Tag Archives: chamonix

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Home, Sweet Chamonix

Chamonix was by far my favorite city visited during my summer with Forum-Nexus. I enjoyed being outside, hiking and loved the easygoing atmosphere. This town was very laid-back and athletic, and I felt as if it paralleled my personality perfectly. Many mornings when I woke up to go for a run, there were several people awake and active. Most people were waiting in line to buy tickets or getting ready for a hike.

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Courtesy of Victoria C.

The town of Chamonix is absolutely gorgeous; it felt like a fantasyland. From every angle of the town, I was able to see the snowy peak and beautiful mountains. Chamonix is also extremely quaint and has several little alleyways. The town is really well-structured and I liked the spacing of the buildings. I was able to go on a cable car all the way up to the top of the mountain. This was my favorite day of the trip! I got amazing pictures and the view was breathtaking. My friends and I were able to get drinks at the top of the mountain, which was really cool. I was also able to go on a four-hour hike and saw the waterfall and the glacier. This day was also amazing and I loved getting a good workout in. The hotel also allowed us to rent bikes which was really cool.

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Courtesy of Victoria C.

Chamonix also happened to have my favorite food while being on the trip. I ate at Big Horn Bistro Restaurant and the Monkey Bar. Both restaurants had a great salad that I craved throughout the rest of the trip. I was able to eat crepes and really good gelato, too. Oddly, they also had the best nachos. I felt as if Chamonix food had several American options. Not to sound basic, but I feel like that was one of the reasons I loved Chamonix – I felt as if I was home.

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Courtesy of Victoria C.

After exploring Chamonix, I learned that most locals speak English and that the town thrives on tourism. Every local told me I needed to come back in the winter to ski and climb the mountain. The locals were extremely friendly and informative, which is one of the reasons I loved the town so much! I recommend to future FN students that they devote a day to just explore the city and figure out there way around. There is so much the city has to offer and dozens of little-hidden restaurants and stores. I also highly recommend going on the cable cars and hiking the mountain.

By:  Victoria C., Forum-Nexus 2017 Alumna

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Chamonix: A French Alp Paradise

I live in a small town and have never been a huge fan of large cities, so it came as no surprise to me that Chamonix would be my favorite town during this trip.  Don’t get me wrong, I love how much there is to see/do/eat/explore/learn in larger cities, but I enjoy myself the most in quaint communities.  I like the idea of everyone knowing their neighbors and trusting one another.  Also, for a trip where less than a week is allotted in each destination, Chamonix was completely “doable.”  I left Chamonix  with plans to come back, but I also felt like I had seen the entire town and was comfortable to navigate through it myself.

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Chamonix is most famous for being a ski resort town during the winter months, but during the summer there is plenty to do as well.  The downtown part of Chamonix is small and picturesque. The main streets are lined with flowers and fountains, while also housing dozens of name brand stores.  The real beauty of the town lies in the views of the mountains surrounding it.  The buildings, which are primarily chateaus, are never more than a few stories, so postcard-worthy views can be seen at all times.  The mountains themselves cannot be described in either words or pictures.  They are too immense and breathtaking to justly depict.

As I mentioned earlier, Chamonix is condensed enough that it is “doable.”  Unlike other larger cities where I left with several activities I still wanted to do there, I did everything in Chamonix that I had planned, plus had time to find new things as well.  Although I had a good time in the downtown part of Chamonix, I found that I much preferred exploring the scenery away from town.  The first afternoon in Chamonix was dreary and cloudy, so sightseeing from the top of the mountain was postponed and Hugo led a hike instead.  We followed a stream up a mountain in the Gorges Diosaz Servoz.  I loved the bridges that laced back and forth across the stream.  Another event led by Hugo, taking the lift to the top of Le Brévent, was equally as enjoyable.  With few clouds in the sky, we were able to enjoy a view into both the Chamonix valley and of Mont Blanc, the iconic mountain of Chamonix.  Just a piece of advice for future FN students: Do any event or activity led by Hugo.  He knows the best things to do, and you honestly can’t not have a great time with his personality.

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Perhaps my favorite experience in Chamonix is when I went on a solo hike to Lac Blanc.  The hike itself was tough and steep, but the real challenge for me was finding the proper lift and hiking trail in the first place!  The entire 2 hours each way of the hike has panoramic views of the mountains.  The lake itself was amazing, the bluest water I had ever seen that was only more vivid being surrounding by snow and having a cloudless sky above.  I literally sat and tried to absorb the scene for several hours.  Although it was not my original plan to do the hike by myself, I’m actually glad it worked out that way.  Not having an agenda and being able to enjoy everything at my pace was very enjoyable.  I went on a similar unplanned adventure by myself in Barcelona, and I was equally as thankful to be able to experience part of that city on my own.  I would highly recommend that, providing that you feel comfortable and confident, future FN students try out traveling alone, even if for only a few hours.

While in France, my main goal was to eat a crepe.  I succeeded in this goal and actually ate around 5 during our few days in Chamonix.  My favorite was Nutella, but a savory ham and cheese crepe was a close second.  On the last night in this town, a group of us girls decided we wanted to go all out on a meal.  We shared among the table the notorious French dish of escargot, a.k.a. snails.  Although the texture was too chewy for my taste, it wasn’t half bad and I can cross that one off my bucket list.  For my main course that evening, I had tartiflette, a French potato cheese and bacon dish.  If I ever had to choose, this would be my last meal.  Even if you don’t take any of my other advice, trust me here and try tartiflette.

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While in Chamonix, I learned how to properly eat escargot, how to read hiking signs, how to wait for tartiflette to cool before consuming, to bring a waterproof raincoat everywhere, and that you can still get sunburnt when it’s cold. But most importantly, I learned that I love Chamonix and will have to come back in the future!

