Running the CCC Ultra Trail
Running the CCC Ultra Trail
Running the CCC Ultra Trail
Running the CCC Ultra Trail
Running the CCC Ultra Trail
Running the CCC Ultra Trail

Run the 'CCC', Courmayeur to Chamonix


Trail running holiday in the Alps

Mont Blanc is one of the most famous mountains in the world. The crown of the Western Alps its summit sits at 4810m (15,776ft). Over three days you will run the section which links Courmayeur in Italy, with Champex in Switzerland, and Chamonix in France. 

We take the route at a steady pace mixing running with fast hiking depending on the terrain. We will pass through spectacular mountain scenery, following a route steeped in history, culture and folklore. Many of the trails date back centuries and you will feel the history under your feet as you follow in the footsteps of hunters, herdsmen, smugglers and armies. Smooth, runnable trails are interspersed with technical, rocky sections over the high mountain passes. Breathtaking alpine landscapes await, flanked by colourful meadows tumbling down into picturesque hamlets and villages. It is both a nature lover's and a trail runner’s paradise.

Highlights

  • Take part in a truly amazing mountain journey around Mont Blanc
  • Run three countries in three days, Italy, Switzerland, and France
  • Follow the route of the prestigious ultra marathon the 'CCC' ®
  • Learn from a professional and experienced trail running guide
  • Know your luggage will be waiting for you at the end of each day
  • Enjoy characterful and comfortable mountain accommodation 

This is one of the world's most famous long distant hiking trails, and in recent years has become even more famous, as part of the route of the mythical Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc® (UTMB®). The 'CCC' race which is part of the UTMB® week covers 101km (63 miles) and climbs 6100m (20,008ft). The record for the fastest time is 10h30!

We would like to reassure you this is a holiday, and therefore we spend three days running the route and taking time to enjoy the mountains. Each day we will run/hike about 30 kilometres (18 miles), with at least one high mountain pass. We’re likely to be on our feet for 6-8 hours per day with lots of ascent and descent on a variety of mountain trails. This trip is suitable for experienced mountain trail runners.


Itinerary

  • Your running guide will meet you this evening at your hotel in Courmayeur, in Italy to answer any last minute questions and to brief you on the days ahead.  This trip is run in conjunction with our Mont Blanc Ultra Trail holiday and you may find that you are joining a group that will have left Chamonix, in France three days earlier. 

  • Setting off through the streets of the ancient Roman town of Courmayeur, we run up a gentle hill through hamlets of ancient wooden buildings with traditional architecture. We soon leave the tarmac behind to climb steeply through the shady larch forest to the idyllically situated Rifugio Bertone. We then traverse a beautiful trail around the mountain which in our mind offers the most incredible views of the Mont Blanc mountain range, a truly amazing trail run. Eventually, we reach the famous Rifugio Bonatti, a gorgeous refuge dedicated to the mountaineer and photographer, Walter Bonatti. The trail continues through the alpine flower meadows before descending to Arnuva, and then there is a long, but steady climb to the Swiss frontier at the Grand Col Ferret. The wide, runnable trail descends and then traverses along the hillside before dropping down to the lovely Swiss village of La Fouly at 1600m where we will spend the night. 

    Ascent: 2050m (6724ft) Descent: 1670m (5477ft) Distance: 31.6km (19.7 miles) Duration: Run/Walk 8h00-8h30

  • Leaving La Fouly we have a gentle start to our day as we take a valley trail that runs alongside the river. Everything is very 'Swiss' today, immaculate ancient chalets, perfectly manicured lawns, and orderly geraniums in window-boxes. We make our way down the valley on great trails until we reach the village of Praz de Fort which has wonderful examples of traditional, and very old, wooden chalets and farms. There is a convenient little cafe by the roadside which is sometimes hard to run past! It may be time for a drink? At this point we begin our ascent for the day as we climb steadily uphill to the lakeside Swiss village of Champex with its jade green waters. As we leave the village behind, we once again enter the larch forests, gorges and the pastures, home in the summer months to the famous Swiss fighting cows. After taking in stunning views to the Rhone Valley, we run a steady descent to the Col de la Forclaz for our overnight stop at 1527m (5008ft). Depending on availability of accommodation we may run a further 30 minutes or so down to Trient to spend the night there. 

