Chamonix is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Situated to the north of Mont Blanc, and near the massive peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges and most notably the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix is one of the oldest […]
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Chamonix is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.
Situated to the north of Mont Blanc, and near the massive peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges and most notably the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France. The Chamonix commune is popular with skiers and mountain enthusiasts, and via the cable car lift to the Aiguille du Midi it is possible to access the off-piste (backcountry) ski run of the Vallée Blanche.
Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), one of the biggest glaciers in continental Europe, accessible by the Montenvers rack railway. From the Montenvers Station one has great views on the glacier but also on the north Face of the Grand Jorasses, one of the three most famous North faces in the European Alps.
Aiguille du Midi cable car, one of the highest cable cars in the world, apart from a few in South America. In fact the Aiguille Du Midi starts at 1035 m and finishes at a staggering 3810 m! From the bottom to the top, it has the greatest vertical range in the world. Bring warm clothes. as the temperature is alway cold even in mid-summer. Don’t miss the exhilirating 5 Km cable car ride over snow capped mountains from Aiguille du Midi on France to Helbronner on Italy. These are the closest viewpoints of Mont-Blanc and also provide different views of Mont-Blanc. A 3 Km stretch without pillars is the world’s longest cable car ride without pillars.
France to Italy
Brevent cable car, on the other side of the valley, provides the best views of the Mont-Blanc massif. A round trip adult pedestrian (not skier) ticket is about €18. The other option is to take the cable car with a change at Planpraz from Chamonix.
In Les Houches you can take the Bellevue cable car (Telepherique de Bellevue) for another view of the Chamonix valley, with Mont Blanc to one side and the Brevent to the other. A short walk will allow you to see the other side of the mountain towards St. Gervais, Sallanches and the glacier de Bionnassay. In August 2005, a round-trip pedestrian adult ticket was €12.10.
Another option is to take the Montblanc Tramway from St.Gervais Le Fayet that goes upto Nid d’aigle. It stops at Bellevue on the way. There are beautiful views over the valley from Nid d’Aigle also.
Musée des cristaux,  (crystals museum), a very nice museum, exhibiting an impressive collection of crystals, mostly from Chamonix, but also from the rest of the Alps and worldwide. Created and maintained through a partnership between the city council and the local Mineralogical club , it is both very aesthetic and scientific, displaying pedagogical posters. You will find it just behind the Maison de la Montagne and the church.
You can take the Le Tour cable car to the Franco-Swiss border on the mountains and also for an hike to the Le Tour glacier.
If you consider taking the more than one cable car trips for sightseeing or skiing, you should seriously consider buying a Mont-Blanc multipass . There are passes for 1-10 days. Also, the website provides very good information on possible activities and hikes from the cable car stops.