While traveling through France this Summer, I was lucky to stop for a day in the French Alps. My family and I visited Chamonix-Mont-Blanc as a day trip while staying in Annecy. This is a beautiful town, situated by a gorgeous Alpine lake. I’ll talk more about my time in Annecy and fun things to do in this town in another post. Although the town is lovely, we wanted to explore the region a little more, so we spent the day in nearby Chamonix. This is a popular town throughout the year- I visited in the summer when the moderate temperatures allow outdoor activities like hiking, but this area is popular among avid skiers during the colder months.
There are two absolute must do’s in Chamonix: Montvers Mer de Glace and Aiguille du Midi.
Montvers Mer de Glace is a really unique attraction. You take an antique red train up the mountain, getting beautiful mountain views along the way. Once you reach the station, there is a little shop with food and souvenirs (we grabbed some sandwiches here for lunch). I’d recommend grabbing some water here if you don’t already have some because you need to mentally prepare for the coming hike.From here you go to a gondola, which takes to down partway towards the glacier, taking the rest of the journey by foot. Of course, this isn’t a terribly difficult walk, but there are so, SO many steps to get down to the glacier. I love that there are markers indicating the years that the glacier moved down the side of the mountain- it is very interesting and thought-provoking to think about how rapidly the once-giant glacier melted. Once you finally reach the bottom, you can see the glacier and walk inside a lit carved-out cave inside the glacier. This was such a special experience, and I even got to lick the glacier!!
Aiguille du Midi is another attraction that offers a really awesome experience. You take a couple gondola rides up the mountain. Once you reach the top, you have one of the most indescribable views, as the snowy mountain tops touch the clouds. Fair warning: the air is very thin, and the heights tend to make a lot of people VERY nervous. I am normally apprehensive of heights, but I enjoyed the experience. Other members of my family were a bit more shaken, and the thin air can make it a bit difficult to breathe and make you lightheaded. There are lots of smaller attractions throughout the structure and lots of viewing platforms to look at the mountains and city below from. There is even glass box you can stand in thousands and thousands of feet in the air!