1741. Discovery of the Chamonix Valley by two young English aristocrats, William Windham and Richard Pocock, little did they know that their story about this small mountain village and its glaciers would spread across the whole of Europe.
1770. The first hostel opened up and marked the very beginning of the simultaneous development of the hotel trade and mountain expeditions.
1786. On 8 August, Jacques Balmat and Doctor Michel Gabriel Paccard were the first to reach the summit of Mont Blanc.
1816. Construction of the first luxury hotel, followed by three other luxury high-standing hotels which were to rise from the peaceful oat and rye fields in the valley.
1821. The Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix was established.
1901. On 1 July, the railway line was officially opened between Le Fayet and Chamonix. The opening of this route opened up the valley in winter and made the venue into a real winter sports resort, with Doctor Payot being the precursor in the village.
1908. On 9 August, the Montenvers Train began operating.
1924. The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix.
1927. The Planpraz ski lift was opened.
1934. Chamonix Golf Course was opened.
1936. The Bellevue cable-car opened up towards the Houches.
1954. The infamous cable-car was opened at Aiguille du Midi leading towards the sublime Blanche Valley and Mont Blanc.
1965. The Mont-Blanc Tunnel began operating, and was a prime point for travel to and from Italy.
1971. The Prarion cable-car was opened.
2004. The Vallorcine cable-car was opened.
Chamonix, a temple for thrill-seeking sports lovers. Need some fresh air ? Speed flying, paragliding, hand gliding, etc.
Everything is on offer to allow you to fly like a bird over the Mont-Blanc and its surroundings. Whether professional or amateur, nothing can replace the thrill of taking off from Planpraz, an exceptional location opposite Mont Blanc, which is much coveted due to its altitude.
Or maybe a spot of mountain biking ? A total of around twenty marked cycle paths, from 500m to 1500m in height, for all levels, crisscross the villages and towns of Les Houches, Chamonix Mont-Blanc and Vallorcine. There is also a bike park at Les Houches as well as the steeper tracks at Brévent.
Have a head for heights ? The rocks around Chamonix attract climbers from all over the world of all levels and ages. An essential climbing school is available at Les Gaillands, located just 2km from Chamonix, close to the Lac des Gaillands.
How about some canyoning ? Enjoy an entirely fun and aquatic course in the Torrent de Barberine, with its jumps, abseil descents and toboggans !
Feel like a long hike followed by a hearty meal ? Chamonix boasts some 350km of walks with 160 iteneraries adapted to all types of walkers and hikers.
Whether you want to take some time to pick some bilberries or set a good pace for training, or go for a family stroll or a longer hike with evening stopovers in the heart of nature. When you return, lovers of gourmet food will be treated to a delight.
Award-winning restaurants and chefs revisit some of the finest local products and purest Savoy-traditions.
One week will not be enough to savour the full range of local foods, raclettes, tartiflettes, farçons and other fondue dishes !
Once evening falls, Rue des Moulins is the heart of Chamonix at night, with evening revellers flocking into the small cosy and trendy bars, to enjoy a mojito or glass of fine wine, and soak up the live music. English pubs, discos, small brasseries with 100% pure Chamonix beers, or Savoy-style bars where you can rub shoulders with real mountain residents. There is something to suit any event !
Chamonix is home to an immense selection of magical ski slopes, from the Verte des Houches, where each year a stage of the Skiing World Cup takes place, to the southern slopes of Brévent-Flégère facing Mont-Blanc, as well as the Grands Montets for those who want to venture off piste alongside the Argentière glacier, and of course the magical Blanche Valley, an off piste glacier with a fabulous panorama, accessible from the Aiguille du Midi cable car.
For those who love cross-country skiing, there are two circuits available. Leaving from Chamonix, skiers can go to the village of Les Bois, and from the Argentière circuit it is possible to venture into the forest. An itinerary via Le Lavancher joins the two circuits when there has been sufficient snow.
Silently stroll through the snow so as to try and spot a snow rabbit. Raquetting is one of the best ways of discovering the local animal and plant life which is often camouflaged under the wintery coat.
A sled skimming across the snow covered surface. With children at the rear, and the grownups up front.
The crunch of the snow under the paws of the dog, and the feeling of daily stress flooding away.
Take in the surroundings as ten dogs and a musher take you on a journey, or learn how to ride a dog sled, to live the life of a trapper.
Almost unclassifiable and rather unique due to being comprised of many different trends and waves, including churches, protestant chapels, "Belle Époque" luxury hotels, "Art Déco" facades, traditional farms, imposing villas, old-style chalets adjoining contemporary buildings.
The Aiguille de Midi cable-car, which is the highest in Europe, in just 20 minutes ascends some 2,700 metres ! This is a rather unique voyage some 3,842 metres up to the four panoramic vantage points with a breathtaking view over the highest peaks of France, Switzerland and Italy, not to mention Mont Blanc.
A truly unforgettable experience. The Chamonix Golf Course is located at the bottom of the glacier valley surrounded by the prestigious slopes of the Mont Blanc, Les Aiguilles Rouges and Les Drus. Course length: 6076 m. Par: 72.
Enjoy a descent by luge and adventure playgrounds at Les Planards, as well as pony or horseback rides at Le Paradis des Praz, farmyard visit at Saint-Bernard, skater park, via-ferrata, or ice skating. These are just some of the activities which you can enjoy with the children !
Wondering what to do when it rains? A visit to the Alpin Museum is in store! This is an absolute must-visit for anyone who is passionate about the valley wishing to find out about mountaineering and skiing, mineralogy, cartography as well as boasting a remarkable collection of engravings, lithographies and ancient drawings. The Tairraz Area additionally offers a fun and interactive focus on mountaineering, and also a passionate area focussing on crystals.