Chamonix Mont-Blanc: an Introduction
Chamonix is located in the Haute Savoie department of the Rhone-Alpes region of south-east France and has a reputation as the european capital of Extreme Adventure Sports. At 1035 metres above sea level, it's the largest town in a deep and narrow valley that runs from Servoz (780m) at the south-west entrance of the valley to the Col du Balme (2200m) above the village of Le Tour, at the north end of the valley. Chamonix's "Extreme" reputation lends much to the Mont Blanc.
The Mont Blanc Massif creates the south east side of the Chamonix Valley. Two separate lift systems enable adventurers to rise from the valley floor to 3300m and 3842m, in a matter of minutes. It is this fast access to high mountain terrain, that makes Extreme Adventure so accessible.
Chamonix is more than the 'Capital of Extreme', it is a summer and winter mountain resort. A busy day in summer will see more visitors than a busy day in winter. In summer, Chamonix attracts walkers, predominantly from France, but many from all around the world. Climbing and Mountaineering are both very popular, with a wide range of difficulty, from easy beginner to hard core Extreme.
Winter activities of snowboarding and skiing offer the same range of difficulty, easy beginner slopes to Extreme Off Piste.
Chamonix is highly accessible; Geneva Airport is just 1:15 hr by road and Geneva is beautifully located at the centre of western Europe. Also, Chamonix is a gateway to north west Italy, though the 11.6 km Tunnel du Mont Blanc which has taken road traffic under the Massif since 1965.