Rhone-Alpes, Haute-Savoie, Chamonix , France (PhotoDisc)

Swiss Mountain Lane Chamonix (iStockphoto)

View of the Alps from Aiguille du Midi mountain (iStockphoto)

Chamonix valley and French Alps peaks (iStockphoto)

Cable car elevator in French Alps, Chamonix valley (iStockphoto)

Mountain lake (iStockphoto)

Mountain landscape (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Chamonix

Most of us won’t ever soar in a wingsuit, but we can get close in Chamonix, where the Aiguille du Midi cable car takes you from town to nearly 13,000 feet in less than a half-hour. And for the final 4,000 vertical feet up the North Face, no towers prick the landscape. Take in views generally reserved for extreme alpinists, then grab a bite at Summit 3842 or the less pricey “3842” snack bar, with 360-degree vistas of the Swiss, French, and Italian Alps, plus Mont Blanc and its satellite peaks. In summer, hike through wild scenery to historic mountain huts for lunch or an overnight. In winter, schuss the 20-kilometer Vallée Blanche, one of the world’s most spectacular ski runs. Chamonix is a hub for mountain climbers, and you can get a glimpse into their world at Bar Nationale. Just look for the pile of colorful backpacks next to the door.

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