The bustling, cosmopolitan town of Chamonix (known officially as Chamonix-Mont-Blanc) is the primary French base for outdoor activities on or around Mont Blanc. “Cham” throngs with visitors throughout the year, and although it may have long since had its village identity submerged in a sprawl of tourist development, flashy restaurants and boutiques, the stunning backdrop of glaring snowfields, eerie blue glaciers and ridges of sharp peaks that surround Mont Blanc are ample compensation.

Naturally, the mountains provide the main sights and activities, but on days when the bad weather sets in, there are a few things to do in town. Otherwise, it’s a case of just chilling out in one of the town’s many convivial restaurants or bars.