Argentiere resort guide - a general overview
Nestled beneath the mighty Grand Montets in the Chamonix Valley, the village of Argentiere has retained its rustic appeal despite some modern development. The old village plays host to the Glacier d'Argentiere and commands stunning views down the valley towards the Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc and Chamonix itself. The ski area on Les Grand Montets is justifiably renowned for its extensive steep terrain, which can only be fully explored and appreciated with the help of a local guide. The last cable car takes you up to 3,300m giving access to numerous black, red and off piste runs. However, the fact that there are not one but two fantastic children's ski kindergartens at the base of the main cable car and the gentle ski area of Le Tour just up the road make Argentiere suitable for all levels of skier. As the Chamonix valley is made up of fragmented ski areas, serious skiers would do well to consider staying in Argentiere rather than any of the other areas, which make up the Chamonix valley. This is especially true late in the season as the North facing slopes above Argentiere hold their snow well into May. The restaurants and bars tend to have an informal atmosphere and are less expensive than Chamonix itself.
Having spent many ski holidays in Argentiere and the Chamonix valley we can honestly say that you won't be disappointed as it is more than just a ski holiday, it is an overall Alpine experience.
There are a growing number of quality ski chalets in Argentiere well worth considering as they tend to be less expensive than those in the more popular resort of Chamonix down the valley.
1,240m - 3,840m
Level of skiing
- Snow sure
- Ski area
- Charm factor
- Resort layout
- Fine dining
- Short transfer
- Resort value
- Lots of tough terrain especially off piste
- A wide variety of ski resorts are covered on Mont Blanc lift pass
- Weekend ski holidays due to its close proximity to Geneva
- Incredible views of peaks and glaciers
- Excellent snow record early and late season
- Several separate mountains so mixed groups are likely to split up
- A less than perfect bus service between the different mountains. Hire a car
- Bad weather can shut the best runs
- Large lift queues especially at peak times and weekends
Argentiere Resort Restaurants
Argentiere, despite being a lot more laid back than its famous neighbour Chamonix, still boasts a nice quantity of high quality restaurants. Le Rusticana, which is very centrally located, is a great spot to meet up for an apres-ski snack or a delicious fresh meal. The venue turns into a bit of a party bar later on but early evening it's a great place to meet your friends and family straight of the slopes. If it's more of a regional dish you are after then head to Le Carnotzet which specializes in local cheese dishes. Originally a wine cellar this rustic restaurant still has a very traditional French feel about it and offers some seriously yummy raclettes, fondues and much much more! If you need a change from all the local delights the infamous Office bar which describes itself as a "part pub, part restaurant" does a great burger and a very reasonably priced steak and chips.
Argentiere Mountain Restaurants
Due to the extensive area covered by your lift pass in Argentiere there are plenty of mountain restaurants to choose from for your lunch. There is a wide range of variety to suit your taste and budget, from cosy chalet style restaurants serving gourmet cuisine to big self service sun decks where you can grab a quick bite. The Marmottens bar is extremely popular. More like a bustling canteen than an intimate restaurant, but still a great place to have a decent re-fuel. Serving the usual mountain fayre of omelettes, chips, burgers and the odd croute or gratin, it's the perfect place to catch some rays in a deck chair facing Mont Blanc. For something the other end of the scale and a little bit special head to the Cremerie du Glacier, located at the foot of the Argentiere glacier. This little gem is notoriously hard to find (ask your chalet hosts for best route) but worth the hunt once you get there. The place has been family run since 1926 and serves the most exquisite homemade Savoyard menu including fabulous fondues and charcuterie dishes.
Argentiere Apres Ski
Despite being a relatively small village, Argentiere has a reasonable amount of choice of where to head for apres ski. This resort has over 20 bars and 3 nightclubs, however the apres is probably described as low-key compared to the scene in bigger resorts. The office bar is a popular hangout for Brits and has great live music. The stone bar is also favoured amongst tourists and locals alike and a good place for a game of pool or darts. For those seeking more from their apres ski, I would suggest heading straight off the slopes to Chamonix (only 8km away) and then get a local bus or taxi back to your chalet later on. Being a much bigger resort the apres ski in Chamonix is noticeably more prominent and lively.
The Office bar is popular with the Brits and Scandinavians and they have regular live bands. Other places to head for are the Savoy bar which sometimes gets rather lively and the Rencard bar which plays reggae music and serves good beers and snacks.