    Ascent: 1310m (4296ft) Descent: 1385m (4542ft) Distance: 30.9km (19.3 miles) Duration: Run/Walk 6h30-7h30

  • A grand finale today as we climb out of the Trient valley and back into France. We leave our Col, which used to be the frontier between Switzerland and France, and begin with a steady decent through the forests down to Trient. Passing through this tiny village we then take the trail towards France, and Chamonix Valley. Our first goal is Vallorcine village, famous as the 'valley of the bears', where in the Middle Ages the locals used to pay their taxes in bear meat, so numerous were the bears! Sadly, and perhaps not unsurprisingly there are no bears left today. After Vallorcine, we have a short uphill to the Col des Montets before facing the steep zig-zags to the Tetes aux Vents at 2127m (6976ft). The views en route of the Mont Blanc massif reward our efforts, and we make our final descent towards the Flegere cable car station, before dropping down steeply to the world famous mountain town that is Chamonix, in France. Time to celebrate, rest the body and mind and recover with an optional massage.

    Ascent: 1750m (5740ft) Descent: 2215m (7265ft) Distance: 30.5km (19 miles) Duration:  Run/Walk 7h30-8h30

  • Today is departure day and your trip ends after breakfast.

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

On all our trips we aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. We are painstaking in our research to give you the best option possible and one that is good value. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

However, on many of our trips single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee. We recommend booking as early as possible to secure a single room as these are always limited in number. Please contact us for details. 

Hotel Edelweiss, Courmayeur

Hotel

The Hotel Edelweiss is right in the heart of Courmayeur with easy access to the town centre, while being tucked away in a quiet street where you will not be disturbed by the crowds. The hotel has a lovely sunny garden area at the front, and a spacious lounge bar to enjoy a drink. All the rooms are en suite and dinner is very Italian with local dishes and plenty of pasta. Didi who runs the hotel with her family always gives us a warm welcome. 

Hotel Edelweiss, La Fouly

Hotel

In La Fouly we spend our overnight at the Hotel Edelweiss, like all our other hotels it is family run, cosy and comfortable. There is a bar with a terrace where you can enjoy a drink in the afternoon sun. All the bedrooms are traditional in style with lots of 'wood', and they have en suite facilities. There is a dining room with lovely views, and breakfast is served buffet style.

Hotel Splendide, Champex

Hotel

The Hotel Splendide sits high in the mountains with great views from the terrace down to the valley below. This historic hotel was built between 1934 and 1938 by the grand-father of the owner. All the bedrooms have en suite facilities, and there are various family rooms available. We eat dinner in the lovely old-fashioned dining room, a real touch of history to be found in this family run hotel. 

 

During the Second World War the army from the nearby artillery fort were stationed at the hotel. Those perfect views down the valley were appreciated by more than just the tourists! It gave the army an excellent position of strength for protecting the route through to Italy. 

 

 

Hotel Col de la Forclaz

Hotel

This historic coaching inn has been in the same family for generations. Today it is run by Sophie who is the 6th generation! It was in around 1830 that her ancestor Joseph Gay-des Combes opened the first inn at the summit of the Col de la Forclaz with his wife. The hotel has a range of bedrooms, but due to the traditional nature of the building not all of them are en suite. 

Hotel Pointe Isabelle, Chamonix

Hotel

Our hotel is ideally located in the heart of Chamonix, France, which means easy access to the shops, restaurants, and bars on your night in this famous alpine town. The Hotel Pointe Isabelle offers comfortable and cosy rooms decorated with historical documents and memorabilia of Lady Isabella Straton a famous Victorian mountaineer after whom the hotel is named. 


  • UTMB Race Preparation

    If you are planning to run the 'CCC' you will find that this week offers runners invaluable endurance training and race route knowledge. Our local running guides have in-depth knowledge about the course, the terrain, and how to prepare. It’s also a perfect chance to test out your clothing, equipment and nutrition plans.

  • Arrival

    To reach Courmayeur, in Italy we recommend taking a bus directly from Geneva Airport to Courmayeur. There are various services available including transfer companies that will drop you at your hotel. You could also fly to Milan or Turin and then take public transport to Courmayeur.

    Departure

    You will finish in Chamonix, in France and Geneva airport, in Switzerland, is the closest international airport to the town, only 75 minutes by road making shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange. There are many companies running regular shuttle services between Chamoinx and the airport, such as Haute Pursuit Transfers, and Mountain Drop-Offs.  

