Best Shop to buy Baby StuffBester Shop for the purchase of baby accessories
But the city has a wide variety of businesses that are sure to satisfy all taste and lifestyle. Chamonix has more to offer than just downhill ski ing/snowboarding, as a tour of some of the city's most varied boutiques shows. Snell Sports at Rue Paccard and Ravanel General Store at Galerie Alpina are two of the best kitshops; Snell is best suited for rock climbers and mountaineers and has a good selection of footwear, rope, harness, axe etc., while Ravanel is a trailer runner who has everything you need for your next Ultra training of Brooks, Inov-8, Inov-8, and more.
Either shop is well suited for general walking equipment and its employees are very competent and willing to help you. In Chamonix in July we exchange our skies for bikes and there are a number of bicycle stores in the city. Slash, on Rue Vallot, is a small but well-stocked bicycle shop run by the very accessible village of Kuillaume; he is enthusiastic about his horseback rides and will help you pick the right bicycle for the Chamonix trail.
On the other side of the city, Zero Z is also the place where the whole mud-whipped, armored crews slobber over the latest MTBs and kits - they also have a garage where you can install your own bicycle for service and repair. The Echo Base in Les Praz is a small welcoming place that has the latest Cube and GT Mountainbikes in stock; the shop is really practical to explore the Flegere and Balcon Sud side of the valleys, so come by and see what Jim and Tim can do for you.
Racing cycling is becoming more and more loved nowadays and the boys from the fast-named Cycle Sport Spirit in Les Houches are well stocked with all the llycra and hoses needed to fight the locals cold; they are mainly a repair shop so you can keep your bicycle in good hands when it needs a little TLC.
In Chamonix there are some Intersport shops where you can hire bicycles for mountains, roads, cities or electricity. Chamonix, as you would expect to find in an open-air mecca, has many sport shops where you can buy the best climbing labels such as The North Face, Black Diamond, Salomon and Scarpa, as well as trendy climbing labels such as Peak Performance, Patagonia, Hellly Hansen Chamonix, Napapijri and Quicksilver, which also have a good selection of great open-air climbing outfits.
The Patagonia region was one of the first major Chamonix brand to join the Chamonix community about twenty years ago. In Patagonia, Chamonix was chosen to boost its overseas business in place of major cities such as London or Paris, as it favoured the Chamonix brand's powerful climbing reputation and historic appeal; in recent years, they have worked tirelessly to develop an ethic brand and now encourage the use of recyclable and green material that works as well as ever.
In 1997, Patagonia was complemented by well-known labels such as Napapijri and Peak Performance, who chose Chamonix's central building with personality and build to mirror their high-end corporate identity. Located at the upper end of Rue Paccard, Chamonix offers a wide selection of high class skiing and snowboarding clothing in winters and is converted to walking and casual clothing in summers.
Together with many of the leading climbing brand names, these shops have increasingly benefited from Chamonix's specialised retail environment while helping to promote Chamonix's image as a retail target. Though Chamonix is not famous for its long sand shores, it is still home to major surf and surf brand names such as Billabong, Quiksilver and Rip Curl.
Not only do some of the sport stores such as Zero G, Legend'Chx and Boardriders have a good selection of clothes, but they also have their own skiing and snowboarding garages where you can hire, buy or maintain your equipment. And if your styling is more "street fashion" then there are more small boutiques in and around Chamonix' main boulevard that also offer the latest Volcom, Nixon, Nikita, Carhartt, Vans and Electric music.
And if you love high street fashion over Gore-Tex, you'll also find Benetton, Timberland and Superdry to dress in "normal" clothing that is sometimes difficult to get in Cham! The Ville De Venise is an old-fashioned toyshop filled to the brim with riddles, cuddly toys and toys - when you buy a present, it is packaged for you at no additional cost.
There is a good choice of La Trace products ranging from textbooks, toy, face colours, jewelry, handicrafts and the like to mountain memorabilia such as pipe mots, fuzzy pet backpacks and even a Chamonix copy of Monopoly. In the Rue Paulard you will find some beautiful things like children's games, new baby presents and wood bands at Chamonissimo.
United Colours of Benetton has a children's wear department at the cheapest end of the range, as does the large Intersport in the center of Chamonix. And if you want to try some of the delicious cheeses or meat, there are a number of Refuge Payot shops offering delicious homemade products and many other delicious specialties.
Chamonix offers a delicious range of biscuits and tarts at all Chamonix stores, but Aux Petits Gourmands is perhaps the most decorative in the industry - her shop windows alone are to perish and her delicious choco drinks are great presents. Take a look at the beautiful Ancey Chocolatier on Rue Vallot; cocoa, nougat, chocolate candy and other delicacies pile up in this old-fashioned confectionery store.
Among the popular Chamonix gifts are the gallery Photo Mario Colonel and Tairraz Photographie Alpine, both of which carry fine printings, picture cards and artworks of the area. Bookshops at the Alpine Library and the Maison de la Presse offer a broad selection of English-language travel guides, Alpine charts and fine illustrated volumes.
You can find vintage and kitschy home articles with an Alp touch at Alp-Chic, or go to the railway and visit Reves d'Hiver - a small repertory of exclusive nibbles and classy gifts. Cow bells and cosy groundhog animals can be bought everywhere, but the best selection can be found at La Trace on the opposite side of McDonald's.
In contrast to the UK, where it seems that stores almost constantly sell, sell or "sell", France's laws on buying and selling are strict and shopkeepers are not permitted to rebate their goods at any other point. Fin de serie" and "Promo" are accepted, but the genuine good deals can be found at the special selling hours if you get your hands on all the big stamps for 40-70% less than the regular selling prices.
At Chamonix, the selling period usually lasts from the last weekend in June to the first weekend in August.