Chamonix reached enjoyed its golden age after the 19th century. It had been an important stop about the grand tour of Europe, alongside Paris, Rome and Venice. Along drawn adventurers, scientists and Romantic poets. The centre of Chamonix on the turn of the 20th century had farms alongside the grand hotels. And the town held the inaugural winter Olympics in 1924.
However, using the two great wars Chamonix lost a number of its shine. A few of the grand hotels went bust as well as the town entered into an extended decline.
With the opening of the Mont Blanc tunnel in the 60s linking Chamonix to Italy Chamonix again appeared on the map. And also the advent of extreme skiing, along with pioneers such as Sylvain Saudan, Chamonix was firmly back in the spotlight.
However, it was mainly ski bums and hardy mountaineers who frequented Chamonix in those times. The town had plenty of spit and sawdust pubs, and besides tacky souvenir shops, there were a plethora of mountaineering shops. Recently, however, the city has begun to change.
There's been a lot of investment in Chamonix and its environs. The public places have already been smartened up, the lift systems upgraded and more of an effort has been manufactured to encourage tourists to Chamonix. No more is the town prepared to just sit on its laurels because home of Mont Blanc.
As well as the town undergoing a facial rejuvenation with boutique shopping and chic bars, so too contains the Chamonix accommodation. There is now a wide choice of different accommodation choices from smart hotels right through to luxury catered chalets. And as a result Chamonix has started to attract the sort of clientele that before it might only dream of.