The valley of the Mont Blanc

The beautiful Chamonix valley stretches about twenty miles. It is dominated by the Mont-Blanc to the south and bordered by the Aiguilles Rouges to the north. Chamonix has long been a world reference of mountaineering is the meeting place for lovers of mountains and nature.

Chamonix: the heart of the Alps

At the heart of the Alps, and at the foot of the legendary Mont Blanc, Chamonix is a town located in the mountain valley of the Arve. The proximity (88 km) from the international airport of Geneva greatly facilitates international exchanges.

About fifty miles long, the Chamonix valley is presented in three levels, located on three different altitudes: 1000 m for the “plateau” of Chamonix, in the 1200 meters and 1400 meters from Argentière to that of the Tour.

Bordering the valley, there is the massive red needles, peaking at less than 3000 meters, and, on the other side, the Mont Blanc the highest mountain in Western Europe: 4807 meters.
Chamonix is bordered Servoz, Vallorcine, Les Houches, Passy and St. Gervais in France. It also has borders with Switzerland and Italy.

Ski area

The Chamonix valley is unique. Chamonix acquired its reputation long before the appearance of skiing. Since 1920, there skiing in one of the most beautiful ski areas in the world.

In Chamonix there are four major ski areas. In winter, skiing in all its forms is practiced in the Chamonix valley. There are many ski slopes and cross country skiing. Ski jumping is done on the board of Grepon, close to the Aiguille du Midi, and the springboard to Mount Bossons. The municipality has 47 lifts and 182 km has ski slopes.

– Les Grands Montets (1235 m – 3300 m)

The runs on three sides (the Argentiere glacier, and during Lognan) offer many choices of trails and superb off-piste. Skiing or snowboarding, you can drag near a glacier and take advantage of excellent snow conditions until May. For freestyle fans, a new snowpark and boardercross are open to the field of Lognan.

– Domaine Brévent / Flégère (1030 m – 2525 m)

These two areas are connected by a cable car and is a beautiful site. Facing south, it invites you to enjoy a variety of slopes facing the Mont-Blanc.

– Domaine de Balme (1453 m – 2270 m)

In a relaxed atmosphere at the start of the Tour of villages and Vallorcine, Domaine de Balme offers superb skiing on two sides. The sector Charamillon, wide tracks smooth face the Chamonix valley, while the sector Vallorcine allows skiing in the trees on the threshold of the Swiss border.

– Domaine des Houches (950 m – 1900 m) : a ski close to nature.

In the heart of Chamonix at the foot of Brévent, two lifts and a rolling carpet welcome beginners and children for their first turns. Artificial snow and kindergarten.


In the Quaternary period, the valley is covered with ice, and it is only recently that man gets into these remote locations. Ligurians Ceutrons, and Celtesse Allobroges succeed in the valley After experiencing the influence of the Romans, the people share the land cultivated with Burgundian invaders. In 1032, Chamonix, attached in Geneva, is part of the Kingdom of Burgundy in 1091 but its history begins when the Monastery of St. Michael the Cluse (Piedmont) receives the territory of the Count Aimone of Geneva.

The twelfth century saw the arrival of monks in Chamonix and the creation of a priory. For centuries, they will try to administer the valley, often challenging the claims of Chamonix which rebellions were frequent.

In 1741, the first tourists arrive, Windham and Pocock. Chamonix is then a closed valley where farmers cultivate the land barren and cold. Their story has excited the Mer de Glace, and is published in various literary journals in Europe. At that time, glaciers descend still very low, invading the plots of cultivated land. Only a few hunters may, with caution in such inhospitable places.

Curiosity of scientists, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a new era for the valley. In 1760, the naturalist Horace Benedict de Saussure, Geneva is a trip to Chamonix and climbs to Brévent where he discovered the Mont-Blanc, which has never been climbed until then. He promises a great reward to the first that will show him the “path” to achieve this.

Finally August 8, 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard tread for the first time the roof of Europe.

Also in 1786, is the end of the Priory for Chamonix.

Soon, many personalities, such as Victor Hugo, George Sand, Moore, the first King of the Belgians Albert … make the ascent of Mont Blanc, and contribute to the spread of his fame.

To drive these visitors on the mountain, the mountain people offer their services, coming together, from 1821 in the Compagnie des Guides.

In 1860, Savoy became French is visited by the Emperor Napoleon III. In the early twentieth century, built the first cable, and then, gradually, the different lifts and in 1924 the first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix.

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