Here are our subjective, non-sponsored, probably hugely contested notes of food and drink places in Chamonix village.
First, a bit of “grounding” for the directionally challenged.
The main street of the village is a pedestrian street called Rue du Docteur Paccard. There’s everything on it in terms of retail, from sporting goods, to sunglasses, wine shops, pharmacies, cafés, regional food shops, even restaurants, bars and small grocery stores. The street extends to Avenue Ravanel le Rouge to the West and to Rue Joseph Vallot to the East. Definitely go the extra distance and explore these two “end” streets. Lots of worthwhile shops and restaurants at these two ends which a lot of visitors miss! Another great street is Avenue Michel Croz which connects to Rue du Docteur Paccard around the main pharmacy, near the clock. From the clock, just head South and you’re on this Avenue. The other important street – with some of the restaurants, and most of the bars in the centre of town – is Rue des Moulins. From that same clock, you go East about 10 meters, then turn right (after the Irish bar) and you’re on the Rue des Moulins.
A great café is Aux Petits Gourmands on Rue du Docteur Paccard near the centre. Elevation 1904 is good too. It’s across from the train station. There are a few other cafés on the (extended) Rue du Docteur Paccard, and most are pretty good for a coffee and pastry.
Now the important stuff…
For other drinks, almost all bars and clubs in the very centre are on Rue des Moulins. The town slowly moved most bars to that street so that they wouldn’t disturb the residences around the centre. Chamonix is actually a very quiet, calm, low-key, “down to earth” town (especially for a “ski” town). That’s why we love it!
There’s also a few cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs on Avenue de l’Aiguille du Midi. It connects to Rue du Docteur Paccard towards the West side and it runs South from there. The most famous club (or infamous) on the avenue is L’Amnesia. Goes hard until sunrise most days. Some really excellent restaurants on the left side as you head towards L’Aiguille du Midi.
There’s a “Petit Casino” on a lot of the main streets. They carry all of the basics. For produce selection, a fish counter, a cheese counter, and a butcher, there is the Super-U on Rue Joseph Vallot. It is THE grocery place in the centre. There is also a Carrefour on the highway, but a bit of a hike or drive (3 minutes). Actually on Rue du Docteur Paccard, there are 4 or 5 grocery stores, so easy to find one for something.
Keep in mind, a lot of retail stores close between 12:30 and 3:00pm everyday (some exceptions, and hours vary by store), however the grocery stores are usually open through this “siesta”, but they close at 7:30pm or so. Actually, except for bars and restaurants, the whole town centre shuts down by 8pm with the exception of le Rue des Moulins. The grocery stores and bakeries do open early though. Usually by 7am – 8am.
A good place to buy local meats and cheeses (and wines if you want) is Le Refuge Payot. They have two locations on Rue du Docteur Paccard, but the one more in the centre / West is the biggest. Seems a bit “touristy”, but really isn’t, and good food and service.
Enjoy and have fun!!!