Chamonix is a traditional alpine town and is as different from any purpose-built resort as you can get. It covers a large area – from Les Houches, the first village as you drive up from the valley to Argentiere at the far end is 13 miles (21 km). Each area has its own character and ski access but it is true to say that the ski areas are less well connected than in many resorts.

This is a cosmopolitan town with incredible scenery – the mountains dominate with Mont Blanc 15780 feet (4,810 m) towering over the south, and Le Brevent 8284 feet (2,525m) on the north of the valley. It is the home of Alpinism and you’ll find monuments and statues to the heroes of climbing such as Balmat and Paccard who first climbed Mont Blanc in 1786.

The center which is partly pedestrianized is vibrant and there are a plethora of shops, bars, and restaurants. This is a town that lives and breathes sport so you’ll see climbers, mountaineers, skiers, boarders, and cyclists all year round – the place inspires you to want to do more.

Chamonix is only a short transfer from Geneva and Italy is just a drive away through the Mont Blanc tunnel so you’ll notice elements of Swiss and Italian culture in the buildings and in the food.

Photo Credit: Monica Dalmasso