Located high in the French Alps and dominated by the stunning Mont Blanc, Chamonix has been a popular winter holiday destination for centuries, having hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924. Prior to this, Chamonix was an extremely popular base for mountaineering and this legacy continues to the present day. Set in a valley that stretches 20 kilometres from Les Houches to Le Tour, Chamonix provides one of the most stunning settings for luxury winter holidays in the Alps.
The bustling town, made up a series of satellite villages extending down the valley, has a car-free centre full of atmosphere with cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings as well as scores of luxury chalets, hotels and apartments. Shops sell everything from souvenirs to high-tech climbing equipment and there are plenty of bars and restaurants for post-ski dining and socialising. Art, culture and music festivals are annual events and sure to keep you entertained during your stay.
With its diverse ski area, incorporating skiing through the trees, wide open pistes, off-piste and beginner’s slopes, Chamonix has infinite possibilities for all snow sports enthusiasts. However, it is experts who will really be in their element here, with extensive steep terrain and deep powder to negotiate. The glorious off-piste is best explored with a local guide. From Grands Montets to Brevent and Les Houches, each ski area is unique but all offer staggering views of the ‘roof’ of Europe and its surrounding summits.
Families and adrenaline-junkies alike will find an array of activities to keep them occupied if skiing is not on the agenda. Take to the air, paragliding over the mountain peaks, recharge your batteries in one of the many spas or take a tour of the Grotte de Glace (ice cave) and Glaciarium at Montenvers. An indoor Olympic ice rink is sure to inspire any budding skaters and there are plenty of designated zones for sledging too.