Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chamonix, capitale de l'alpinisme

View of the Aiguille du Midi in the summer

Before heading to the very south of France, let’s take some time to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the French Alps. And what a better place to do so than stopping by Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, the French capital of alpinism? Very well known in the mountain sports milieu, Chamonix became more and more famous after holding the first ever Winter Olympic Games in 1924. The town of Chamonix is located right at the foot of Mont-Blanc, the highest summit in Europe (15,780 ft.) and offers a breathtaking view from the valley. In 1786, Jacques Balmat, from Chamonix, completed the first ascent of Mont-Blanc. Chamonix is one of the best mountain resorts in the world and there are so many things to do year round! Warning though, if you are afraid of height, close your eyes or pass around! Whenever you are ready (mostly to wait in line for hours), step in the cable car that will bring you 12,605 ft. above the ground in just a few minutes at the Aiguille du Midi. The view at the top is unbelievable! You feel so close to Mont-Blanc that you could almost touch it and the town of Chamonix deep in the valley looks ridiculously tiny. Stand by and get in the funicular to access the Mer de Glace. The trip itself is very typical and you feel like time traveling in the good old days of Savoy. The bravest ones should do the hike to get there, a bit longer (couple hours) and way more rewarding (you'll get to see wild life like never before). Since it’s the winter and if you are lucky enough, you should ski there and admire a view that you will never forget! 

View of Chamonix in the valley, and Mont-Blanc mountain range in the winter

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