  • You must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity, including helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip. The insurance referred to should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    The insurance clause set out in our 'Terms and Conditions' is below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses, not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc, shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd, or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd, to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres (9840ft), except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m (10,877ft). You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • Summer mountain weather in the European Alps can vary considerably, and in this respect it is no different to any mountain environment where the terrain influences the weather and it can change from valley to valley. 

    However, in the summer months it is generally good in the Alps, but it can deliver everything from glorious sunshine, to rain, fog, high winds and even snow. Temperatures can reach over 30°Celsius (86°F) in July and August, but can drop to 5°Celsius (41°F) on the high passes, or 'Cols' as they are known in the Alps. Essentially, as with all mountain journeys, you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°Celsius (59-77°F) in the valleys and 5-15°Celsius (41-59°F) on the passes.

    Even in mid-summer we can be faced with overnight snow especially when we have spent the night in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut at higher altitude. 

  • For each of our trips there is a minimum number of guests required to book before we can 'guarantee' your trip will run. This is normally 4, and on some occasions 5. 

    In the 'Dates and Prices' section you can hover over the 'Status' button to see how many more bookings are required for your trip to be confirmed. 

    The maximum number of guests that we take on any given trip is indicated in the 'At a Glance' box on the right hand side of the trip page. 

    We will, on occasion, run trips that have not reached the minimum number because our guests have agreed to pay a supplement to allow the trip to go ahead, enabling them to book their travel. If the trip then reaches its minimum number we refund the difference. Do contact us if you wish to discuss this option. 

    We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.

  • After we have processed your booking we will send you a comprehensive clothing and equipment list that is appropriate to your trip and activity. There will be some items on this list that we strongly recommend and others which are suggested. Our list is based on our experience of what is needed for any particular trip, but it is not the definitive article! If you have items you like to use then do bring them, but be aware of over-loading your 'day' rucksack with items that are heavy and therefore making the trip more challenging.

    Please contact us if in any doubt about what to bring.

    It is important to understand that a trip of this length in such mountainous terrain means that the long ascents will mainly be taken at a fast uphill 'power walking' pace and that the 'running' will be on the rolling terrain and descents. We therefore highly recommend the use of light weight running poles to aid with the ascents. If you unsure of which poles are suitable for trail running then you can read our article here on the Top 4 Running Poles of 2014 published in the UK's Trail Running magazine.

    Upon booking we will send you a list of suggested equipment and clothing for your trail running week. If you are considering taking part in the official 'CCC' race it would be useful to read the UTMB Obligatory Equipment List.

  • When booking a holiday as a solo traveller a twin bedded room comprising of two single beds, is booked as standard. This will be with someone of the same gender unless you request to pay extra for your own room. Single rooms are often limited in supply so if you would like to pay a supplement for a single room we urge you to get in touch as soon as possible. This trip has a single supplement of £280.

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and simply a case of sharing out a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. On a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    On many of our cross country ski trips to remote areas there will also be a few additional items to share such as the grip waxes/klisters, spare pole, and snow shovel. These items are shared in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, and insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide/instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    For our walking, family, and snowshoeing trips your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader. For our running trips your guide will be an International Mountain Leader, and an experienced mountain 'trail runner'.

    If you have booked on a cross country ski trip you will be with a fully qualified professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor or equivalent. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors. 

  • This is a general statement with regard to luggage and is not specific to your trip. Please read on.

    Point to Point

    The majority of our point-to-point trips have luggage support which means your bags are transferred each day to the next accommodation and you only need to wear a small/medium sized 'rucksack' for items you might need during the course of the day. 

    On some trips which feature a night in a refuge/rifugio/hut your main luggage may not be available that evening due to lack of vehicle access. Your rucksack should be of sufficient capacity to carry a few extra items required for this overnight. Your trip itinerary will indicate on which nights you do not have access to your main luggage. If in any doubt please contact us

    Centre Based

    For our centre based trips, in other words where you are staying in the same accommodation all week, you are welcome to bring whatever luggage you require. However, do refer to the note below with regard to 'size' and the lack of elevators in some hotels. 

    Size of Luggage

    Please note that many hotels do not have elevators. This means you may need to carry your luggage to your bedroom. 

