The modern era of tourism in the 'Vallée de Chamouny' started in 1741 when two English explorers, William Windham and Richard Pocock 'discovered' Montenvers (bottom of La Vallée Blanche and La Mer de Glace 'the Sea of Ice').
Their enthusiastic tales of the trip (documented in “Voyages aux Glaciers de Savoie”) whetted the appetite of many a would-be wanderer and undoubtedly initiated the flow of tourism into the valley. From this date on the mountains were revered by those who visited, but were also there to be conquered.
Chamonix has been the base for numerous World and Olympic champions in skiing, snowboarding, and climbing - including James Couttet, Charles Bozon, Lucienne Smith-Couttet, and more recently Karine Ruby. Over the years many of Chamonix's streets and landmarks have been named after its heroes and heroines, names such as Balmat, Paccard, Edward Whymper, Joseph Ravanel, Jean-Esteril, Charlet-Straton, Vallot, Bozon, and many more, some of whom having given their lives saving and protecting others in what is an environment we will never fully tame....
More of the history of Chamonix can be discovered at the Musée Alpin (the Alpine Museum).