Chamonix-Mont-Blanc: The international capital of Mountaineering
Chamonix was a sleepy Savoyard village nestled at the foot of Mont Blanc until 1741 when William Windham and Richard Pococke arrived in search of adventure. The two young British aristocrats clambered up the local glacier, explored the nearby mountains and subsequently penned such a romantic picture of the region in their journals that they fired the imagination of their fellow countrymen. For the next century and more—Anglo-French wars permitting—Chamonix became an essential stop for English travelers making the Grand Tour of Europe. Alpine tourism had arrived and Chamonix became its capital.