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Photographer Teresa Kaufman unveils the magic of Chamonix Valley in the French Alps

The first guest house in Chamonix opened in 1770 and it soon became the destination for early explorers and the wealthy elite looking for a change from summers in the South of France.

So, you would have thought, after 240-odd years there would be nothing new to be seen or experienced in this valley sitting in the shade of Mont Blanc.

The Chamonix valley is a magnet for skiers, snowboarders, climbers, trail runners and mountain bikers alike, but there’s also something for those who prefer a less exhausting way of spending their time without the aid of skis or, indeed, ropes.

All you need is good walking shoes, a waterproof coat (just in case) and a camera of any description, to join professional photographer Teresa Kaufman on a journey of discovery through some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable and to places where few holidaymakers venture.

Teresa points out Mont Blanc
Teresa points out Mont Blanc

Her photo walks, she insists, are not just for keen photographers, but for anyone with an interest in taking pictures. Dropping in on hidden gardens, meeting craftspeople and artists en route, she takes you through villages still largely intact from when they were inhabited solely by mountain farmers living off their animals and harvests of oats and rye.

Teresa’s stories are a patchwork quilt in which she shares her vast knowledge of the area and reveals her passion for the people who make up the very fibre of the valley.

“I don’t like to bombard people with too much information,” she says. “As a photographer, I understand the need for people to record their own perspective of the places we visit.”

Among her list of walks is one which gives a behind-the-scenes peek into the kitchen of Michelin-starred restaurant Le Bistrot in the centre of Chamonix. Here Mickey Bourdillat and his team welcome people to take photos while they busily prepare for lunch. The light is perfect and so is the food, as I discovered later on our return.

Teresa’s list of walks continues to expand, due to the demands of returning clientele, and includes towns and villages from Servoz to Vallorcine and one which ventures into Switzerland to the tiny mountainside village of Gietroz. She even has a wellness walk for women, which includes pampering and a stop-off in a health food café for homemade bread or cakes.

So, if you’re off to Chamonix this year, spare some time for a walk with Teresa and discover something new.

Full details about Teresa and her walks at www.teresakaufman.com

If you want to stay close to the action, Les Cretes Blanches in Chamonix, tucked away in a quiet corner near the centre of town, is within easy walking distance of the main bars and shops: www.cretes-blances-chamonix.com

Getting the right transfer to Chamonix from Geneva airport is of the utmost importance. I found the door-to-door, courteous and prompt service of Mountain Drop-offs terrific value. Book at www.mountaindropoff.com

For further enquiries about the Chamonix valley go to www.chamonix.com

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