Chamonix, France

The Rhone-Alpes or French Alps region is home to several world class winter destinations like the commune of Chamonix. This ski resort, which is famous as the site of the 1st Winter Olympics in 1924, is situated at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe.

The Chamonix Valley is famous for its skiing areas, including Brevent, Domaine de Balme, Flegere, Les Grands Montets, Les Houches, and Vallorcine. Chamonix has an assortment of slopes catering to all levels of skiers, snow boarders, and other types of winter recreational and sports enthusiasts. Depending on the weather conditions, the slopes are usually open from the months of December until May, with no options for skiing during the summer months.

French Alps, Chamonix, ItalyChamonix boasts of several natural and man made attractions that have drawn visitors from nearby Italy and other locations. The spectacular Mer de Glace or Ice Sea, is located in the Chamonix Valley. At 7 kilometers in length, it is easily the largest glacier in France. Visitors can enter an artificial grotto near the glacier to explore an interesting array of ice sculptures set in a network of caves.

The Montenvers Railway traverses the length of the Chamonix Valley up to an altitude of 1913 meters upon reaching the Aiguilles de Chamoniz. The railway station in Montenvers has a restaurant and café with unobstructed views of the European Alps and the Mer de Glace.

Visitors can take the Téléphérique de Aiguille du Midi Cable Car, which soars to a resplendent view of Montblanc at the height of 3810 meters. This cable car starts its journey from the Téléphérique de Aiguille du Midi in France and ends at nearby Helbronner in Italy. The area is a good place to paraglide or to find hiking spots.

The Brevent Cable Car and the Bellevue Cable Car in Les Houches offers an alternative view of the mountains and the Chamonix valley. For a visit to the Swiss region of the Alps, visitors can take the Le Tour Cable Car which also transports to the nearest hiking point of the Le Tour glacier.

Chamonix has two museums that are worth exploring: the Musée des Cristaux and the Musée Alpin. The Musée des Cristaux features a permanent exhibit on the various crystals and minerals from the Chamonix and Mont Blanc area. For history buffs, the Musée Alpin has a photography display which chronicles the history and development of the region, from 1898 until the present day.