Chamonix

In Photos | Charmed in Chamonix, France

Stunning views of Europe's highest peak, vintage trains and Frankenstein—there's a lot happening in this posh ski town.

Nestled at the base of the almost 16,000-foot-tall Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak, the town of Chamonix has a long-standing reputation as a posh winter-sports destination. It hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924 and attracts skiing and hiking enthusiasts from around the world. But beyond postcard-perfect Alpine views from luxurious log cabins, there are many intriguing tales in Chamonix.

Since two young English aristocrats first discovered the region in the mid-1700s, the town has been home to many a famous name. The first mountaineers to scale Mont Blanc—a colourful mural in town honours them— called it home, and in the early 1800s, author Mary Shelley visited with her husband P.B. Shelley. It is the raw beauty of rock and ice of the famous Mer de Glace, which she described as “the most desolate place in the world,” that gave her inspiration for Frankenstein. Today, a ride on a vintage rack and pinion railway takes visitors to the glacier.

  • Kounteya Sinha is a mountaineer, explorer and an urban nomad with a compulsive knack of running away from home since the age of five. After being a journalist for 16 years, his latest medium of storytelling is through images that he says nourishes his soul.

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