In the shadows of the 15,781-ft Mont Blanc, Chamonix has been welcoming mountaineers and climbers since the 18th century. Hosting the first Winter Olympics in 1924 put it on the map, and the alpine town has since grown into the capital of all-mountain skiing and snowboarding, especially for experts. Unlike some of its purpose-built neighbors, the characterful Chamonix is a charming town with year-round appeal and a pedestrianized center that invites you to explore its fanciful Belle Epoque buildings from the side of the Arve River. Come to Chamonix for the vast slopes and stay for the cozy charm – and do it all in your finest fashion.
Touch down on the helipad at Le Chalet Mont-Blanc to be greeted by panoramic views of Mont Blanc from each of the chalet’s 12 bedrooms. A massage room, cinema, well-equipped gym and wine cellar sit across five floors that feature unrivaled service and exceptional attention to detail. The traditional blue shutters at the five-star Hôtel Mont-Blanc have welcomed travelers since the mid-19th century. Though its opulent high-ceiling bedrooms have had a contemporary update from French interior designer Sybille de Margerie, the chic Chamonix address has lost none of its natural allure – the spectacular views of one of Europe’s highest mountains. firefly-collection.com, scottdunn.com
On- and off-piste
With over 90 miles of pistes and 15,000 acres of off-piste skiing, the range at Chamonix is expansive and versatile, to say the least. Winding runs among the trees offer good sport in bad visibility, and the big glacier runs at high altitudes often keep the resort running into May and beyond. For accomplished skiers, the trophy experience is the famous Vallée Blanche, a 12-mile, off-piste glacier descent into Chamonix town that delivers some of the most spectacular scenery the Mont Blanc range has to offer.
Regional restaurants pride themselves on using local ingredients, so there is no shortage of eateries showcasing the traditional Savoyard cuisine. The Michelin star Hameau Albert 1er (in the five-star hotel of the same name) offers exquisite dining with a wine cellar filled with some 20,000 bottles, while Le Matafan, specializes in contemporary, elegantly presented dishes made using seasonal ingredients.
Michael Kors Polarized Chamonix sunglasses, $139
goop x Perfect Moment Chamonix ski jacket, $840
Perfect Moment ski pant, $560
J Lindeberg wool Coolmax Sweater, $295
Oakley Airbrake XL Factory Pilot snow goggles, $280
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, $265 for 50ml