Staff Members: Robin Paschall & Dean Paschall
Travel Dates: August 18-21, 2016
Destinations Visited: Chamonix, France
Chamonix is the starting point for the Tour du Mont Blanc Trek. There is so much to do here that it is worth a few extra days to enjoy the area. The town is lovely, there is much to do in the mountains, and great restaurants.
Aguille du Midi
For the Aguille du Midi, you take two trams 20 minutes up towards the Mont Blanc to a height of 3777m.
At the top, there are outside terraces with great view of the Mont Blanc and surrounding mountains and towns. You can see hikers on the glacier, which you can do with a guide.
A highlight is the “Step into the Void” room is a clear glass cage over a 1000m precipice. On our day, there was a 45-minute wait.
Go to the tram office early to check on tickets (60 Euros for adults). During busy times, there can be a 2 hour wait before your time slot. There may still be a delay even with the ticket time. It can be very tight inside, but a very interesting ride.
Mer de Glace — Walk inside a Glacier
The Mer de Glace is a real glacier where you walk through the ice tube of the glacier with ice sculptures. There are some hikes in the area for the more adventurous.
Take the train from the train station in Chamonix (30 Euro/adult), then a gondola down, and then walk down 420 stairs into the valley (80 meters vertical). Along the way, there are signs showing the height of the glacier in decades past. It is amazing to see how it has receded!
There is a terrace with great views of the glacier and valley as well as a snack bar. They have an interesting crystal collection and Glaciology Exhibit. There is also unique mountain hotel here, which would be fun for an overnight or dinner.
There are a number of companies in Chamonix that offer paragliding in tandem. They often go every hour on the hour.
Les Balcons de Savoy
Les Balcons de Savoy are condos with kitchenette, living room, and separate bedroom. The complex had a swimming pool, spa, and gym. There was free parking in an uncover parking garage. Breakfast was 10 Euros/person.
It was located a few blocks away from the main square (just a short walk), right on the edge of an open park where the paragliders land.
Park Suisse Hotel
The Park Suisse Hotel is located right in the central area of town next to the Tourism Office. Some rooms have a balcony, which was very nice to have. There was a hot tub, pool, and spa on the roof, but the hot tub was not very hot and very crowded.
Parking is available for 20 euros/day but limited. Breakfast is 18 Euros/person.
There are so many great places to eat in Chamonix, the hard part is picking where to go first!
- La National – Grilled meat on a BBQ at the table
- The Cave – Pizza, pasta, salad and to go
- Cap Horn – Mussels, shrimp pasta stir fry, swordfish