By: Alana E., FN 2016 Alumna

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Destination 2: This is Chamonix!

The second destination on the Forum Europe Summer 2017 itinerary is unforgettable, to say the least.

Nestled in the French Alps, surrounded by mountains, lakes, and forests, Chamonix, France seems as if it sprung from a fairytale. Best known for being the first host city of the 1924 Winter Olympics, Chamonix is a charming French town with mountains, streams, trails, restaurants, quaint stores, and a cozy nightlife. While in Chamonix, students will be able to admire, rewind, relax, and rediscover the unique naturesque side of Europe. For years, tourists and our students have fallen hard for this town.

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So you may be wondering what to expect on a getaway to the sweet, French mountain region. Get a glimpse of last summer’s visit to Chamonix here.

Afternoons will be free for students to explore the striking beauty of the area and participate in activities such as hiking to the Mer de Glace, one of the biggest glaciers in Europe, or taking the Aiguille du Midi cable car, offering a spectacular view of the snow covered peaks of Mont Blanc. For those who don’t feel as adventurous, students can explore the town filled with shops and restaurants or unwind at the Hotel L’Helopic Sweet and Spa. As for the weekend, students can participate in an optional Forum-Nexus Day Trip to the charming medieval city of Annecy. Think Beauty & The Beast charm with breathtaking water features.

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Up next on the blog, we’ll share what Forum-Nexus alumni have to say about their time in the Alps.

Follow along on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about this one-of-a-kind city and our summer 2017 program.

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Chamonix awaits YOU!

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Chamonix, a breath of fresh air- literally!

After a couple of weeks of busy city life in Barcelona and Paris, arriving in the quaint and beautiful town of Chamonix was nothing less than a breath of fresh air (literally). Chamonix is situated within the French Alps, and while staying in the town we always had a great view of Mont Blanc (the highest peak in Europe). Chamonix was my favorite location that we visited because it was quiet and beautiful but there was always something to do. The town has a ton of shops, bars, restaurants and cafes, and there are two cable car companies available to take visitors up into the Alps for one of the most beautiful views in Europe. While in Chamonix, many students went paragliding, hiked, and ate at the restaurants at the top of the mountains for a meal with a view. There was truly something for everyone.

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When I was in Chamonix, I explored the town both on foot and by bike. Our hotel had free bikes for our use, so myself and a couple of other students took advantage of this and biked around town. It was a great way to see Chamonix. We explored the local shops and picked up some fresh fruit at a local market for a snack. All the local shop owners were extremely friendly. They asked where we were from and why we were in Chamonix, and gave us helpful tips on the best places to eat and the best sights to see.

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On another day in Chamonix I took a cable car ride up to Le Brevent, a mountain which had a fantastic view of Mont Blanc as well as the town of Chamonix. The peak of Le Brevent was over 2,500 meters high, and it had the most beautiful view that I’ve ever seen. After walking around and taking photos, myself and some other Forum-Nexus students enjoyed sorbet and wine at the Panoramic restaurant at the top of the mountain.

Chamonix was a great location because everything to do in the town was within a short walking distance. There were laundry facilities less than 2 minutes from our hotel, a bank, and a post office where I was able to drop off a postcard to send home. Visiting Chamonix was a great opportunity to see a less urban side of France, and complimented the trip nicely.

Our hotel was homey and featured a spa area that made our stay feel like Heaven on Earth. When we weren’t exploring the town or the mountains we were recharging and relaxing. Because of its quiet nature, it was the perfect place to spend the midpoint of this study abroad experience.

By: Sarah Wallace, 2015 Forum-Nexus alumna

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Chamonix, The French Alps

When looking back on all the cities we stayed in, my favorite was Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France. The experience itself was one I cannot even put into words. From the moment we arrived, I knew it was going to be my favorite city. The scenic view was beyond beautiful.

Once I saw the vast French Alps, I was jumping with excitement. I’m very big on hiking, therefore, I knew this city would have plenty of hiking activities for me. Once we arrived to Chamonix, I took a stroll to see what else it had to offer. While walking around, I noticed everything was very close by; the food-market, laundry, restaurants, bars and all other essential stores. It was a very convenient area because everything was walking distance. My friends and I didn’t need to pay for any transportation the entire stay; unless of course one planned on taking the gondola up the French Alps.

There were numerous activities to choose from; such as mountain biking (offered by the hotel for free), paragliding, hiking, sightseeing and so much more. Since I’m such a hike fanatic, over the weekend a few of the students and I decided to go on a hike up the French Alps. About ten of us took the gondola over to the first mountain and took plenty of gorgeous scenic pictures of the mountains. After pictures, we separated from the group and only three of us decided to go on a hiking excursion. While hiking, we ran into many tourists/locals who were much older than us who were fully geared. We were very surprised to see how fit everyone was for their age. Here’s a tip to future Forum-Nexus students: if you plan on hiking, make sure you are wearing proper attire. My hiking buddies and I also ran into three deer, which at one point, lead us to the right path on the hike. Overall, the hike will be an unforgettable memory that I will always carry with me.

Another reason why I loved Chamonix was because it was a place you could relax. You’re surrounded with beautiful nature, the hotel had a swimming pool and spa- which after lots of traveling, is exactly what you’re looking for. In addition, it was really great to have classes held in the conference room of the hotel. Having classes there allowed us to get more sleep since we didn’t need to take transportation to a university. Also, since Chamonix was such a small area, all of the students bonded and went out together. Either that or you would run into your classmates while out and about which was always nice. Chamonix was my favorite city on the Forum-Nexus study abroad trip. I would definitely come back and visit multiple times, especially during ski season!

By: Jowita Chomentowska, Forum-Nexus 2014 Alumna

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