Chamonix

CHAMONIX

Several wonderful hikes start in Chamonix France like the Tour du Mont Blanc and the Haute Route. However, spending an extra day in Chamonix is really worth it. There is much so to see.

 

 

Overview

What makes this little French town of fewer than 9,000 people so unique is its privileged location at the bottom of a towering 12,000-foot-tall summit of Mont Blanc — the highest mountain in Western Europe. Chamonix, in the south-east of France, embraces the fresh alpine air and the breathtaking scenery of snow-covered mountains, blue skies, and spectacular waterfalls. The town picked up when it hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924, and today it’s praised as the oldest ski resort in Europe. In spite of its small size, Chamonix is vibrant and diverse, meaning that there’s something for everyone.

 

What Chamonix has to offer

 

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Hiking Chamonix


Chamonix is one of the capitals of the world of hiking.

Both the Tour du Mont Blanc and the Haute Route originate here.

*Haute Route


*Tour du Mont Blanc


In additions to those famous hikes you find that a trove of interesting trails dominate the landscape. From valley floor lush green covered trails to higher altitude and more challenging hikes above the tree line. Whatever your interest CLICK HERE for hiking ideas in and around Chamonix.


ICE CAVE


The tour of the “Grotte de glace” (Ice Cave) takes visitors into the very heart of the glacier. Re-sculpted every year, it describes the life of mountain people in the early 19th century. It can be entered either by a walk of around 20 minutes on a footpath, or by gondola lift. NB: There are about 480 steps from the arrival of the gondola lift to the entrance to the cave.

THE GLACIORIUM


A world of discovery awaits you at the new exhibition centre at the Montenvers Mer de Glace. Here the creation and evolution of the glaciers over the centuries is explained in detail.

THE TEMPLE OF NATURE


The Temple has now reopened to the public and an innovative optical theatre takes visitors on a trip into the past where they will meet the likes of Forbes (the Scottish geologist), Chateaubriand, Louis Pasteur and Agutte the artist.

The complete tour (including the cave and travelling time) takes an average of 2 to 3 hours. The time required for the tour may be doubled during peak periods.

Hike Mer de Glace Chamonix with Russell Tours


Mer de Glace Chamonix


Take the train to the glacier.
Montenvers Mer de Glace Train

It takes about twenty minutes to climb the 1000 vertical meters that separate you from the Montenvers-Mer de Glace site.

The trip takes place aboard the famous little red cogwheel train. Time stops: enjoy this transport from another time. The road on the mountainside, climbs in the middle of the forest, takes tunnels cut into the rock and some viaducts. The high mountain is announced and after one last turn, the magic operates: you arrived at the foot of the famous Mer de Glace at 1913 m altitude.

Montenvers train - Mer de Glace - Chamonix

HIKING


Hill-walks include the hike from Montenvers to Plan de l’Aiguille via the Grand Balcon Nord hill-walking trail, and also the return descent down to Chamonix via Les Planards or Les Bois village.

RESTAURANT


There are three choices for eating: either a savory or traditional meal at the Restaurant du Refuge du Montenvers, or a lunch in the bistro with a view at Panoramique Mer de Glace or finally a quick snack at the Glacier Bar.

Montenvers Train Chamonix France
Montenvers Train Chamonix France and other trains in the valley.

The Mont Blanc Express

The Mont Blanc Express is a scenic mountain train route that runs from the French station of St Gervais/Le Fayet, with a steep climb to the Chamonix valley, all the way through Chamonix and Argentiere, under the Col des Montets and down the other side into Martigny in Switzerland. This beautiful railway takes you through some of the most amazing views that you ever seen.

Mont Blanc Express Info

 

Chamonix is such a central place for the start of so many great hikes.

 

Here is a recentFrench TV Video about this wonderful village in the mountains.

