The history of the town of Chamonix is rich and varied. Sitting under the majestic Mont Blanc – the highest peak in the Alps – it’s an inspiring place. It was from here that explorers Michel-Gabriel Paccard and Jacques Balmat first ascended the great mountain back in 1786. After that, the town got its next big break in the Winter Olympics in 1924. Since then, it’s become one of Europe’s premier resorts.
You’ll be amazed at just how much there is to do in Chamonix. Take a look at just some of the ways that you can keep yourself entertained.
Les Houches Ski Resort
Les Houches is one of the many ski resorts in striking distance of Chamonix. This is a great resort for beginners and people who aren’t used to life on the powder. For this reason, the resort is popular with families and you’ll many children here working out how to manage a pair of skis. In total, there are more than 22 slopes all of which run through the area’s pine forests and offer incredible views. If you like cross-country skiing, Les Houches has courses that cater for you too.
Hiking In Le Brevent
The French have done a great job keeping the scenery around Chamonix picture perfect. As such, it’s one of the best places to rent a ski chalet in France, with all sorts of beautiful hikes right from the door. One of the best, perhaps, is found by taking the gondola from Chamonix up to Plan Praz at around 2000m. Here you’ll find a group of well-maintained hiking trails that lead off in many different directions.
If you carry on going up further, you’ll reach the top of Le Brevent, one of the mountains that overlook the village. There are footpaths here too which offer stunning views of the mountains and the surrounding countryside, especially in the summer. Most of the hiking paths in the area are all in view of Mont Blanc, providing you with fantastic views of the summit.
As you might expect, rock climbing is also a major sport in Chamonix, especially in the summer. There are cliffs of granite everywhere, making it something of a rock climber’s paradise. If you travel a couple of miles south of Chamonix, you’ll come across the Gaillands Lake. Here there are all sorts of different climbing routes to try out, from beginner routes to expert. The site has been home to a mountain climbing school since 1936, and so has a great climbing heritage.
Hiking In The Col de Balme
The Col de Balme is a valley near Chamonix which comes to life in the summer. It’s a beautiful green open space, full to the brim with wildflowers and picturesque farms and chalets. As a result, it’s an almost perfect place to go and hike.
If you carry on up the valley, you’ll also come to the trailhead for a couple of mountain biking trails which are open in the summer at Charmillion and Col des Posettes. Just make sure that you’ve got a quality mountain bike.