post it.

This may be redundant for youbut Also be sure to have gloves. You can layer up , but you really need warm gloves on aiguilles du midi. There are very nice ones available on racks around town.I love mine and use them this winter. . I hope you have the chance to enjoy the same wonderful weather that we did.

Posted by
8230 posts

We did Chamonix Aiguille du Midi in a quick bus day trip fron Annecy. I would recommend attending closely to weather reports and booking when it looks like it will be clear. Ours was glorious but we booked the night before in order to be sure the trip was worth taking.
https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2023/03/27/quick-trip-up-the-aiquille-du-midi-chamonix/
4 days in Chamonix seems like a very long time unless you can book the cable car across to Italy and/or have hikes planned in the region.

Posted by
75 posts

In Les Houches near Chamonix there is the Parc de Merlet, a park where you walk around and there are animals native to the region to see. We (two older adults) really enjoy it - it's not like a zoo, the animals are very free. Small café on site. I think I would have loved it aged 11. I'm not sure it can be reached by public transportation but it's not far from Chamonix so a taxi would probably not be super expensive. You could easily spend a few hours there.
A fun short hike near Chamonix is up (emphasis on up) to the café called Chalet de la Floria. Very cute. Great views and pie. Not sure about when it's open (we were there in August).

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you. The park recommendation was made by some friends that went there several years ago. They loved the wild/open nature of the place and found it to be a worthwhile stop. Also considering Lauterbrunnen for the day which is about a 4 hour train ride. I imagine it is a beautiful ride.

I showed my daughter the Aiguille du Midi ride and she wants to pass, which is fine by me. Think we will do the mid line route and Mer de Glace.

Appears that most of the responses were on the RS Tours. Anyone do this trip on their own? Rail, Car, bus?

Posted by
6 posts

I've spent time in Chamonix but not Annecy. Personal preference, but I like to opt for a car (especially when driving through the mountains) in case there are one-off trips or pit stops you see along the way that you can't hit with a train.

For Chamonix, a few hikes I'd recommend below:

In case you max out on hiking, you can also take the Brévent Cable Car and sit and watch paragliders take off with great views of Mont Blanc.

As far as lodging, I'd make sure to check out Airbnb. We got accommodations for a great price when we visited.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the hiking tips and agree that a car may make sense. Easier to get one in Geneva than the small towns.

Posted by
4 posts

Annecy has a great antiques market and regular markets, check what days. The main part of the town is very pretty and walkable. Renting bikes by the lake could be fun with an 11-year-old! -We rented them once from a place called "Roule Ma Poule" ;)

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you for the tips Foxerling. looking forward to our visit there!