Chamonix, as it is commonly known to the non-French, is a commune high in the Rhone-Alpes region of southeastern France, nestled among the towering peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges. Its official French name is Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, taken from the nearby peak, and it is known as one of the premier ski resort towns in the entire world. Mont Blanc, for example, is the third most visited natural site in the world according to the town’s main website. Loved by winter sports enthusiasts from around the world, this is not only a premier ski destination but also one of the most legendary mountaineering locations known to man. Since hosting the official first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix has remained a permanent fixture in the winter sports catalogue, but there is much more to see and do here than just skiing and mountain climbing.
While it is true that skiing and mountain climbing are the two main focal points of Chamonix, the town is well-known for being a cosmopolitan shopping center, although the prices can be a little beyond the budget-oriented traveler’s normal fare. The food and wine are typical French fare, meaning the wine is superb and the food is the stuff of legends. In the summer months Chamonix transforms into a hiking headquarters, offering access to a wide variety of trails through the nearby mountains, whether you choose glacier hiking or just trail hiking. Chamonix is also home to the Aiguille du Midi, which was long one of the highest cable cars in the world, and is still one of the highest, offering an additional adrenaline rush if you are the type of person who can handle a ride in a cable car strung out above gaping chasms. Regardless of your level of athleticism, Chamonix offers a wide variety of opportunities for every type of traveler, year-round, and whether you want a ski trip or a simple mountain hiking adventure you have access to both.