I say Chamonix is a “trip” because you need to vist. It’s one of the most beautiful spots on earth. The town itself is lovely, and it’s surrounded by the towering Alps.
I also say it’s a trip, as in “what a crazy place, man,” because it’s unlike any other city I’ve ever visited. At times it seems like there are more people walking around in glacier boots than tennis shoes. Bright-colored Gore-Tex jackets are the standard uniform.
That’s because the town is an outdoor Mecca. A cable car leaves straight from town and in just a few minutes hauls passengers several thousand feet to an expansive glacier right below the 15,781 ft Mont Blanc. Up top, people have access to all sorts of world-class climbing and skiing routes and thousands of people take advantage of the easy access each year. If skiing or climbing isn’t your thing, the area has also become a favorite for trail runners.
There are several towns here in the United States that are known for attracting an outdoor crowd; Boulder, Salt Lake City, Bend, etc., but none of these towns can hold a candle to the pure density of outdoor enthusiasts that you’ll find in Chamonix.