 

Savoy cuisine: The traditional gastronomy of Chamonix is based on staples such as potatoes, bread, cheese, and meet. This local produce isn’t only available during the warmer months, but can be easily stored during the long winters. Also, Savoy dishes are very filling, keeping the body warm in these high altitudes. After a long day of hiking, kick off the evening with the customary apero time to stimulate your appetite for the special Tartiflette potato, cheese, and bacon gratin.

 

French Cheese. Hiking in Chamonix with Russell Tours Be sure to stop at the local cooperative store for the best cheese you will ever have. Over 80 types of cheese from two regions of France.

MAP to Coopérative Fruitière en Val d’Arly Savoie Mont Blanc – Magasin de Chamonix
(Map to Cooperative Fruitiere of Val D’Arly – The Chamonix Store)

 

Les Houches. Hiking in Chamonix with Russell Tours

Les Houches. Hiking in Chamonix with Russell Tours

 

Hike Chamonix TMB trail to Las Houches Tram back to hotel


Les Houches: Less than ten miles to the east of Chamonix, is Les Houches ski station, which is ideal for expert skiers as well as novices. In the summer there are dozens of trails that can be hiked to and from Les Houches. In Les Houches, which is the first leg of the Tour du Mont Blanc, you can take a tram up the mountain and enjoy a day hiking at the top of this great area looking directly at Mont Blanc.

 

LA FLEGERE - LES HOUCHES


Hike Name: Hike TMB Chamonix Loop – Le Brévent to Aiguillette des Houches

Hike Description:


Distance: 10.86 mi
Up: 2,795 f
High:8,172 f
Down: 5,692 f
Low:3,213 f
Difficulty: Moderate
Time 7 hours

Hike Link

TOUR DU MONT BLANC REFUGE DE LA FLEGERE - LES HOUCHES


Tour du Mont Blanc: REFUGE DE LA FLEGERE – LES HOUCHES

Hike Instructions:


Staying at the same Chamonix hotel another night but taking the trail for the TMB along the West ridge of town and at end of day taking the local shuttle back to your hotel.

Take the Tram to the top of the mountain! One of the most exciting features in Chamonix is the world’s longest and highest tramway. Spectacular views are everywhere including the entire Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc Summit.

 

The Aiguille du Midi: From the town of Chamonix one can take the highest vertical cable car ride in the world to reach the mountain of Aiguille du Midi at almost 13,000 feet. At the top, there are plenty of activities such as the Aiguille du Midi Skywalk — a glass room with a glass floor for spectacular views.

 

 

The Augile de Midi takes you to the top of Mont Blanc, you are actually ascending 9000 feet from the valley floor. The halfway point is above 7000 feet. You can choose to go to the top of the mountain and then return to Chamonix or you can go all the way down to my Courmayeur in Italy. And if you plan to spend some time in Italy, be sure to bring your passport. Trains and trams run regularly throughout the day both in summer and winter. When you get to the top, be prepared for cold weather even in the middle of summer. The time we were there it was 27°F in mid-July. Sometimes on the way up you’ll see in climbers with their ropes and mountaineering equipment scaling what appear to be impossible heights. It is really worth planning an extra day in Chamonix. Chamonix holds so many great ways to enjoy the outside world.

 

Augile de Midi Hiking with Russell Tours Chamonix

 

Chamonix is home to several historic churches, which stand quaintly against the Mont Blanc slopes. A few suggestions for those attracted to baroque architecture and seclusion are the Église Saint-Michel de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, the Église Saint Pierre d’Argentière, and the Paroisse Saint-Bernard du Mont Blanc.

 

Churches Hiking in Chamonix with Russell Tours

 

Recent Quote:


Chamonix, France, is not a city for those looking to lie by the pool. From its legendary off-piste ski run to the exhilarating new Step into the Void attraction, a glass-enclosed box located 3,842 meters above ground, Chamonix will get your adrenaline pumping year-round.

Leora Novick, An American Girl In Transit



 

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