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Overview

The highest town in the Haute-Savoie encompasses the highest point in Europe – the summit of Mont Blanc. It was the mountain that launched Chamonix into touristic fame, with the first hotels opening there as early as 1770, and the first successful ascent to the summit in 1786. Those who stop to enjoy the village itself on their way to the thrills of the snow-covered mountain will find examples of Belle Époque hotels, Alpine chalets, traditional mountain farmhouses, modern ski lodges and extravagant villas. The first Winter Olympic games were held in Chamonix in 1924, propelling the town into skiing stardom. Today, skiers can choose from the ...

The highest town in the Haute-Savoie encompasses the highest point in Europe – the summit of Mont Blanc. It was the mountain that launched Chamonix into touristic fame, with the first hotels opening there as early as 1770, and the first successful ascent to the summit in 1786. Those who stop to enjoy the village itself on their way to the thrills of the snow-covered mountain will find examples of Belle Époque hotels, Alpine chalets, traditional mountain farmhouses, modern ski lodges and extravagant villas. The first Winter Olympic games were held in Chamonix in 1924, propelling the town into skiing stardom. Today, skiers can choose from the three mountainsides of Grands Montets, the two cablecar-linked villages of Brévent and Flégère and the open snowfields of Le Domaine de Balme, while beginners have three areas on the lower slopes, one with a magic carpet lift for children. Whatever the trail, it is surrounded by breathtaking alpine scenery, which non-skiers can enjoy as well, from cablecars, gondolas and rack railways that climb to panoramic views and glaciers. One of the glaciers has an ice cave carved into its depths, filled with ice sculptures of alpine life in past centuries.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

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Juliette Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Skiing lasts into May.