With the pearly white peaks of the Mont Blanc massif as its sensational backdrop, being an icon comes naturally to Chamonix. First ‘discovered’ by Brits William Windham and Richard Pococke in 1741, this is the Mecca of mountaineering, its birthplace, its flag-bearer. It is also a wintertime playground of epic proportions that entices Olympic champions and hard-core skiers to its pistes, and party-mad boarders to its boot-stompin’ bars.
Even if you and your karabiner aren’t quite ready to scale ‘the big one’ just yet and your technique doesn’t quite match that of 007 in his stunt-riddled ski chase in The World Is Not Enough, there is no resisting the gravitational pull of those mountains. Whether slaloming La Vallée Blanche like a pro or almost colliding with perpendicular cliffs on the vertigo-inducing Aiguille du Midi cable car, there’s a whole lot of adrenalin and, yes, a dash of Bond in every trip to Chamonix.
Best places to stay in Chamonix
Snow business: 5 alternative winter sports and where to try them
Whether you’re a winter sport daredevil or only in it for the mulled wine, dust off your mittens for these alternative winter sports. Give standard skiing and snowboarding a wide berth with a few frosty favourites perfect for beginners, or test your snowy sport expertise by scaling ice or soaring up high...
Chamonix destination guides
Mont Blanc Classic
A classic self guided supported walk in the Alps through France, Switzerland and Italy
Chamonix and Mont Blanc
Cross the Switzerland-France border on this day trip from Geneva to Chamonix, one of the most famous villages in the French Alps. You'll drive through the mountains, ride the cable car to Aiguille du Midi for breathtaking views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alps (not available from November 4 to December 20), and ride the charming red train to Montenvers.