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Tweety with beret in Rhone-Alps (France)

Rhone-Alps

Chamonix - Mont-Blanc[+]

The town of Chamonix ("Chamouni" in Savoyard dialect) has obtained permission to add Mont Blanc in its name that has become Chamonix-Mont Blanc.

At 1035 m (3395 feet) high, the city is located at the foot of high mountains of the Alps including French Mont Blanc with a peak at 4808 m 15774 feet (according to the official measure of 2003) which is the highest peak in Europe.

City of Chamonix-Mont Blanc

Walking through the city, we can see a statue erected in honor of Horace Benedict de Saussure and Jacques Balmat. Saussure was considered the "father of alpinism" (XVIII century). In 1760, he offered a reward to the first mountaineers who could reach the top of Mont Blanc. The challenge was succeeded in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Gabriel Paccard. The statue represents Saussure with Balmat pointing the Mont Blanc.

From aiguille du midi (midday peak) to glaciers of Mont Blanc

Mont-Blanc

From Chamonix one can take the cable car for Aiguille du Midi (midday peak), Helbronner and Courmayeur (in Italy).

I highly recommend taking a ticket to Helbronner ! (a return ticket was 54 € in 2007 but it is worth buying it !). From Aiguille du Midi one has a 360° view, with superb views of Mont Blanc. The crossing of the Aiguille du Midi at Helbronner (by panoramic cable car) is the opportunity to overlook the glacier of white valley as well as the glacier of the giant. There are even brief stops to enjoy the sceneries : spectacular. To do of course only if the weather is clear and cloudless to fully enjoy it.

The top of Aiguille du Midi is 3842 m (12605 feet) high. From the summit of Aiguille du Midi, the view is magnificent on Mont Blanc : the roof of Europe, the white valley and the glacier of the giant, and other peaks such as the great Jorasses (4208 m / 13805 feet). Going over the Glacier (which layers have cracks or small lakes) thanks to the panoramic cable car of Mont Blanc is an unforgettable experience. We can see guides and mountainers walking on the glacier.

Sea ice

From Chamonix, you can take the cog train towards Montenvers and then a cable car to go down to the sea ice and the ice cave which is laid out again each year. Bafore reaching the ice cave we have to go down stairs so watch out for "weak" people who might be tired (going down or going up). Upon arriving I was surprised not to see ice ! but if full of ice, of course... In fact, the debris of stones and earth has covered its surface.

Cog train to Montenvers Ice sea

At Montenvers we can also visit the crystal gallery and the alpine fauna museum. In the surrounding countryside, I had the pleasure to see an alpine bird and an ermine. In winter, the coat of stoat, weasel, rabbits... changes colour to become white !...

More sightseeings

  • The glacier of Bossons.

  • View on the mountains near the nature reserve of aiguilles-rouges (red peaks) in Argentiere. Ferruginous rhododendron gives a nice color to the whole.