Chamonix piste map showing village and lift altitudes.
Copyright: Le Parc de Loisirs. At the base of the Plannards piste in Chamonix
Chamonix town sits at 1035 meters above sea level. Le Tour, the highest village in the valley is at 1462 meters and Les Houches lies at 1000 meters. Many ski lifts in the Chamonix valley go to heights of above
Bringing children from a high altitude town/city to Chamonix may not cause any noticeable changes, but many people travel to the Alps from low altitudes so here's a little practical info on how to keep your kids safe from altitude related illnesses.
If travelling to Chamonix with children of any age with chronic medical conditions, seek the advice of your doctor first. It is worth noting that the following information is only a guide, not professional advice as every child is different.
High altitude is considered to be anything over 1,500 meters. Babies under 1 year are advised to be kept below this level or ascended and descended very slowly (not by lift!). It is advised to remain under 2000m with children under the age of 3 years old. Children aged between 3 and 12 can be taken to 2,500m but are advised to avoid long periods of physical exertion. If in any doubt, please contact a medical professional first.
Keep your kids well hydrated (grab them their own cheap flask/water bottle that they will love to carry around). At altitude babies and children breathe faster which means they need a higher fluid intake than normal.
Also don't forget your factor 50 sunscreen which can be more expensive to buy here in Chamonix than your home country. Babies & children's sunglasses are also available to buy in most of the glasses/goggles/sunglasses shops in Chamonix centre. This is relevant both in the summer where the high altitude means rays are stronger and in the winter where the sun also reflects off the snow.
Do your best to keep their rooms cool in summer and warm in winter (14-18 degrees C is ideal)- your property provider can hopefully provide a fan/heater if needed and most apartments/chalets have shutters which keep out direct sunlight in the summer and keep rooms warm in the winter.
Don't forget to pack warm clothes for your children in the winter (and always pack extra layers when hiking in more remote areas even in the summer). There is generally snow all winter in the Chamonix valley, so a warm hat, waterproof gloves, scarve, waterproof trousers, waterproof coat and snow boots are a must to ensure kids can have a magical snow play experience.
Children may become tired more quickly at Chamonix's altitude so for longer walks or days out you might want to consider hiring a buggy or child carrier: see our EQUIPMENT RENTALS page.
All this being said, we think it's important for your kids to be able to play outside at least once a day, after all, it would be a shame for them to miss the amazing scenery, snow play and alpine nature experience!
Of course you can just book yourself a Baby-Cham nanny (who are trained on children/baby altitude safety) to look after your little ones at town level so you can explore at your leisure with peace of mind!
Some further reading on altitude sickness (and related illnesses) symptoms and treatments can be found here. Some further reading on altitude whilst pregnant can be found here.