You'll need to be a fan of the Chamonix Ski Bus, while you're here. You needn't worry about getting around the resort which is well spread out along the valley as transport in Chamonix is highly efficient at peak times, and it does move queues quickly.
The photo here is of a Chamonix Carte d' Hote - that's a guest card issued to non-skiers. The card entitles paying guest to free transport in the valley. Skiers are entitled to use the ski transport for no charge as long as they have a valid ski pass.
Three Modes Of Public Transport
See the three modes
of public transport in the photo? On the left is the local shuttle that
services the township of Chamonix Mont Blanc.
In the middle is the ski bus that goes up and down the Chamonix valley servicing the villages and takes skiers directly to the lift terminals.
The local train that services just the valley is pictured on the right hand side. To leave the valley either to Switzerland or to France, trains will need to be changed at Le Buet/ Vallorcine and at St Gervais/La Fayet respectively. The page on the Chamonix Train Service will have more information.
The ski buses are vital in this resort as none of the ski regions are interconnected. There's more detail about this on Resort Orientation Chamonix France.
Here's the low down on the Chamonix Ski Bus that operate within the resort.
Transport for Skiers
Your valid ski pass entitles you to free public transport on the shuttle, the "Mulet" and the ski bus. Hop on and off as you wish. Public transport is efficient and frequent during peak hours during the day but limited after hours.
Transport for Non-Skiers
For non-skiers, ask your accommodation host for a "Carte d'hôte". It's free for paying guests and entitles you to use the free buses in the valley. You're free to explore the valley, hopping on and off the transport as you wish.
As skiers, we favored the ski bus in preference to the trains, as the bus takes skiers directly to the lift terminal buildings whereas when you take the train, there's always a hike from the station to the lifts. We found the bus system far more convenient especially when you're lugging around ski gear and it'll be worse if you had children tagging along.
The bus route services primarily the villages between Le Tour and Les Houches, the location of the major ski regions. These are the northern and southern most main ski access villages.
Here are the 5 main access villages with the attached groomed ski region.
Schedules for the Ski Bus
It's free for those with a valid ski pass or those with a valid Carte d'hote. Click on the links to take you to the official timetables and routes.
Bus Schedules - From Le Tour at the head of the valley to Les Houches at the other end.
As you'll see on the timetable, from the township of Chamonix Mont Blanc, it's only 20 minutes either way, south to Les Houches or north to Le Tour (for Domaine de Balme).
Night Bus Timetable
Take care to note the time of the last night bus, as otherwise you might just have a costly taxi ride.
Here are a couple of pages with orientation maps I've drawn so that you get a "feel" of the main locations in the valley and where the areas around the main town.
The little shuttle or eco-bus called the "Le Mulet" services only the town of Chamonix Mont Blanc. It's named after the mules that used to transport tourists through the mountains before the 20th century. It is efficient and there's one every few minutes (during peak times) and the stops are conveniently located.
It's free to those with a valid Carte d'hote and/or valid ski pass.
Riding the eco bus and the Chamonix Ski Bus is a terrific way to get to see most of town, as the shuttle wends its way through the back streets of the resort, taking you to suburbs where the locals live, work and play.
Click here to view the Le Mulet's schedule.
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