Visiting Chamonix Mont Blanc
Chamonix Mont Blanc is a popular destination year round in France, drawing avid skiers in the winter and nature lovers in the summer with its stunning, snow-capped mountaintops. Chamonix Mont Blanc, often shortened to Chamonix, is a resort town located in the Alps near the French borders of Switzerland and Italy. I was lucky enough to to go Chamonix in June, which was a lovely time of year to visit this Alpine town. If you visit Chamonix in June, you’ll have lovely, mild weather- perfect for enjoying the valley and going to the top of the Mont Blanc mountain without getting too cold!
My family and I visited Chamonix Mont Blanc on a day trip from Annecy, where we stayed for a few days during a tour of southern France. Annecy is a beautiful French town situated around an Alpine lake, located about 40 minutes away from Geneva, Switzerland. It took us under and hour and a half to get from Annecy to Chamonix by car.
Things to do in Chamonix
There are two main things to do in Chamonix that you can’t miss: Montenvers Mer de Glace and Aiguille du Midi.
Montenvers Mer de Glace is a really unique attraction. After getting a ticket at the train station at the bottom of the mountain, you take an antique red train uphill, getting beautiful mountain views along the way. Once you reach the station at the top of the mountain, 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’ll need it for the hike down to the glacier. After enjoying the view from above, you’ll take a gondola partway down the mountain to the glacier before walking the rest of the way down! FYI- There are a LOT of steps, so wear comfortable shoes! As you descend towards the glacier, there are markers indicating the years that the glacier melted down the side of the mountain. I found it really interesting and thought-provoking to see first-hand how rapidly the once-giant glacier melted.
Once you finally reach the bottom, you can see the glacier up close and go inside an ice cave that is carved out of the glacier!
The tickets for the Montenvers Mer de Glace experience, which include the train ride, gondola, and entrance into the ice cave are around 32 Euros per person for adults, depending on the time of year. According to the Chamonix tourism website, the whole trip takes around 2-3 hours when crowds are low to moderate. To learn more about the Montenvers Mer de Glace, check out the official website here.
Aiguille du Midi is another awesome attraction in Chamonix. To get to the top of the mountain, you take a 20 minute gondola ride uphill! Once you reach the top, you’ll have one of the most indescribable views as the snowy mountain tops touch the clouds. You can even see the famous Mont Blanc mountain! The Aiguille du Midi sits at an elevation of 3,777 meters, which provides a great vantage point for viewing amazing panoramas of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps!
Even though this elevation provides wonderful views, it can cause some issues that you should seriously consider if you’re going to visit the Aiguille du Midi. The air at the top is very thin, and the extreme height can be nerve-wracking even for people who don’t normally fear heights. This combination can be dangerous, leading to lightheadedness, nausea, or hyperventilation. However, I am normally terrified of heights, and I really enjoyed the experience and am glad I went.
There is a restaurant and gift shop in the Aiguille du Midi structure, and there are lots platforms from which you can see the gorgeous mountains and look down at the city below. In 2013, A Step into the Void opened at the Aiguille du Midi. This is a small glass box that hangs out over the side of the structure! With special slippers covering your shoes, you can step out into the void and look down a the city thousands of feet below you! It may be terrifying, but I think it’s worth it!
The ticket price for a round trip to the Aiguille du Midi are 61.50 Euros for adults, so this experience is pricey, but I think the breathtaking views make it worth the cost! For more information about this attraction, check out the official website here.
If you’re in Chamonix during the winter, I recommend checking out the world class skiing and snowboarding. If you go to Chamonix during the summer like I did, you can also enjoy beautiful nature hikes and various other leisure activities, like golf, mountain biking, and white water rafting. Nearby, there is also a luge Alpine coaster that looks super fun, and there are companies that offer other adventure sport packages!
Chamonix Mont Blanc is a truly gorgeous Alpine wonderland, and it’s well worth a visit! Whether you plan on staying for a few days or visiting on a day trip from Annecy or Geneva, there are plenty of exciting and unique things to do in Chamonix!
Have you ever been to Chamonix Mont Blanc? Let me know what you think in the comments below!