Chamonix has more eateries than you could possibly try in a season (we know, we’ve tried), with plenty of choices to suit all tastes. Here are our favourite cafés and coffee shops, perfect for warming up with a chocolat chaud on a snowy day.
Right opposite the Aiguille du Midi lift station, this tiny little café is popular with locals for their homemade flapjacks, “proper” bacon butties and freshly made sarnies. This winter Bluebird Café has expanded their menu to include breakfast burritos, burgers, pancakes and loads of other tasty breakfast and lunch options. They’re also one of the few cafés in town to offer soy milk or, for that matter, Irn Bru. Definitely worth popping in if you’re facing a long wait to get up the Aiguille du Midi.
While it might be a bit tight on seating space, Hibou Deli does great takeaway options. As well as delicious hot pots, wraps, salads and pies they also do some pretty tempting cupcakes, tray bakes and cheese cakes - all freshly made in-house and washed down with good speciality coffee.
L’Epicerie du Midi
Tucked away beneath the Aiguille du Midi lift station is L'Epicerie du Midi, a lovely café and delicatessen serving freshly made soups and delicious wraps, alongside less virtuous options such as cookies and muffins. They aim to use locally grown seasonal produce where possible and have a more interesting range of sandwiches than the usual bakeries. The retro-chic style is also a nice change from the usual Alpine décor.
Renowned for it’s thicker-than-soup hot chocolate and the best coffee in town, it comes as no surprise to find that the Lapin Agile is Italian-owned. Other things that we love about this charming little place are the free nibbles that are laid out on the bar every night, the super cosy interior, and the warm welcome. They also do fantastic lunches and have a very interesting wine list - perfect for holing up in on a bad weather day.
For pure indulgence, head to Le Gouthé on Rue des Moulins and tuck into their delicious cakes, pastries and tarts. Everything is made in-house, from their flaky buttery pastries to their thick rich hot chocolate. Anywhere that specialises in chocolate gets our vote.
L’Atelier is a great choice for sunny afternoons when you can sit out on their large terrace in the centre of Chamonix and watch the world go by. They do a good range of various teas, infusions, coffees and hot chocolates as well as mezze platters, bagels and the curiosity that is the cronut (a cross between a croissant and a doughnut, in case you were wondering).
Once you’ve run the gauntlet of all the not-so-healthy bars and restaurants that temptingly line the Rue des Moulins, you’ll come to Organic Epicerie right at the end of the street. A cross between a shop and a café, this place sells all sorts of unusual and healthy food items. As well as stocking up on hard to find items, you can also enjoy a tasty and nutritious lunch or pick up some deli items to take away and enjoy later. Popular with vegetarians and vegans, Organic Epicerie is frequented by none other than ultra running legend Scott Jurek whenever he’s in town.
Tête à Thé
If you’re up in the Argentiere end of the valley then make sure you call in at Tête à Thé for some excellent cakes, cookies, quiches, burgers and soups - all vegetarian and all completely delicious. The cosy ambience means that you can easily let the afternoon slip away while you’re curled up with a pot of tea and a slab (or two) of cake…
It's not just the décor that's full of retro vibes, the menu at the Kitsch Inn has a few old school classics on it as well - expect to find delights such as sticky toffee pudding and rhubarb crumble at this funky café bar at the bottom of the Bellevue lift station in Les Houches. They're open all day long for breakfast, lunch, dinner and you're welcome to pop in at any time of the day for a pot of tea or coffee (served in cups that you would expect to find in your Nan's house) and a nice piece of cake.