Chamonix...... one of the oldest and most famous of towns in Europe is the start of your tour around Mont Blanc. If you have the possibility of an extra day or so then spend it here, either at the beginning of your trip or at the end as there is much to see and do.
As well as it's incredible history, the Chamonix valley has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Everywhere you look, every action you take is dominated by amazing mountains on both sides and, in particular, sitting right at the end of the valley, towering over everything else, Mont Blanc, one of the highest mountains in Europe, at four thousand, eight hundred and ten metres high.
Everywhere you stand in this valley your gaze is dragged upwards to it’s utterly incredible jagged mountain surrounds.
The town itself has much history and yet is a normal town, not a ghost town in summer which some ski villages in the Alps become. It is touristy and busy at certain times of year but retains lots of character in it’s streets, and the buzz of adventures and daring exploits fill it's bars and cafes in the evenings.
The first visitors to be attracted here were crystal hunters in the 1700’s, and the beginning of the famous Chamonix Mountain Guides were the local men who knew the valley well and acted as guides for visitors looking for crystals.
In 1786 Mont Blanc was climbed for the first time and in 1924 the first ever winter Olympic Games were held here.
There are many things to see and do here if you have a bit of free time, and this is a good sight for information:
But, knowing that you may have a limited amount of time these are top of our list:
1. The Aiguille du Midi
2. The Mer de Glace ( If you buy a Mont Blanc Mulitpass day ticket rather than just a return on either the Aiguille du Midi or the Mer de Glace, you will be able to use it on all the upllft in the valley.)
3. The Alpine museum
4. The Chamonix Market - see video below. If you are in Chamonix on a Saturday morning then it is worth a quick visit to the market. It runs from 07.30 through to 12.30 and is held on the Place du Mont Blanc, just next to the ENSA building.
Today Chamonix sees visitors from all over the world and is a buzzing vibrant place in both summer and in winter. You will hear every language and you will love being there.
It is famous for the steepness of it’s ski runs and is a mecca and must visit place for mountaineers and walkers.
But, for you, it will be all too short a time for a visit as the first day of your trek is about to start in the morning...........