Back in March in our first “travel beyond Switzerland” post about Chamonix, France, I mentioned we would be spending Christmas there, and I can hardly believe it is over, and by more than a month!
My parents, parents in-law, sister, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and “like sister” came all the way across the ocean to spend our very last “adults-only” Christmas with us, and we couldn’t be more grateful we got to share this special corner of the world with them.
We chose Chamonix for our group of 10 for a few reasons:
❄️It was the only ski place we had been to back in March when we decided to spend Christmas in Europe 😉
❄️It is about an hour’s drive from Geneva – for our family all coming on long transatlantic flights, we wanted to limit additional travel time 🚘
❄️France is generally less expensive than Switzerland 💶
❄️It’s the perfect little, but not too little, non-pretentious mountain town that offers an enormous amount for skiers and non-skiers to do 🎿
Since I’ve already highlighted Chamonix before, just a few additions and mostly pictures sharing our stay!
To me, the best part about Europe in winter is sitting outside under heat lamps and blankets while swapping drinks and old stories. Chamonix has tons of outdoor spots to cozy up with your favorite people along the main street to people watch (or horse watch!) while drinking hot wine or cheap beer and eating tartiflette. 🍻🍷🧀Chalet Heidi… 🏠
and most of our evenings involved straight hanging, drinking, and playing games next to our little tree, as demonstrated here by my beloved father-in-law. 🥃
oh – and yes we wore matching pajamas most of the week, procured by my sister…
- We loved our trip across the village out to Neapolis – a really well-priced pizza and pasta joint in town. Great service and quality meals. 🍕🍝
- Courmayeur – we had lunch in Italy! To add to our visitor’s country count, we took a bus (~ 20 €per person) about 40 minutes to the small ski region of Courmayeur, Italy. We had a superb and inexpensive lunch in town – and then proceeded to watch the place shut down for what felt like a Spanish siesta – very few stores and restaurants were open from lunchtime until after 3pm. Fortunately, we found spots to get drinks outside and just marvel at the views! 🇮🇹
Unlike in the US (in my own experience) – you can buy a “non-skier” lift ticket just to go up to the mountain restaurant. We had the most spectacular sunny day and obviously used the opportunity to take plenty of pictures! Please note that we were posed by a professional photographer and did not choose these often cheesy poses!“Buy Club” – Groupon for the Romandie area. Do read the fine print about expiration dates and what is actually covered for each offer, but it’s absolutely worth receiving their daily email. We were able to purchase advance discounted lift tickets for ~40 € before the holidays for all of our skiers to save both time and money.
We also did one “group excursion” – in the months before our trip, the group had posed the idea of winter dog sledding as a good group activity. Don’t @ me if you think we are animal abusers, we only researched the idea! Regardless of your perspective, no vendors were available for a group of our size during such a popular week anyway, but the company Chamonix All Year did propose an alternative for us – a “fondue in an igloo/toboggan/ snow shoeing trip.”
Regrettably, a warm front came through and there wasn’t quite enough snow for the toboggan and snow shoe, and the igloo melted.
HOWEVER, the day after Christmas, our wonderful tour guides picked us up at Chalet Heidi for an adventure. They led us on a snowy evening hike through Trient (back in Switzerland, just over the border!), hosted us around a roaring fire ….
for brats, bacon wrapped figs, and vin chaud (hot wine), and served fondue with all the accoutrements in a makeshift igloo. It was really gorgeous and such a fun, unique experience that we strongly recommend!
We loved having our amazing family and friends along with us for the ride and can’t believe that next year Santa will be coming to visit Swiss Baby Ford!
I intended to write one more “travel” post about our recent Sunday afternoon trip to the International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Château-d’Œx, Switzerland. However – despite perfectly lovely weather, we drove two hours each way for the festival to decide the weather wasn’t good enough to launch the balloons… The town is pretty small, so without photos of colorful balloons contrasted with snowy Alps, there really is no post.
Before the baby’s arrival, after three more weeks of French intensive class, I am aiming to get a “local” post or two out about Geneva. As always, I encourage you to reach out to me if you have questions about life here and I’m happy to write about it! Post-baby, in the ardent hope that all are happy and healthy, we hope to travel again quickly, but you can always check out the archive to see where we have been so far, and follow along on Instagram.
Thank you as always for reading!!