    On our point-to-point trips where your luggage is moved along the route by taxi we ask that you keep the weight to a maximum of 15kgs (33lbs), and ONE bag per person. Many of the taxi companies who move your bags impose a 15kg (33lbs) limit and restrict the number because they have to unload and reload the vehicle each day. If you take more than one bag you may be asked to pay a supplement. 

    Luggage on wheels is a good idea, and as stated you need to be able to carry your luggage to your bedroom which may involve climbing several flights of stairs.  

  • We do not include lunches in your trip fee for various reasons. We have found our guests have particular tastes and requirements for 'trail' or 'hill' food and it is better you choose and buy what you require. Buying supplies and trying local specialities is a great way to inter-act with the local people and to practise your language skills. 

    Lunches on our trips are 'picnic' style lunches, in other words you take a packed lunch with sufficient snacks, food and fluid to sustain you throughout your day of activity. If there is the possibility of lunch being taken at a restaurant/farm/cafe beside the trail, your guide/instructor will advise you of this. 

    Each evening you can choose to order a picnic or a sandwich from the hotel, or your guide/instructor will advise you of other options such as a local shop or market and whether you need to purchase items in the evening or if the shop/market is open early enough the next morning not to delay your start. In all cases we would always ask you to settle any 'bill' for lunch or drinks in the evening and not in the morning when there may be a queue. 

    Norway and Sweden

    Norway and Sweden are the exception to this rule and these trips include a packed lunch in your trip fee. You can also bring a thermos flask and have it filled with a hot drink. The reason for this is the remoteness of the accommodation and the scarcity of shops. It is the tradition is to create your packed lunch from the breakfast buffet and the choice is usually substantial with something for all tastes. Please note that in every other country making your lunch from the breakfast is NOT considered acceptable.

  • On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip. 

    We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day. 

    The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required. 

  • It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card. 

    On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash. 

    On our walking and running trips which take in the route of the 'Tour du Mont Blanc' you will find that Euros will also be accepted in Switzerland as we are never far from the frontier, but the exchange rate will be poor.

    Below is a list of the currency and the currency symbol for each of the countries where we run trips:

    Italy = Euro/€

    Germany = Euro/€

    Sweden = Krona/SEK

    Norway = Kroner/NOK

    Bulgaria = Lev/BGN

    Switzerland = Swiss Franc/CHF

    Finland, including Lapland = Euro/€

    Spain, including Mallorca = Euro/€

    France, including Corsica = Euro/€ 

    Poland = Zloty/PLN = Euros will be accepted, but some local currency is advisable

    Czech Republic = Koruna/CZK - Euros will be accepted, but some local currency is advisable

  • Food

    On all our trips we prefer if you can experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country we are visiting and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region. 

    If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free. 

    If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. This trip is not suitable for those who follow a vegan diet or those with other more specific dietary requirements. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but you would need to bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.

    If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness. 

    Water

    The countries we visit all have tap water that is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly. 

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    UK residents should obtain and bring with them the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 

  • Due to the specialised nature of our holidays, we co-sell a number of trips with 'partner' companies. Our partners are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer our guests. By encouraging our partners to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of one of our partners. 

    We guarantee that any partners with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails Ltd. The price will be the same, though occasionally our partners may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee, will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Wed 03 Jul - Sun 07 Jul
Code: CCR1 19
Price: £995 Spaces available Book
Wed 07 Aug - Sun 11 Aug
Code: CCR2 19
Price: £995 Spaces available Book
Wed 04 Sep - Sun 08 Sep
Code: CCR3 19
Price: £995 Spaces available Book
Wed 11 Sep - Sun 15 Sep
Code: CCR4 19
Price: £995 Spaces available Book

What's Included

  • Guiding services of a qualified International Mountain Leader, who is an experienced trail runner
  • Half board accommodation; breakfast and dinner, based on sharing a twin room
  • Daily transfer of your luggage between accommodations
  • Tracks and Trails memento - a gift to take home!

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Massages
  • Lunches
  • Personal expenses, snacks & drinks
  • Any cable cars which you opt to use

 

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Grade: Demanding

READ GRADE DESCRIPTION

At a Glance

From Price £995
Holiday Type Trail Running
Duration 5 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 18
Maximum Altitude 2490m (8167ft)
Countries Visited Italy, France, Switzerland
Meet In Courmayeur, Italy
View all Trail Running Holidays

The CCC: Courmayeur, Champex, Chamonix