Base station for the challenging Grands Montets ski area, Argentiere is a pleasant village in a scenic setting 8 km up the valley from Chamonix town. Although much smaller and quieter than its famous municipal neighbour, this popular base for mountain guides and seasonnaires does have its own distinct and convivial ambiance.
A handful of traditional family-run hotels lie within strolling distance of the original heart of the old village, plus there are some newer and more extensive accommodation complexes closer to the Grands Montets area ski-lifts terminals, which are located a little way out on the south-eastern fringes of the village; this layout does feel a little spread out, but it's no more than an undemanding walk or short bus ride from one end of the village to the other.
Argentiere's main local ski area, Les Grands Montets, is one of several separate ski areas in the Chamonix Valley, all accessible with the 'Mont-Blanc Unlimited' or 'Skipass Mont-Blanc' full area lift passes; the local 'Le Pass' lift pass covers the main Grands Montets slopes plus the nearest neighbouring ski areas, but it excludes the uppermost [second] section of the local linked Lognan-Grands Montets cable cars. The main local slopes include some good mid-altitude red and blue pistes plus a handful of steep black runs, but the biggest draw here is the surrounding off-piste terrain and the exhilarating routes around the Glaciers de Lognan/Argentiere which are accessed via the separately-ticketed upper 'Grands Montets' cable car.
There is also a separate little zone of nursery slopes suitable for beginners, in the suburb of Les Chosalets, quite close to Argentiere's base area.
The next closest ski area is that of La Balme at Le Tour, just 4 km further up the valley, which offers a good selection of less demanding blues and reds, as well as the best beginners' area in this valley. In the opposite direction, towards Chamonix, the interlinked ski areas of Le Brevent and La Flegere cover a wider range of pistes and contain excellent lift-served freeriding terrain which is particularly popular with local snowboarders.
Off the slopes and apres ski
Nightlife in Argentiere is generally quite laid-back and unpretentious, although there are certainly a couple of well-established venues which are renowned for their buzzing early-evening apres-ski scene, The Office being perhaps the best-known and most popular of these. Mostly though, evenings out here revolve around some chilled drinks in a friendly bar or two and/or dining out in one of a handful of good-value local restaurants, most of which specialise in traditional Savoyard fare; Le Bistrot du Dahu and Carnotzet are well-rated. Occasional live-music sessions further animate some pub evenings, but for a greater choice of more full-on nightlife you'll need to take a taxi to the more cosmospolitan attractions of Chamonix, just 8 km down the valley from Argentiere.
Bars and clubs
La Yaute Café