Despite the fact I come from a tropical country (Brazil) and have been living in a Mediterranean one (Italy), I absolutely LOVE snow and all the cosiness chilly weather offers, like wrapping myself up in a thick duvet with a bottle of good red wine in the company of the best cuddling partner… Who would say I’m that romantic, huh?
Experiencing a couple of degrees below zero is something I always enjoy and look forward when I have the chance to, which is less often than I’d wish though. However, when my boyfriend and I got a wedding invitation from one of his good friends in the fancy French resort of Chamonix, I didn’t get very excited. Although all the apparent romance, who on Earth would choose a ski-resort with freezing and unpredictable weather to get married? A couple of enthusiastic skiers, obviously. Me and all my incredulity, on the other hand, saw the romance slowly melting with the snow and sliding down the mountains as quick as I would myself, the moment my clumsy feet came in contact with the icy path.
WHERE & HOW
Chamonix is one of the oldest ski-resorts in France, located in the North side of the Mont Blanc summit. We got there after a two-hour car journey from the Geneva Airport (the closest one from there) and although the wedding ceremony was actually in the village aside of Le Praz, we decided to stay in a rented apartment strategically close to Aiguille du Midi and its cable cars, so my eager snowboarder boyfriend could have easy access to the slopes.
A curious person must be wondering if I’m also into winter sports, and if coming down on my bum counts, the answer is yes. Apart from that, the furtherest I got was a level 2 ski certificate instruction after spending 4 hours struggling to keep myself on my feet, which got me the amusing nickname of “Bambi on Acid” given to me by my hilarious other half. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of charmingly sliding down a slope, I’m just not a natural sportsperson… Yet. I will get there!
Having said that, this specific fact influenced more in our trip and in my enjoyment of the place than I would have anticipated. Whilst my boyfriend spent the three days snowboarding with the other wedding guests, I spent my time switching from coffee to souvenir shops, just because there is absolutely nothing else a non-skier/snowboarder can do there – Other than the Après-ski, of course. Every single thing turns around the winter sports and if you are not into it like me, you’re just out of the game and bored to the bone. Just in case one day you get yourself in the same place and situation as me, the following tips might avoid a possible slow death of boredom:
- TAKE SOME SKI/SNOWBOARDING LESSONS: but make sure you book them online beforehand. At high season is practically impossible to find available places in loco and when you find it, they cost you an arm and a leg. Be more organised than me and plan your days in advance.
- TAKE PICTURES: the village is surrounded by stunning mountains, cut by a little river and built mostly in the beautiful alpine style. No doubt is a very interesting landscape to shoot.
- PAINT: if you really have time to kill, you can exchange the camera for canvas and brushes. Why not?
- PRACTICE YOUR FRENCH: I wouldn’t describe French people as friendly and receptive (sorry!), but it’s always worth a try. Just don’t get too sensitive if they don’t correspond to your social attempts. It’s probably not personal.
- GET FAT & PISSED: croissants, macarons, sausages, ham, cheeses and wine. All of them, delicious and at fairly cheap prices.
EATING MY WORDS
I have to admit: the wedding was incredibly romantic and a huge part of it was exactly because of the landscape. If getting married in the snow is your thing, the place is definitely recommended. It’s also a very good chance to take the fur out of the closet and feel yourself very poshly dressed. I couldn’t think about a much better place to have good cuddles either…
I know every place has its own magic and is interesting in a very particular way, but Chamonix couldn’t hit my heart as I was expecting and unless I get another wedding invitation, I don’t think I will ever step on that side of the Mont Blanc again. With or without cuddles.
You can see more pictures of this trip here.
What about you? Have you ever been to Chamonix? Did you enjoy the experience? Let us know in the comments!