Courmayeur/Monte Bianco

The main attraction of Courmayeur is a knock-'em-dead view of Europe's tallest peak, Monte Bianco. The celebrities and the wealthy who come here these days are following a tradition that dates back to the late 17th century, when Courmayeur's natural springs first began to attract visitors. The spectacle of the Alps gradually surpassed the springs as the biggest draw: the Alpine letters of the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley were almost advertisements for the region. Since 1965, when the Mont Blanc tunnel opened, ever-increasing numbers of travelers have passed through the area, and it's now hugely popular with both skiers and hikers during the winter and summer months.

Planners have managed to keep some restrictions on wholesale development within the town, and its angled rooftops and immaculate cobblestone streets maintain a cozy (if slightly prefab) feeling.

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