Chamonix, set high in the Arve Valley amongst the magnificent
mountainous landscape of the Alps, is internationally renowned both for its
winter sports facilities and as a fantastic mountain resort.
The dramatic valley was first mentioned in 1091, when it
belonged to a Benedictine Priory. Very little else is known about
Chamonix's early history; in fact it only became more widely known
in the 18th century, when scientific explorers Dr Richard Pococke
and William Windham published an account of their time in the area,
during which they explored the Mer de Glace glacier. A few years
later, the first successful ascent of Mont Blanc - Europe's
loftiest peak - was made from Chamonix.
The beauty of the area had not gone unnoticed by either of these
parties, and as a result there was a great increase in the number
of people that came to visit. Chamonix was soon a chic resort - and
the town cemented its place in history by hosting the first ever
Winter Olympics in 1924.
Today the pretty town remains as popular as ever, and with its
historic core of baroque churches and idyllic chapels, along with a
charming main street, it is easy to see why.