Chamonix - Annual Events
Whenever you come to Chamonix, there’s always something happening, from world-class sporting events to music festivals
If you think that Chamonix goes to sleep during the summer then you couldn't be more wrong. These hills are most definitely alive with the sound of music!
Marathon du Mont Blanc: One of the most popular races in the Chamonix calendar, more and more people are wanting to take part in one of the highlights of the summer. The atmosphere is always electric with the support and energy from the crowds a huge part of the weekend. Not just one race, there are a number of events in addition to the marathon; the cross (23km), a 10km, the vertical km, & the 80km.
Fete de la Musique: A national celebration of music, taking place on midsummer on 21st June, Chamonix fully embraces the party. Live music is played almost anywhere; in hotels, on the street, in parks. All the bars have a late licence and host their own mini events. You'll find the best party on Rue des Moulins, a narrow side-street lined with bars that turns into a carnival on this special evening.
World Climbing Championships: In mid-July, an enormous climbing wall pops up in the centre of Chamonix. Elite climbers from across the world go head-to-head in technical and speed climbing races drawing huge crowds. Gravity-defying displays of strength make this an incredible event to watch. One highlight is the final on the eve of Bastille Day when celebrations are combined and a big street party ensues with beer tents, music and fireworks.
Tour des Fiz: A stunning trail-running event that circles around a large plateau high up in the Fiz mountain range, about 20 minutes drive from Chamonix. There are 3 distances to choose from (61km / 30km /22km), the routes passing stunning lakes, deep gorges and thundering waterfalls, with the fuelling stations hosted at mountain refuges.
Bastille Day: Celebrated across France on 14th July, this historic date is celebrated twice in Chamonix! First on the night before to coincide with the final of the Climbing Championships and then again on the day itself. The night usually ends with a beautiful firework display at the Lac des Chavants in Les Houches.
Cosmojazz: This week-long jazz festival features dozens of talented artists from around the world. A lot of the concerts are free and take place at altitude with stunning mountain backdrops. The venues are always unique; we’ve had pianists dangling from cranes over the town square, cellists playing in ski lifts, orchestras at the top of mountains… Cosmojazz is a must-experience event!
Chamonix Yoga Festival: The Chamonix Yoga Festival attracts yogis and well-known teachers and practitioners from around the globe, hosting a huge range of different workshops and classes, some indoor, some outdoor and others in the mountains. Also features musicians, dancers, live concerts, a zen market, massages and a Kids Garden.
Fete des Guides: on 15th August every year, Chamonix honours and celebrates the wonderful mountain guides. An official ceremony in the town centre welcomes new guides and remembers lost ones, and is followed by various entertainments. The finale is a party at Lac de Gaillands lake, starting with face painting and games for children and then carrying on into the night with live music, beer tents, food stalls and a big firework display.
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB): Arguably the largest event of the year, the UTMB draws 7000 runners (and their support teams) from all over the world to take part in 5 races of varying distances. The longest, the UTMB, covers almost 170km, 10,000m of ascent and passes through 3 countries.
The event is a full-week long with different races taking place on different days, and runners setting off and finishing in Chamonix town centre throughout the week. The support and emotion at the finish line creates the incredible atmosphere that the UTMB is famous for and gives Chamonix a carnival atmosphere.
Chamonix Mountain Running Festival: An exciting new event on the Chamonix calendar, featuring coaching, clinics and workshops from professional coaches, athletes and mountain guides. The festival brings together anyone passionate about trail running and elite trail runners to share experiences, advice and expertise.
Trail des Aiguilles Rouges: Rounding off the trail-running season in Chamonix, the Trail des Aiguilles Rouges changes route each year and is well-known as a challenge, always including some of the steepest and most technical trails in the valley. The full distance race is 50km with a shorter version of 15km also available.
If you have time to fit them in around your ski days and the usual apres-ski parties, Chamonix also hosts these big events that take place every winter - there's no rest for the wicked!
Opening weekend: Usually the 1st or 2nd weekend in December, depending on snow coverage. Pistes open, lifts whir back into action and the town comes to life with opening parties and the 1st apres-ski sessions of winter.
The lighting of the town Christmas tree: This annual tradition usually takes place during the first week of December, and includes a procession through town at dusk, street entertainers and mulled wine.
Christmas & New Year: A magical time to be in the Alps, Chamonix is especially pretty at this time of year with lights and decorations illuminating the town. On Christmas Eve street performers and artists parade through the town building excitement for the big day. Don’t count on skiing much on the 1st January, as New Year’s Eve in Chamonix goes on all night long!
Night skiing in Les Houches: Normally every Thursday evening in January & into early February try night skiing on the flood-lit Tourchet nursery slope in Les Houches, then warm up with hot chocolate and mulled wine.
Kandahar World Cup: This event, is one of the most important in the global ski calendar, and takes place on the famous Kandahar run in Les Houches, attracting spectators and competitors from all over the world. There are 2 days of competition, and plentiful activities and entertainment to accompany the event.
Chamonix Unlimited Festival: This week-long electronic music festival is full of DJs, parties and events. The majority of the venues are inside the lift stations or at the top of the mountain, for hedonistic vibes and stunning views and cementing the urban meets alpine vibes.
Closing Weekend: By early May, the sun is out and Chamonix is ready to say goodbye to winter with a closing party at Grand Montets, usually held on the first Saturday in May. By midday the snow is generally soft and slushy, but that's when the BBQ gets fired up, the music is pumped up and the drinks are flowing. If you’re feeling particularly brave you can have a go at the water slide.
Hockey Matches: Local team, the Chamonix Pioneers, host regular home games against teams from all around France. Depending on the schedule, matches usually take place on either Wednesday, Friday or Sunday evening. Buy tickets directly on site at the ice rink.