France, Chamonix – On the Foothills of Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc (4 810 m) is covered with eternal snow (therefore the name White Mountain). It was conquered by Balmatem and Paccardem for the first time in 1786. Chamonix is situated on the foothills of the mountain. It became popular ski resort in the 1920s. It is great for beginning as well as professional skiers.
Mountaineers also go to Mont Blanc. It is quite strenous task to get onto the top. If you set off from Les Houches, a small town in the near vicinity, you can reach the summit in about 12 hours. You don't need to ask if it is even worth it. Just imagine the vista from the 5 kilometers of altitude.
If you are interested in admiring natural sceneries without any effort, we have good news for you. You can take a ride on mountain railroad Tramway du Mont Blanc. We recommend you to board the train at the terminal station Saint-Gervais-Le-Fayet. There is an amazing restaurant with distinct Old World feel. No wonder, the railroad was opened in 1907. It takes about an hour to ride through its 12 kilometers.
Now we take a look at Chamonix. Its current state was shaped in the 18th century. Two English aristocrats discovered this little Alpine village embraced by the mountains. Next the first luxurious hotel was constructed here, the access road was renovated and railroad built. In 1924, Chamonix became the venue of the first winter Olympic games. This made a popular, international destination for winter season. There are quiant alpine cottages, protestant chapels, and baroque churches which you can see during your walks. There are many well-known restaurants, butiques, and cafes.
The highligh is Aiguille du Midi dubbed the entrance to the Alps. You can get here by panaromatic cable car. The ride takes about 20 minutes. Boarding happens right in the center of the town. The cable car makes the first stop at 2310 meters. Refuge du Plan is situated within about 5-minute walk. It is a very pleasant restaurant, you can either eat there or just have a snack before you get to the very summit. The second part of the ride takes you up to 3777 meters. You better have some warm clothes at such height and sunglasses.
Should you be there between July and September, the cable car can take you across Glacier du Géant and get you to Pointe Helbronner. There is a scenic plaform at 3842 meters above sea level. This route is open only during summer. Try the best of Savoi cuisine.
GPS: (Aiguille du Midi) 45°52'43.8"N 6°53'15.6"E
Text: Maxim Kucer
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