Chamonix is set amongst some of the most dramatic peaks in the world and is seen by many as the originator of many skiing and alpine sports.
France's oldest ski resort is a busy community of 10,000 residents at the foot of Mont Blanc. The town's setting, beneath the cliffs and tumbling glaciers of the Mont Blanc massif is tremendous. Its old buildings add to the atmosphere and have kept their sedate Victorian and more fanciful Belle Epoque look.
The busy high street of Chamonix provides probably the best shopping in The Alps with almost all the leading ski and mountain equipment brands having their flagship stores in the town - NorthFace, Quicksilver, Millet and Salomon to name but a few.
Beyond this there are also many other shop's, galleries and cafe's, so whether it's a simple souvenir, speciality Savoyard food's or a classic French pastry, every taste is catered for.
At the centre of it all stands the statue of the young hunter Jacques Balmat showing de Saussure the way up Mont Blanc.
Chamonix also has its own leisure centre, indoor climbing area and many spas to choose from. There is also an ice skating rink, a cinema and a bowling alley.
The Alpine museum is also worth visiting and often has good temporary exhibitions. There's also an open air market at Chamonix every Saturday morning, at Argentière on Sundays and at Les Houches on Mondays.