Chamois - the car-free village
Tired of tailbacks, traffic and trouble finding a parking space? Dump the car and head up to Chamois!
At an altitude of 1815 metres and reachable only on foot, by bicycle or by cablecar, Chamois is the place for you, with the cool air coming down from the Matterhorn valley that’ll make you forget the heat and stress of the city.
Although environmental sustainability wasn’t yet a popular concept way back in 1955, the village of Chamois remained deaf to the siren call of road traffic, and chose the cablecar as the means to link the village with the valley bottom. The cablecar was a fast, direct means of transport, and it also avoided the construction of roads and the consequent emissions of harmful gases and the noise caused by traffic.
Although the descriptions written by travellers at the beginning of the 20th century mentioned the building of a road open to traffic as a factor that would guarantee this “splendid health resort” a successful future, as reported by Sylvain Lucat in 1908, the population of Chamois did not opt for this solution, which would necessarily have altered the surrounding landscape. The presence of the cablecar has conditioned the town planning choices made here, allowing the little stone streets to continue to wind their way amid the renovated homes and preserving the allure of the location unchanged.
Since those times, various types of modernisation work have been carried out to make the cablecar both safe and comfortable.
A trip by cablecar is always a thrilling experience, taking visitors over the Valtournenche up to 250 above the ground, and frequently offering the possibility to admire from above the chamois grazing placidly along the grassy ridges and the steep mule track that runs from Buisson to Chamois.
The cablecar from Buisson to Chamois is open every day of the year (except for brief periods when maintenance is being carried out) from 7.00 a.m. to 10.30 p.m., and runs every 30 minutes, or every 15 at very busy times. During the summer, opening hours are extended on Saturdays and Sundays, during the August holiday period, and during particular events.
Extra services are also guaranteed on the evening of 31 December, to allow visitors to attend the fascinating end-of-year torchlight parade.
From the village of Chamois, it is also possible to go even further up with the chairlifts and to reach splendid spots like Lod lake, where there is a picnic area and refreshment points for a pleasant break or a departure point for a variety of hikes, or, in winter, to reach the ski runs.
On foot or by bicycle
Those in top physical shape can reach Chamois on foot along the old mule track that still links the village with the valley bottom, or from the municipality of La Magdeleine, along a path that can be tackled by everyone, even by mountain bike.