Chamonix Mont Blanc is a summer and winter holiday destination popular the world over, and it’s not difficult to see why. A huge diversity of languages and cultures can be identified in this ancient mountain town, but there is one common theme that brings them all together; a love for mountaineering and the legends and ethics that go with it.
Situated at 1035m above sea level, Chamonix is the largest of four mountain towns that run the length of the valley from Servoz (780m) to Le Tour at 2200m, but it is the fact that it sits right at the foot of the infamous Mont Blanc that gives it it’s well-deserved title of Extreme Sports Capital of the World. Adventurers can find themselves elevated to 3842m within minutes, thanks to the lift systems of the Aiguille du Midi, enabling them to access the phenomenal high mountain terrain of the Mont Blanc Massif.
A huge range of activities are on offer in Chamonix, from climbing and mountaineering, to snowboarding and skiing. Each activity offers a range of levels from beginner to hard core professional, making the sports available so accessible and enjoyable to tourists from all walks of life. Whether you are a family staying in a luxury chalet, or a group of friends sharing a Chamonix ski apartment, you are sure to enjoy this wonderful place.
But Chamonix is not just considered an extreme sport destination. It is a wonderful town, full of energy, history and beauty. When two young British aristocrats William Windham and Richard Pocock happened upon ‘Chamouni’ in 1741, they had no idea that their visit to this small mountain village would have an impact on the whole of Europe. Their tales of the mysterious Mer de Glace attracted wealthy tourists from all over.
Chamonix ski accommodation has quite a history, with the first guest house opened in 1770, marking the beginning of the hotel trade, and the momentum has progressed since then. The first luxury hotel was built in 1816 and the hotel industry continued to thrive throughout the 1800s, spurned on by the development of the tourism industry, the creation of the Compagnie des Guides, and the opening of the Montenvers Mer de Glace railway in 1908. The early 1900s saw the opening of three spectacular palaces, and during the next six years 39 other hotels were opened.
The world-wide recognition of this little mountain town and it’s big mountains went from strength to strength, and in 1924 it proudly hosted the first Winter Olympic games. This saw the need for better access to the mountains for tourists, and the Glacier cable cars, Brevent, Aiguille du Midi and Flegere cable cars were opened. Today, there are four main ski areas, and access to all of them is included on the Chamonix Ski Pass.
Chamonix town has grown under the influence of tourism, and has developed over several different architectural periods, which can be seen in it’s diverse heritage of wonderful historical buildings of traditional farmhouses and ancient churches, which contrast against art deco facades, and stunning modern Chamonix luxury chalets – all of which come together to contribute towards Chamonix’s unique charm.
Today, tourists come from far and wide to experience this wonderful place. It is enjoyed by all during the summer months as well as the winter. Typical winter ski holidays are enjoyed here in the traditional way, with plenty of Chamonix catered chalets available to choose from.