Culture in Chamonix: 4 Memorable Museums
There is more to the stunning skiing resort of Chamonix than meets the eye. Thanks to its top-notch museums, it’s also a paradise for culture vultures!
Apart from being a paradise for skiers, Chamonix has a surprising number of museums for those who prefer cultural pursuits. So, if you're heading off to Chamonix without your skis, there’s no need to worry: you definitely won't be short of things to do! Let’s talk about the top four museums that every culture lover should visit.
This museum can be found slap bang in the town centre, and is located in the Chamonix Palace. The first floor of the museum provides an overview of the geological and human history of the mountains, as well as offering an informative exhibition about the local history of Chamonix and Mont Blanc. If you're interested in mountaineering, you could easily spend two or three hours here learning about the fascinating histories of the men and women who have conquered Mont Blanc since the late eighteenth century. There are a number of artefacts on display, such as a collection of books, maps and even personal diaries written by the first alpine mountaineers. All of these gems, along with the alpine art exhibitions on the second floor, make this museum well worth visiting if you’re a history and culture buff.
The Espace Tairraz Crystal Museum
This venue is actually a half-submerged exhibition hall, which houses the famous Crystal Museum. Completely re-designed in 2011, the Espace Tairraz is a contemporary space that’s dedicated to electronic and mechanical gadgetry. Visitors can check out the Climbing Simulator, the only one of its kind, and find out what it feels like to climb a challenging rock face. Visitors will also learn about the challenging and adrenaline-fuelled sport of climbing.
Much more than a run-of-the-mill museum, the Crystal Museum makes for an educational experience that’s not to be missed. The exhibition explains the aesthetic characteristics of the minerals and the formation of quartz crystals, displaying some of the stunning crystalline minerals that are found in the Alps and beyond. There are also examples of local quartz and red fluorites. This is an insightful exhibition that both children and adults will love.
The Maisonde la Mémoireet du Patrimoine
This venue, whose name translates to “The House of Memory and Heritage”, allows visitors to become acquainted with the heritage of Chamonix. Built in 1828, it used to be called “The House of Sisters” and served as a girls' school, but later fell into the possession of the town council. For the past decade, its sole purpose has been to house the oral and photographic archives of the city and a documentary research centre for everyone to use. There are also various special exhibitions that take place throughout the year.
Mer du Glace
If you fancy venturing out of Chamonix, hop onto the Train du Montenvers-Mer de Glace and head to the Mer de Glace, otherwise known as the “Sea of Ice”. The stunning views over the glacier alone are worth the trip, but the tiny museum deserves a visit, too. Here you can find out about the history of the Montenvers railway and see ancient artefacts of the area, as well as some interesting prints and a beautiful collection of crystals.
How to Get There
Getting from Geneva to Chamonix is really easy... if you don’t opt for unreliable public transportation. Start your holiday off in style and book a private transfer from Geneva to Chamonix with Shuttle Direct. Our expert drivers will get you and your luggage safely to your resort – all you have to do is relax and take in the spectacular scenery en route.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for an affordable transfer from Geneva to Chamonix, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.