Must-read guide to Chamonix

Winter in Chamonix- Photo credits: Salome Abrial. OT Chamonix. Must-Read guide to Chamonix

Must-read guide to Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Why visit the Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley? Well, it should be in every mountain lover’s bucket list! There are plenty of reasons why to go and visit Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley. That is why I put together a Must-Read Guide to Chamonix Mont-Blanc.

 

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You can summarise why Chamonix is so amazing in seven facts:
1) Chamonix lays at the foot of The MONT BLANC (4810m), the highest mountain in Europe, making of it, a unique spot! (You must have read already my Must-Read Guide to Courmayeur. Courmayeur is on the other side – the Italian side, of the Mont Blanc or Monte Bianco).
2) Chamonix in winter is famous for its freeriding and lots of activities for non-skiers. Plus Chamonix is not only for the daredevil! It offers activities and variety of slopes for all levels.
Ski de Randonnée in Chamonix. Photo: Christophe Raylat. OT Chamonix. Must-Read guide to Chamonix.
Ski de Randonnée in Chamonix. Photo: Christophe Raylat. OT Chamonix. Must-Read guide to Chamonix.
3) Chamonix in summer is amazing, and you can tell that a favourite spot for visitors. There are lots of incredible sightseeing tours to take. And wide range of outdoor activities for all.
4) Chamonix is a year-round destination and a lively Alpine city. This is not a purposed-built resort, people live here all year. That makes the vibe of the place!
Architecture in Chamonix. Photo: Salome Abrial. OT Vallée de Chamonix. Must-Read guide to Chamonix.
Architecture in Chamonix. Photo: Salome Abrial. OT Vallée de Chamonix. Must-Read guide to Chamonix.
5) Chamonix’s heritage. You can find it through its art, culture, architecture and cuisine.
6) Very close to the highway. Chamonix is one of the easiest towns to reach .
7) Chamonix offers a wide variety of accommodation for all budgets. So, it is not only for the rich and famous!

History of Chamonix. Must-Read Guide to Chamonix

Chamonix has a long and fascinating history. Starting from the first explorers to the golden age of winter sports.
The town has an amazing cultural and architectural heritage.
Architecture in Chamonix, painting at the Office of the Mountain Guides. Photo: Salome Abrial- OT Vallée de Chamonix. Must-Read guide to Chamonix.
Architecture in Chamonix, painting at the Office of the Mountain Guides. Photo: Salome Abrial- OT Vallée de Chamonix. Must-Read guide to Chamonix.
You can book one of the weekly guided heritage tours. In these you can discover the architectural diversity of Chamonix. Baroque churches to Protestan chapels. Hotels and palaces from the “Golden Era” to “Art Deco” facades. From traditional farmhouses, to colossal villas passing through chalets contrasting with modern buildings.
1741: Two English men Windham and Pococke discovered “Chamouny” valley and its glaciers. The population at the time was living on farms. These two men lead the first touristic exploration climbing the Mer de Glace glacier.

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Aiguille du Midi vs Punta Helbronner – which one you should do?

Skyway Monte Bianco viewed from Pavillion, at 2,200m - mid-station of the Skyway Monte Bianco.

Aiguille du Midi vs Punta Helbronner – which one you should do?

Aiguille du Midi or Punta Helbronner- which one you should go to visit? Honestly, I would visit both and connect from one another through the Panoramic Mont Blanc Tunnel gondola.

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You can tell my happiness of being on top of the world (at least European world). Here at the Aiguille du Midi. Aiguille du Midi vs Punta Helbronner – which one you should do?
You can tell my happiness of being on top of the world (at least European world). Here at the Aiguille du Midi. Aiguille du Midi vs Punta Helbronner – which one you should do?

The case for Aiguille du Midi – Aiguille du Midi vs Punta Helbronner – which one you should do?

Aiguille du Midi (3842m) is located in Chamonix, in the border with Italy, and is one of the biggest attractions to go year-round, and lots in the summer to go and see the Mont Blanc (4810 m).

The funicular departs from a very modern lift base that has a shop, a food outlet and the big funicular that takes you to the middle station, from where you take a second funicular to the top. The top has a series of different terraces at different heights, to see 360-degree views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps in all their splendour plus the magnificent Mont Blanc. Inside the structure is a bit old and you go within a cave, taking an elevator to go up the rock. This does not take the awesomeness of the landscape… It is really worth to go up there, you do feel you are on the top of the world, even though is really the top of Europe!

The Panoramic Mont Blanc lift connects Aiguille du Midi in France, with Punta Helbronner, in Italy. Aiguille du Midi vs Punta Helbronner – which one you should do?
The Panoramic Mont Blanc lift connects Aiguille du Midi in France, with Punta Helbronner, in Italy. Aiguille du Midi vs Punta Helbronner – which one you should do?

You can connect to go to Italy via the Panoramic Mont Blanc lift, which is a series of three gondolas (cable cars) going together on top of the Mer de Glace (the glacier sea) that zips you to Italy to Punta Helbronner (3466 m). This gondola has reopened last year after being closed for a bit due to one of the cabins falling on the glacier. I’ve written about it in this post some time ago. Still, this happened in winter, when this lift was closed, and it was due to a massive snow storm combined with really cold temperatures which froze the snow on top of the cable and its weight made it snap.

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The Panoramic Mont-Blanc lift, that connected Aiguille du Midi with Punta Helbronner has fallen down and will be closed this coming summer.

The gondolas that go on top of the Mar de Glace, from Aiguille du Midi in France (Chamonix) to Punta Helbronner in Italy (Courmayeur)

The Panoramic Mont-Blanc lift finished in the ground after suffering very weird conditions. A thick ice cover, thicker than the width of the cable covered a very long stretch of cable creating a very heavy mass, which made the cable collapse.

The Mont Blanc Panoramic Lift has fallen to the ground due to the weight of ice on top of its cable.
The Mont Blanc Panoramic Lift has fallen to the ground due to the weight of ice on top of its cable.

Continue reading “The Panoramic Mont-Blanc lift, that connected Aiguille du Midi with Punta Helbronner has fallen down and will be closed this coming summer.”