One of France's first ski resorts, Chamonix is something of an iconic destination, welcoming skiers since 1906. Bordering Mont Blanc, it's proximity to the mountain provides a pull, yet its the dazzling array of pistes that has positioned it as a go-to for experienced skiers on the trail of fresh, virgin powder. Its endless lift system extends up to 3,842metres (that’s 2, 807 metres above the resort) with highlights including the 20km glacier run of Vallée Blanché. It’s little wonder that locals refer to Chamonix as ‘Le Grand Ski’- If you plan it properly you wont even need to stop for lunch. With the terrain divided between a number of smaller resorts, including Les Houchés and Argentier, no two days in Chamonix are the same.
Increasingly, Chamonix has also evolved into a mecca for extreme adventurer sports, with expert providers offering everything from mountain climbing to paragliding, dog sledding, canyoning and speed-riding - he latest craze combining paragliding with skiing for die-hard dare-devils.
Rather than purpose-built like many alpine towns, the charismatic village of Chamonix has evolved organically, and now combines fantastic restaurants with boutique hotels and a buzzing bar scene. It’s a treat to stroll through its pedestrianized town centre and stop for coffee and a pain-au-chocolat at one of the café’s bordering the tree-lined banks of the river, or visit its open-air market on Saturday mornings. Its proximity to Geneva and its year-round active lifestyle has attracted a vibrant mix of locals and internationals to settle and set up shop, creating a uniquely cosmopolitan, colourful and dynamic entrepreneurial scene amongst the 10,000-something residents.