Chamonix is as much about the spectacular views as it is about sensational, serious skiing. Dominated by the mighty Mont Blanc, this alpine resort is surrounded by severe peaks and valleys that are as glorious to look at, as they are to ski on. The skiing is so good that Chamonix is where the first Winter Olympics took place, in 1924, and where that thrilling ski chase took place by James Bond in The World is Not Enough, but Chamonix has also been a summer playground since the 18th century.
Summer pleasures now include all the necessary for an adventure holiday, from white water rafting and paragliding to canyoning and mountain biking. For a ski resort, Chamonix has some notable history, beautifully displayed at the Musée Alpin. Situated in an old palace, the museum traces the development of Chamonix from the first tourists who came to admire the glaciers and scenery, through to the golden age of winter sports and the resort's transformation into a serious skiing destination.
For other alternative views of the dramatic scenery, take the tiny train up the mountain leading to an ice cave carved into a glacier, or simply overlook it all from a cable car - heady pleasures indeed.