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Christmas & New Year 2019/20 in Chamonix - What weather to expect & what to do

Where to eat, drink & be merry this festive season in Chamonix

Featured in: | Ana Hernández, Chamonix Editor | Published

Chamonix is already feeling very festive – lights are up, the huge Christmas tree stands proud on the tourist office square and the smell of mulled wine is wafting on the air.

There's no better place to celebrate the festivities than a snowy ski resort. Here is our guide of what's on during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

What are the snow conditions like in Chamonix over Christmas?

We've had a very snowy November and the snowstorms have continued at the beginning of December, leaving us with some pretty impressive snow depths. The summits of the Chamonix Valley now boast around a metre of snow and most lifts are open, all the way from Les Houches to Vallorcine, with even more set to whir into action for the festivities.

Chamonix Snow Report & Forecast

What weather to expect this Christmas in Chamonix?

It looks like the snowy trend isn't going anywhere. The sun will shine all the way to Friday, December 20th, but precipitations return next weekend with the snow limit fluctuating between 1000m and 1900m, according to the current forecasts. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day look set to have a mixture of sunshine and clouds.

Weather in Chamonix

Get in the Chamonix festive spirit

Chamonix, with its colourful chocolate-box houses shrouded in a blanket of snow and surrounded by the high peaks of the Mont-Blanc range, looks like the picture-postcard rendition of a winter wonderland. No better place to get in the Christmas spirit than here!

If you fancy a good sing-along, then you’ll find plenty of opportunities in Chamonix over the festive period. It all starts with the Chambelles Christmas Concert at the Eglise Reformée (near the train station) on December 22nd from 18:00, featuring festive cheer, Santa hats and all the Christmas classics with the lovely ladies of the Chambelles choir.

The local music school will also be offering Christmas concerts throughout the valley this week. Then, on December 21st at 20:30, there will be a choral concert by the Harmonie Municipale des Houches at Espace Olca in Les Houches. Free entry.

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What to do on Christmas Eve in Chamonix?

Many countries celebrate on the 24th rather than on the 25th and with Chamonix being the international town that it is, we get to do both! The French have their main festive feast on the 24th and it usually features duck or guinea fowl, seafood and shellfish, figs and chestnuts, cheeses and a chocolate Yule Log. Most restaurants in town will be serving special treats for Christmas Eve. You also can't miss your chance to meet Santa Claus and let him know what you’d like in your stocking! He’ll be making a special trip to the Alps, stopping off in Chamonix on the 24th of December. His elves, fairies and other magical creatures will accompany him.

Events in Chamonix

How to celebrate Christmas Day in Chamonix?

For some folks (OK, mostly Brits) Christmas Day is all about a massive roast lunch with all the trimmings, followed by pudding and as many mince pies as you can manage. Bighorn Bistro has it covered with a feast of delicious food and drinks throughout the day to suit those with and without children. Beginning with their Christmas Brunch from 10:00 which includes a homemade French toast with fruit flambée and cream, and following with a traditional turkey roast Christmas Dinner. Meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans will all be well-catered for. And remember that they're also open for Christmas Eve Dinner!

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How about some family fun?

Kids are the focus in Les Houches, the charming town just before Chamonix coming from Geneva. During the holidays, the whole family can go ice skating at night for free at the local outdoor rink (Christmas costumes highly encouraged!), take part in a torchlit ski descent with the ESF instructors or try 'paret' sledging – the traditional Savoyard sled – on the Les Houches slopes.

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Where to party in Chamonix on New Year's Eve?

The focal point of New Year’s Eve in Chamonix is counting down to midnight by the clock tower in the centre of town. This is usually a completely chaotic event with no one quite sure exactly when to start counting, hoards of people shouting over each other in a multitude of languages, excitable revellers setting off impromptu fireworks, etc, etc… It’s all good fun though and once the new era has been announced there is a great deal of kissing and hugging complete strangers, while an official firework display goes on largely ignored overhead.

It’s business as usual for most of the drinking establishments in Chamonix on New Year’s Eve. The good thing about this is that there are no extortionate entry fees, no queuing on the door and no fancy dress codes. The flip side is that everywhere is rammed and your favourite bars may be so busy that you can barely squeeze through the door, never mind gets your drinks order in.

Get your best costumes out and start practising your jazz hands for the Prohibition Ends NYE Party at Bighorn Bistro. They’ll be serving up a special New Year's Eve menu from 18:00 to 21:00. Then it’s party time with DJ Lady Eliza mixing the best Electro-Swing tunes and the bar staff mixing the best 1920's-inspired cocktails. Cham's hottest apres spot, La Folie Douce, are in for the longest New Year's Eve party prize, starting at 17:00 with their famous live bands and DJs, and going all the way until 02:00. Their restaurants will also be serving special menus to celebrate the start of 2020.

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More inspiration...

However you choose to celebrate it, Chamonix is a magical place to spend the holiday season. Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!