Located at the foot of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is the normal starting point for the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Just an hour from Geneva Airport, it is easily accessible and has a large number of good hotels and restaurants located throughout the 15km long valley stretching from Les Houches to Argentiere. There are many activities to take part in – whether just wandering through the town or paragliding from the top of a mountain. Dubbed ‘the Adventure Capital of Europe’, it is great place to spend a few days and admire the huge mountains of the Mont Blanc range.
Chamonix is a year-round mountain resort. In the winter it attracts skiers from all over the world who come for the challenging off-piste ski mountaineering routes. In summer the weather is warm and people come to take part in walking, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, white water rafting and paragliding.
The Mont Blanc massif is the highest mountain range in Western Europe and the summit of Mont Blanc is 4810m above sea level and was first climbed in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard. Since then it has had thousands of ascents and each year mountaineers come to climb the peak by one of several routes. Chamonix is home to a lot of famous climbers and many become Mountain Guides taking their clients climbing throughout the Mont Blanc range.
Soaring high above Chamonix town is the highest cable car in Europe – the famous Aiguille du Midi: you can take a spectacular cable car ride to the top of the Midi at 3842m that gives you the finest view in the Alps. At this height you are among the great Alpine peaks and glaciers with unimpeded views from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn almost 100km away. The top station of the cable car has recently had a glass floor fitted, allowing you to step out above the void below.
Chamonix and the Mont Blanc massif offers some of the best trekking in the world, from gentle day-walks to tough multi-day treks. Our hikes take us through thick conifer forests, high Alpine meadows and over rugged cols. There are breath-taking views of snow-clad peaks, tumbling glaciers and the soaring granite spires above Chamonix. On any hiking route you will see a variety of views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding peaks, such as Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and the great spire of Les Drus. Early in the season there are brightly coloured Alpine flowers and it is not unusual to see marmots, chamois and birds of prey.
There is a huge range of hotels to suit all tastes and budgets from small bed and breakfasts to five-star hotels with swimming pools and restaurants. Salamander Adventures stay at a three-star hotel in Les Houches with a garden and swimming pool. There are a range of restaurants in the Chamonix Valley offering classic French dishes, local Savoyard specialities and fine dining. There is a strong café culture spilling out on to the pavements and squares where you can enjoy coffee with Mont Blanc as your view. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of specialist patisseries selling classic French pastries, tartes aux fine, mille-feuille and macarons.
To find out more about Chamonix, the Chamonix Valley and the Mont Blanc massif, check out the following links: